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Literature / Void Trilogy

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A series of Science Fiction novels written by Peter F. Hamilton.

The Void Trilogy continues the story of the Commonwealth Universe introduced by the Commonwealth Saga. It picks up 1500 years later, in the 39th century. It contains some but not all of the same characters (due to biotechnological immortality), and many new ones; it's a space opera with a large cast. The trilogy has more of a fantasy/softer sci-fi slant than the previous books due to humans dealing with sufficiently advanced technology and becoming more advanced ourselves. Not wiser, mind you...

The trilogy is composed of The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, and The Evolutionary Void.

This series provides examples of:

  • Always Gets Her Man: Toned down - after nearly dying while resisting her inborn compulsion to follow this trope in the Commonwealth Saga, Paula Myo has this genetic trait removed, as this incident helps her to recognize that dropping dead when forced to deal with shades of gray isn't always helpful. She still, however, always gets her man.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Most species who reach their Singularity do this. There's actually a term for it: becoming "post-physical". It's basically what Ilanthe, the Accelerator leader, is trying to achieve, except she wants to be a god over the whole Universe as well. And she won't share.
    • With the notable exception of the Firstlifes, who created the galaxy-devouring Void as their idea of becoming postphysical.
  • Big Damn Heroes: An unarmed ship, full of the last chance this galaxy has of survival, is under attack from Cat, one of the worst criminals in human history, luckily Paula Myo, the Cat's archnemesis flies in for the rescue...and finds herself outgunned. So she calls the Raiel cityship The High Angel which teleports in for their Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Black Widow: Ranlee. Of the seduce, marry and dominate for the rest of their life variety.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Anything introduced at all will have some factor later on. Even some elements from the original Commonwealth Saga become important here.
    • Remember the force-fields that enclosed entire star-systems in the Commonwealth Saga? The same tech is used here to enclose the entire galactic center, who knows how many light-years across.
  • The Constant: One might call this the things that are still recognizable so far into the future. Most Earth monuments are still in place, and several characters appear that never uploaded to ANA.
    • A lot of things change in a millennium, but Paula Myo is always on duty.
    • LionWalker Eyre, the man who helped Dudley Bose observe the Dyson Pair enclosure, is still physical 1000 years later, and shows up in a couple of instances, always at the very edge of human expansion (like he always said): first at Centurion Station, as Inigo's boss, and then on the Pilgrimage Fleet, and later on Querencia, at the very center of the Galaxy.
      • One might have to go back and re-read sections of the previous books, to remember just where they'd heard of this guy before. He has almost no story impact.
      • Accordingly, one wonders whether he's a planted call-ahead to a book or books the author is planning down the line.
    • Also, the hacker Paul Cramley shows up at one critical point, just in time to kill a top Accelerator agent by accelerating her subjective time and aging her to death in a few minutes.
  • Cool Ship: Of course! The High Angel makes an appearance.
    • There's a reason it's just called The Ship.
    • The deterrence fleet is insanely awesome, capable of detecting and manipulating any systems made of matter before its operators can even react, while running in near-perfect stealth and presumably invulnerability to most weapons designed to affect physical objects. And it's brought online by Fleet Admiral Kazimir merging with it to become an Energy Being with fleet-scale superpowers that he selects from a quantum armory!
    • Makkathran
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Cat vs The High Angel, city-ship of the galaxy's most advanced species, take a guess who's the one tasting pavement.
  • Darkest Hour: In the Edeard plotline when Owain takes over Makkathran and when Edeard uses the domination psychic ability to create his Makkathran-wide mind nest.
  • Deus ex Machina: The conclusion of the Paula Myo vs. the Cat fight might come off as this, except it's completely awesome.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: "The Alexis Denken often would streak between star systems reverberating to the sounds of Rachmaninoff or Pink Floyd or Deeley KTC." Unlike in many sci-fi stories, the third item is presumably still human, just a human that isn't famous yet, due to the minimal cultural exchange between species in this universe.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Edeard uses the Domination psychic ability to aid in creating a mind nest spanning the whole of Makkathran.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Raiel seem to be the most advanced race around that still takes an active part in galactic affairs (i.e. not post-physical or the Silfen).
    • It's explained that the reason they never went post-physical is because they'd defined their entire racial culture around their war against The Void for many thousands of years. It's pretty much all they knew.
