New Peter F. Hamilton interview

Since we haven't had a chance to chat with Hamilton since 2007, I felt that it the timing was right for another Q&A. Especially with The Evolutionary Void (Canada, USA, Europe) just released on our side of the pond and the book coming out next week in the UK.

My partners in crime for this interview were two big Hamilton fans: Adam ( and Mark ( So many thanks to them for accepting the invitation!

And thanks to the folks at Pan Macmillan for making it happen! Last but not least, special thanks to Peter F. Hamilton for taking time off his busy schedule to answer our questions.


- Without giving anything away, what can you tell your fans about THE EVOLUTIONARY VOID?

That is does tie up everything from the first two books, and that this time the story focus shifts back to the Commonwealth segments. Though there is still a lot going on the the Void itself. Anything else would be a spoiler, and you really don't want that at this stage.

- THE EVOLUTIONARY VOID marks the conclusion of the Void Trilogy and also resolves some long-standing mysteries from the Commonwealth Saga. Did the ending turn out as you'd hoped?

I was almost smug with myself in the way that the ending was extremely close to the one I'd originally plotted out five years ago. I consider that quite an achievement (certainly for me) to keep something on line over such a length, and avoiding bloating the story.

- Have the plotlines diverged much since you began writing the series, or did you have the entire plot more or less figured out from the very beginning? Were any characters added or further fleshed out beyond your original intention? Have you made any changes to your initial plans during the course of the writing of the series?

See above, I sat down before I started writing the trilogy and drew up an extensive storyline for everyone. Certainly all the main themes stayed as I envisaged them. In fact Morton was cut altogether from the story, there's an extract on mywebsite that was intended as his re-introduction from the Commonwealth Saga, which when I started writing it I felt was just a plotline too many. Other than that, the characters doDod get added to in unexpected ways, that's the part of writing I enjoy the most.

- Was Groundhog Day an influence on the Edeard subplot of THE EVOTUIONARY VOID? The ability to go back and change major life decisions is shown to be a cursed gift, and hindsight is shown to be not that much help. There's also allusions to chaos theory as changing one small event is shown to have unpredictable consequences. What was your aim with that storyline?

I certainly started thinking about the parallels with Groundhog Day once I started writing the reset ability, though it wasn't an influence on putting the book together. Chaos theory certainly comes into it, in that it helped show Edeard the true burden of absolute power, it plays out along the lines of: No good deed goes unpunished.

- After writing science fiction/space opera for so long, how different was it to create the fantasy-type setting of Querencia to tell Edeard's story in the Void Trilogy?

I'm still not convinced the Querencia sections qualify as high fantasy, more like planetary romance. But they were fun to write, it harks back to the old classics where humans have mental powers. And the worldbuilding mechanism applies for all, SF and Fantasy. Rules are rules...

- You've already said that your next big series will be another trilogy set in the Void. Is there anything you can tell us about what it will be about? Will familiar characters appear? Will there be strong SF elements or will the setting of the Void mean it's a more fantasy-esque work?

This is some way off, I won't even start the plotting for another couple of years -assuming a publisher is interested. However, Fallers (provisional title) is set on a different planet with a very different set of problems. No one from the Commonwealth Saga or Void Trilogy will be appearing (at the moment). And this will be more Science Fantasy than hard SF. I think. Ask me again in five years.

- Your next two books will be a new short story collection and a stand-alone novel entitled GREAT NORTH ROAD. Do you find working on these shorter projects useful and refreshing after finishing a big series? Do you prefer writing short stories, stand-alone novels or multi-thousand-page series?

I find short stories incredibly difficult. The collection is every one I've written since Second Chance At Eden came out, and that was 12 years ago. There were so few to go in the new collection I had to write an extra one to bring the word-length up to a respectable level, which says a lot. But I'm certainly looking forward to writing a one off in a brand new setting. A change is always a good thing.

