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The story of the Night's Dawn Trilogy is separated over three books primarily: The Reality Dysfunction (1996), The Neutronium Alchemist (1997), and The Naked God (1999); but is also supported by "A Second Chance at Eden", a collection of short stories which provide insight into the history of Hamilton's universe.
The story is divided in many threads, based around primary, secondary and tertiary characters. Not all of these will be discussed here, as they delve deeply into the rich and complex texture of the Universe providing a greater sense of verisimilitude, also exploring some of Hamilton's darker themes. These story lines include Dariat's struggles inside Valisk, and the Deadnight's voyage to their 'Saviour'.
In the 27th century humans have colonised nearly 900 worlds, have living, sentient starships as well as the conventional kind, living also in Asteroid communities and in large, living Space stations. Due to policies of 'Ethnic Streaming' by the colonisation authorities, worlds are generally united under a single government, with these governments collectively forming a Confederation. The Confederation includes both Adamists and Edenists, a small collection of Alien races including the Tyrathca and the Kiint, has an armed Navy (which acts primarily against smugglers, pirates and anti-matter production facilities, which are considered highly illegal) and a central 'house' based on the world of Avon. Earth is still an important world, with a massive population, exporting massive amount of colonists (both voluntarily and involuntarily), but virtually environmentally destroyed after years of technological abuse.
Morn Hyland, an ensign with the United Mining Companies Police, is on her first mission aboard the UMCP destroyer Starmaster (which is crewed by members of her extended family). When they arrive at Com-Mine Station, a ship, Bright Beauty, piloted by the pirate Angus Thermopyle, flees, and Starmaster follows. Witnessing Angus slaughtering a small mining settlement (Angus had left Com-Mine without supplies and needs air scrubbers), Starmaster attempts combat, but is almost destroyed by a massive internal explosion. Morn suffers from gap-sickness, a mental disorder that inflicts itself on a small portion of people who travel through the Gap (the series' analogue to hyperspace). Symptoms of gap-sickness vary wildly; in Morn, it manifests itself as an uncontrollable urge to engage self-destruct, and is triggered by exposure to high-gravity conditions. Morn, left alone on the auxiliary bridge when Starmaster engaged Angus' ship, experienced gap-sickness for the first time, and attempted to destroy Starmaster.
Angus boards the wreck hoping to salvage some air scrubbers, murders Morn's father (who had survived Morn's attempted self-destruct) and kidnaps Morn. Seeking both control of her gap-sickness, and Morn herself, Angus places a zone implant - a remotely-controlled electrode - onto her brain, which allows Angus to control Morn's every feeling and action. By giving Morn an unauthorised zone implant, Angus has committed a capital crime, and will be executed if he is caught.
Ninety percent of the threads in it seem to be concerned, not with science fiction, but with television shows and Hollywood films of the type beloved of scientifically uneducated adolescents.[ex/]
Actually the popular usage of the term Science Fiction is interchangable with Sci-Fi. The word for serious 'hard' science fiction is Speculative Fiction. The one basic rule for Speculative Fiction is that the Author must only ask their readers to believe in one or two unbelievable concepts.
Dan Simmons is a good Speculative Fiction author, he wrote Hyperion Cantos.
I see you've already added in the Author of Snow Crash so I won't repeat him.
Originally posted by dbates
Hard to believe that no one has mentioned the great Isaac Asimov yet.
Frank Herbert, a slightly later arrival, has turned into something of an embarrassment, the result of crude legacy-milking on the part of his heirs.