      • But at the end of the book, they've been freed from that particular burden and can do as they please.
  • Hivemind: The "Multiples", which are people that have their consciousness spread out over multiple bodies, via technology; they got the idea from The Primes.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Say what you will, but it was a human faction that almost destroyed the Galaxy in an attempt by one person to take over the Universe. Talk about ego...
  • One-Winged Angel: The Big Bad at the end is not referred to by name but rather as "the Ilanthe-thing".
  • Only One Name: Compared to the Commonwealth Saga, to an increasing degree people either genuinely only have one name (Inigo, Araminta, Troblum etc.) or use only their first name in formal contexts (for example, Admiral Kazimir, as opposed to Admiral Burnelli).
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted, in contrast to the previous books; a massive religious pilgrimage is the source of the main conflict.
  • Red Herring: Both in and out of universe: Oh god! The Primes are back!
  • Reset Button: Why the Living Dream want to reach the void. Any person with the knowhow can Mental Time Travel back to a previous time they remember. However it is a one way trip and this ability is the reason that the Void is eating up the galaxy.
  • Shout-Out: "The gaiafield was to help people understand and appreciate life, the universe, and everything..."
  • Space Amish: The Anomine split into those who used their incredibly advanced technology to transcend physical existence, and those who chose to remain behind on their homeworld and live simple lives.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Firstlifes who built the void, as no one understand its purpose or how it works.
    • Humanity itself. Humans can live forever if they choose, have technology that allows them to causally alter the quantum fields of the universe to make rings like teleportation and rediculous FTL possible. Biononics at their minimum make humans impossibly intelligent and with military upgrades make them almost indestructible to any lesser technology. Humans can also join ANA where you become so intelligent as to view embodied humans as pathetically dimwitted. ANA itself is humanities greatest accomlishment, a computer/artifical reality that transcended its physical machinery to become a part of the quantum structure of earth itself.
    • The population of Querencia has seemingly magical powers, but that's just because they live in a massive construct built by the Firstlifes to respond to conscious thought.
    • Myriana and Ozzie both have personal capabilities that are completely unknown to one of the best-equipped assemblies of human agents in the galaxy. Myriana in particular seems to embrace this, coming off as an unassuming but extremely dangerous Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
    • The deterrence fleet is at this technological level. See Cool Ship above.
    • Averted (reverted?) (deconstructed in-universe!) in several instances of previously unfathomable "magical" technology being sufficiently analyzed by humanity:
      • Ozzie Fernandez Isaacs reverse-engineers some of the Silfen "magic" to create the gaïafield, which allows humans equipped with gaïamotes to share emotions and dreams.
      • The Sheldon Dynasty reverse-engineering the gigalife "cabbage moons" seen in Judas Unchained to create the biononic technology that the Higher humans utilize throughout the trilogy.
      • Ilanthe seeks to sufficiently analyze the Void in order to propagate its "magical" properties throughout the universe.
      • Ilanthe also manages to create something that "worries" the Silfen, which makes her Sufficiently Advanced from their perspective. Given that their perspective is "so far ahead of humans as to be largely incomprehensible," that's saying something.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Paula Myo intervenes against Cat in order to save the Mellanie's Redemption. Unfortunately the Cat has been outfitted by some of the best tech the Accelerator faction has, so Paula tries her best to survive an onslaught of quantum-busters, M-Sinks and other weapons that blew up large moons and consigned a gas giant planet to a slow death!!!! Before her ship is about to be blown up under a barrage of quantum-busters, Paula sends a signal out to Raiel...and the end result Paula rescued and the Cat dying horribly over and over again for years.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The T-sphere is basically a special field that you can extend over a volume of space, in which you can casually teleport at will. There's one around the entire planet Earth.
  • The Watcher: Subverted. After almost five books in two series acting like this, Qatux and the High Angel awesomely reveal themselves to not be quite so pacifistic after all.
    • As noted above, the odd character LionWalker Eyre also seems to somehow fill a Watcher-type role regarding humanity's spread through the galaxy.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Edeard goes through one towards the end of The Temporal Void. After losing all of his squad in a bandit attack, he learns from the last survivor that Owain has pulled a All Your Base Are Belong to Us in Makkathran. Once there he finds all of the souls of his friends telling him how they were killed by Owain's men. The only person left is Salrana... Who turns out to have defected to Owain. Thank goodness for that Reset Button!.