Peter F Hamilton very kindly took some time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions from me, mainly very general but I tried where possible to not ask the usual ones (except the future novels question, that seems almost mandatory) and wanted to focus only on the Void trilogy. Thankfully Peter agreed and below is the result. I hope you enjoy, there a few tidbits for the Temporal Void and hints at what to expect in volume three.
Firstly, many thanks for taking time out of your schedule for this, no doubt you're very busy! So, on with the questions...
With the recent releases of The Dreaming Void in the US and the mass market paperback and audio CD in the UK, could you tell everyone that is not familiar with your work a little about The Dreaming Void and the Void trilogy as a whole?
The concept at the centre of the Void trilogy is about belief, and the conflict that can generate. It’s set nearly two thousand years in the future, where there is a multi-layered society called the Commonwealth, where human groups are categorized by the level of technology they use. At the centre of the galaxy is a strange zone called the Void, protected by an Event Horizon. Inside this is a very unusual universe which gives its occupants strong mental powers. The conflict arises when one man outside dreams the life of someone inside the Void. This starts a fanatical following which wants to pilgrimage into the Void so they too can live the dream. Unfortunately, the rest of the galaxy believes this pilgrimage will set off a catastrophic devourment, whereby the Void will engulf the rest of the stars n the galaxy.
What happens next charts the struggle by both sides to, the dreamers to get into the Void, and their opponents to stop them. Both sides believing their cause is the right one.
The audio CD release is a first for your books - how do think it will be received and what are your thoughts on it?
It’s all so new I have no idea how it will be received. I’ve heard Toby Longworth who has recorded it, and all I can say is that he’s done a great job.
You've recently been over in the US for your first visit in a good few years. With quite a few events going on you must have had a busy time travelling, but did you get the chance to enjoy your visit and the events?
The travelling side in a tour like that is never enjoyable. Fortunately the events and people I get to meet make the whole time rewarding, if not memorable. I didn’t have a lot of time for sightseeing, but thankfully the few times I did get to look round by myself included San Francisco and New York. I have to say ComicCon East was fantastic, if you ever get the opportunity then go.
When you first got the idea for the Void trilogy, did you plan to set it in the Commonwealth universe or did that come about later on? What were the reasons for coming back to this setting?
I set it there because I enjoyed extrapolating how the Commonwealth society would evolve after the end of Judas Unchained, after all it is 1200 years later. To me designing societies that are at least plausible, or have an internal consistency are all part of the fun.
Did you always plan on the Void sections being set in a more fantasy orientated world?
Absolutely. Half of the Dreaming Void takes place inside the Void, which is a seeming medieval type world. In the Temporal Void about two thirds of the book follows what happens to Edeard and his friends, and ultimately shows the true nature of the Void. Then part three, will switch back to everyone outside, and how they try to solve the crisis.
Readers of your blog will know how much you enjoy writing Paula, but what other characters could you not help bringing back this time around?
Well without doing spoilers… There are a few cameos and brief mentions of earlier characters. The SI is back for a small role in part two, and I think Paul Cramley will now be appearing in part three, oh, and Ozzie of course.
Speaking of characters: Aaron. I won't ask the obvious question, but how do you keep the balance of giving some clues to his identity but without giving too much information?
I can’t believe the amount of attention this has been getting in the forum. All I can say is if I’d know before I would have been a lot more careful what I say. There is a major clue as to what Aaron was involved in during Temporal Void, confirming his prior relationship with the Cat. Not that it tells you what/who he is. And I have to say, his original identity was never intended as a major revelation, nor ultimately does the whole plot revolve around that particular point.
What sort of direction can we expect the remaining volumes of the Void trilogy to go?
I think I answered that above.
I noticed in one of your recent interviews that you refer to volume three as the Evolutionary Void - is that a working title?
Yes. 90% certain.
I see many people ask if you'll ever return to the Confederation universe, although I wouldn't mind seeing something more from your Fallen Dragon setting. Any plans for future novels at all, in new or familiar places?
Never say never. The next four books after the Void trilogy are already starting to take on note form. But after that…
Are there any questions that you’d like to be asked, but never have been?
I think that covers it.
Many thanks again for taking time to answer the questions, I look forward to the conclusion of the Void trilogy!