Fox&Songbird

Books that are truly worth reading

The Dreaming Void

Peter F. Hamilton

At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds.

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward.

Recommended by Martin

Peter F. Hamilton’s Void Trilogy, the first book of which is The Dreaming Void, concerns two very distinct and yet inseparable stories. One is fantasy: the tale of Edeard, an orphan and apprentice psychic, learning how to shape and train the creatures that serve for technology on Querencia, a planet in the Void. The other is sci-fi: the Void exists in our world as well, an ever-expanding impenetrable object in the galactic core which threatens to consume the entire galaxy.

The imagination that permeates the book is breathtaking. Both universes are alien and unfamiliar filled with ideas and concepts each of which could sustain an entire book on its own but still feel well-explored and satisfying. The scope is vast (if admittedly occasionally hard to follow with six or so interlinked stories) without sacrificing the relatable arcs of individual characters.