- Beyond that, do you think you'll ever return to the Greg Mandel or Night's Dawn universes? Or are those settings and characters now done and dusted for good?

Greg Mandel, no. Night's Dawn, possible -but not for a very long time. I'd need to have a story that would suit being told in that universe.

- Paula Myo has become one of your most popular characters, and her investigations would seem ripe for development in more novels or short stories. Have you any plans along these lines? Were you satisfied with Paula's storyline in the Void Trilogy and were you tempted to give her a larger role?

The additional short story for the collection was a Paula Myo one. And I think that will be the last for a long while. Again, if I ever come up with a puzzle which would suit her I'll be happy to write it. As to her role in Evolutionary, it possibly wasn't as central as I originally expected, but she is pivotal.

- Characters often take a life of their own. Which of your characters did you find the most unpredictable to write about?

Troblum, without a doubt. I was never quite sure how to make him do what he had to do.

- You're known for writing what can only be described as doorstoppers - do you prefer writing at this length, or is this simply due to the nature of the story you wish to tell?

Every story is its own length. I admit I do enjoy the complexity involved. But again there's no hard and fast rule. I I come up with a short plot, I won't try and add to it.

- You've said previously that you like to write the sort of novels that you'd like to read - what book recommendations can you give to your readers? Do you still find time to read, and if so what have you currently got on the go?

I get so little read these days. I'm really not the best to give advice. But I am about to start The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

- How special is it to see your work being released as collector's editions by Subterranean Press?

Subterranean Press do a superb job. My only problem is where to store all those copies, because I'm certainly not handing those out to friends as freebies.

- More and more, authors/editors/publicists/agents are discovering the potential of all the SFF blogs/websites/message boards on the internet. Do you keep an eye on what's being discussed out there, especially if it concerns you? Or is it too much of a distraction?

Like anyone I'm interested in what is being said about me. But I don't use any of it to change what I'm writing. That's too much like writing by committee - a recipe for disaster.

- Other than a few exceptions, SFF works blessed with commercial success seldom get a nod when the Hugo nominations are revealed. Multi-volume space opera series don't appear to be a hit with voters, yet is a Hugo Award something you'd like to win one of these days?

Any award is welcome, not to mention flattering, but I don't get all torn up about not being nominated, though. Awards for books does seem slightly contrary to what books are about. This isn't the music charts after all, we're not in any competition -or at least I'm not.

- There will be a book launch and a signing at Forbidden Planet on September 10th to celebrate the release of THE EVOLUTIONARY VOID. Will you also be touring to promote the book?


Friday 10th September, 6pm – 7pm

Signing at Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London

For more details, see

Mon 13th September 11am

Signing at BuyTheBook in Oakham

Tues 14th September pm, 7pm

Event at Birmingham Central Library

Thurs 16th September 7pm

Reading and signing at Waterstone’s Deansgate, Manchester

Tickets £3 redeemable against the book on the night

Saturday 18th September 6:30pm

Signing at Waterstone’s Nottingham Bridlesmith Gate

Sunday 19th September

Peter will be taking part in several events at Fantasycon, Britannia Hotel, 1 St James Street, Nottingham

For further details, see

Wednesday 22nd September time tbc

Reading, Q&A and signing at Waterstone’s Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Thursday 23rd Sept 6pm

Reading, Q&A and signing at Waterstone’s West End, Edinburgh

- After what can only be called an illustrious and prolific career, what motivates you to keep on writing?

My brain can't switch off. It's one of life's better problems to have.

- Anything else you wish to share with your fans?

Thanks for reading.

2 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

I like his answer to the Hugo award question...


Anonymous said...

Finished reading the Evolutionary Void over the weekend and it has probably the best ending he's managed in a major series to this date.

That's not to say it's perfect (a few convenient cop outs, most notably with the use of replicator technology) but its a lot better than the Nights Dawn Ending and the Commonwealth Saga finale.