In a recent conversation about Peter F. …

In a recent conversation about Peter F. Hamilton, I mentioned that I had been nosing about on the Web, trying to find out what his next project is. I said I had learned only that it was a new series called Great North Road, and that nobody seemed to know any details about it. That turns out not to be entirely accurate. It’s a stand-alone novel, not a series. And Hamilton has dropped a few hints about it in his blog, which I was avoiding (for fear of encountering spoilers) until yesterday, when I finished the Void Trilogy.

In his December 2009 blog entry, Hamilton wrote:

Then it’s onward to the next book. Hopefully (I say that because nothing is signed yet) it will be a stand-alone in a new and different universe. There’s a lot of reading/research I have to do, but the basic outline is already there. The central theme is about an expedition who are trying to find evidence of an alien on a planet where evolution apparently never produced animal life, except for someone who decades before tried to use  “the monster did it” as an excuse to explain away a murder she was found guilty of. This is of course a huge simplification, but I have high hopes that I can add some complexity to that situation. I normally do.

In April 2010, he provided some more details:

Following that, in 2012, it will be a stand-alone SF novel, Great North Road, which is set in a completely new and different universe, so not the Commonwealth, Confederation, Mandel, or even the Fallen Dragon one. I’m looking forward to that. There are a lot of notes already written, and I’ve even got a map. I’ve started calling it my monster in the dark novel, which is almost accurate.

So here’s the scene. You’re a taxi driver taking four blokes to the airport, driving down the motorway. They are going on a weekend golf break together, so there’s a lot of cheerful banter. Then one of them suddenly, and in a perfectly serious tone, announces: Oh yeah, I need to visit Newcastle to find a good location to murder someone. Do you a) remain calm and wait until they’re out of your cab before frantically calling the police? b) swerve over several [of] the lanes on the motorway in shock?

The correct answer was: b. However, happy ending, one of the other blokes in the cab leans over and quietly says to you: it’s all right, he’s a writer, he’s talking about research.

[. . .] Great North Road . . .  has a planet with an equatorial zone where all planes are in danger from dust which falls out of the planet’s ring system.

And in June, he added:

I’m back working on the notes for Great North Road. A process which started last week with that trip to Newcastle where I stayed overnight. So I now know where the murder is going to be, and where the body’s going to get dumped in the river. And for those who read my last blog: this time, when I was in the taxi between the train station and the hotel, I managed to keep my mouth shut as to why I was visiting the city.

Hamilton also mentioned a couple of other projects in the works:

  • “Next year, 2011, Macmillan will be bringing out a collection of short stories that I’ve written over the last eight or so years. . . . The provisional title is Manhattan in Reverse.”
  • “The three Mandel books should also be re-released in America by Del Rey next year. The plan at the moment is for an omnibus edition.”
  • “I have to write an essay on Aliens (yes, the Cameron film) for Mark Morris who’s editing Cinema Futura which . . . features a whole batch of SF writers reviewing their favourite SF film. . . . Once that’s done I’m going to write a couple of short stories. . . . The first will feature Paula Myo working out an alien biology puzzle. And then a story set after the singularity, which is something which has been churning round my subconscious for a while.”