With The Saints Of Salvation (hardcover, Kindle, audiobook), science fiction writer Peter F. Hamilton is bringing The Salvation Sequence trilogy to a close. But as he discusses the following email interview, the end of this trilogy doesn’t mean he’s leaving this fictional universe for good.
Photo Credit: © Peter Eyre
Let’s deal with the when and where part first: over ten thousand years of history, and across the galaxy. Helpful? Okay, there are two main timelines, one set around 2200 when humans encounter the Olyix, who are flying in an interstellar arkship on a crusade to meet their God At The End Of Time, which involves harvesting all the other species they can find, and cocooning them so they can be brought to the God. Some humans manage to flee out into the galaxy, with the long term goal of destroying the Olyix and bringing the cocooned humans back to Earth. That’s the second timeline set 10,000 years later.
And then, for those who have, what is The Saints Of Salvation about, and aside from being the final book of the trilogy, how else does it connect to the other books?
It’s a direct connection, taking off right where Salvation Lost finished. Although the Salvation Sequence is three books, it is one story, the previous books are not stand-alones. The Saints Of Salvation finally sees the two timelines brought together.
When in relation to writing Salvation and Salvation Lost did you come up with the plot of The Saints Of Salvation?
The entire Salvation Sequence was plotted out before I started writing book one. Admittedly volumes two and three had looser plotting than volume one to begin with, but the overall story arc was worked out. That looser structure allows me to accommodate all the new ideas that occur during the actual writing, and carry them forward to the end of book three.
In the previous interview we did about Salvation Lost [which you can read by clicking here], you said that while you understand why people think of these books as sci-fi space opera stories, they also have elements of spy fiction, some political drama, and other elements. Would you say the same about The Saints Of Salvation?
One of the main themes this time is that of control, in terms of how a society is, by necessity, balanced between authority and freedom, which always pull in opposite directions. It also raises the question of just how far do you have a right to go in order to protect yourself against aggression.
Are there any writers, or specific stories, that had a big influence on The Saints Of Salvation but not on Salvation or Salvation Lost?
I’m not sure it counts as inspiration, but Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke was the first time I encountered an interstellar arkship on such a massive scale. It was certainly impressive.
How about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or games? Any of those have a big influence on The Saints Of Salvation?
For some writers, the end of a trilogy isn’t the end of the story; they expand upon them with prequels, sequels, side stories, and so on. Are you thinking you might do this as well?
The Saints Of Salvation certainly closes all the trilogy’s main story lines, but I have left some options open for a return to this universe.
So what are you planning?
That will probably be obvious to readers who’ve finished The Saints Of Salvation. But I’m not sure when I’ll be writing it, there are other projects I’m committed to which have to be finished first.
Interesting. And what are those other projects…?
Sorry, I’m not allowed to talk about it just yet.
As you know from when you’ve wrote The Void Trilogy and The Commonwealth Saga, there are people who might consider reading all three of The Salvation Sequence books back-to-back. You kind of answered this already, but do you think this is the best way to enjoy this story?
If it was me, I’d read them one after the other, or at least close together. As I said, it is one story.
Finally, if someone enjoys Salvation, Salvation Lost, and The Saints Of Salvation, which of your other multi-book sagas would you suggest they read next and why that one?