Sunday, 8 September 2013

‘Sonnie’s Edge’ – Peter F. Hamilton

Tor UK are re-releasing Hamilton’s first short story collection, ‘A Second Chance at Eden’, and (to mark the occasion) have made ‘Sonnie’s Edge’ available to download on their blog over Here. I’ve read ‘Manhattan in Reverse’ (the other collection, very good as it happens) but have never picked up ‘A Second Chance at Eden’ so I figured I’d give ‘Sonnie’s Edge’ a go. Also, I’m really starting to get into reading stuff on my phone (short stuff, not long stuff, don’t get any ideas…) It’s like the grown up equivalent of reading in bed with a torch when you really should be asleep… :o)

But yeah, ‘Sonnie’s Edge’. It's set on Earth in the year 2070, and is a story about the popular sport of beastie-baiting - contests to the death between artificial monsters controlled via human affinity bonds. Sonnie's team is particularly successful, and her monster, Khanivore, has one special advantage... (Thank you Wikipedia, I’m not quite awake enough to ‘re-blurb’ blurbs this morning)

‘Sonnie’s Edge’ is a short and fun read but could have been a little more so in my opinion. ‘Fun’, not ‘short’, I mean. It felt like there was a lot of scene setting when really what I wanted to see were the artificial monsters going at it to the death. While I get that approach in the context of the book (which is kind of a prelude to the ‘Night’s Dawn’ universe so some scene setting is required) I’m not sure that it works so well when the story stands on its own. It’s worth sticking around though as the vague hints about Sonnie’s character are given a vicious twist that brings everything into focus and has it all making sense. Talk about a twist in the tale and so soon after what you think is the actual twist. You feel like you should have seen that ending coming so all credit to Hamilton for keeping it under wraps.
And, of course, there is the monster fight which not only has all the pounding brutality you would expect but forces the reader to re-examine it in the wider context of the ending.

 ‘Sonnie’s Edge’ is a free download so is worth taking a punt on anyway; I’d recommend it though as a short, sharp(ish) dose of sci-fi with an ending that you have to see. I might even have to pick up ‘A Second Chance at Eden’ to see if the other stories are as good.

1 comment:

  1. Who in their right mind still post free online stories only in pdf format ? Honestly? No epub, no mobi, not even simple html? Right.. And what's the deal with all that wasted space in the pdf? 27 pages worth of just 10 I suppose. The story might be great but I can't stand this, I think I'll pass.