The Reality Dysfunction (The Night's Dawn)
Peter F. Hamilton
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Space is not the only void...
In AD 2600 the human race is finally beginning to realize its full potential. Hundreds of colonized planets scattered across the galaxy host a multitude of prosperous and wildly diverse cultures. Genetic engineering has pushed evolution far beyond nature's boundaries, defeating disease and producing extraordinary spaceborn creatures. Huge fleets of sentient trader starships thrive on the wealth created by the industrialization of entire star systems. And throughout inhabited space the Confederation Navy keeps the peace. A true golden age is within our grasp.
But now something has gone catastrophically wrong. On a primitive colony planet a renegade criminal's chance encounter with an utterly alien entity unleashes the most primal of all our fears. An extinct race which inhabited the galaxy aeons ago called it "The Reality Dysfunction." It is the nightmare which has prowled beside us since the beginning of history.
THE REALITY DYSFUNCTION is a modern classic of science fiction, an extraordinary feat of storytelling on a truly epic scale.
groove was fitted mainly with cradles for cargo-pods, the circle of folded titanium struts interrupted only by a few sealed ancillary systems modules. Crew quarters nestled in the upper hull groove, a chrome-silver toroid equipped with lounges, cabins, a small hangar for the atmospheric flyer, fusion generators, fuel, life-support units. Human essentials. Athene walked around the toroid’s central corridor one last time. Her current husband, Sinon, accompanied her as she performed her final
muttered happily. Rummaging round in her packs for one of the spherical heavy duty power cells she was carrying, she plugged its coiled cable into the butt of her carbine. The other two were doing the same thing. “Ready?” she asked. The flames were only a couple of metres high now, the air above them swarmed with ash flakes, blotting out the sun. “Go.” They stood, shoulders together, forming a triangle. The TIP carbines blazed, sending out two hundred and fifty invisible deadly shots every
director. The fifty-year-old woman wore a flamboyant yellow and purple cord stripe suit of some expensive silk-analogue fabric, with her blonde hair arranged in a thick, sweep-back style. It was the kind of consummate power dressing favoured by corporate executives, and she looked the part. However, her business was strictly the grubbier side of the human condition: she was the chief of the Internal Security Agency on Ombey, responsible for the discreet maintenance of civil order throughout the
white-water waves swelling over semi-submerged stones. Theo was concentrating hard on keeping them straight and level, but it was tough going. Kelly didn’t remember yesterday’s journey up this same river as being so difficult. She and Shaun Wallace were sitting on the rear bench, clinging on grimly as they were slung about. The propeller droned behind her. “Already I feel wearied by the journey, daunted by what we are attempting. This is not even snatching victory from the jaws of defeat,
no physical size, yet within was an entire universe. A carefully patterned universe of pure data. After it arrived at the rim stars it spent millions of years drifting among them, categorizing the life-forms which rose and fell on their planets, indexing the physical parameters of the multitudinous solar systems. It witnessed interstellar empires that bloomed and failed, and planet-bound civilizations that were lost to the final night as their stars cooled to frozen iron. Saint-like cultures and