How to dispose of your husband

Cover: Great North RoadTired of fighting for control of the TV remote? Fed up with having to entertain your partner every evening? Sick of being the one who has to organise social events?

Try this: Great North Road, 1086 pages of pure reading pleasure, by sci-fi stalwart Peter Hamilton.  I gave it to my husband (let’s call him ‘Derwood’) two weeks ago, and I haven’t had to talk to him since. He arrives home every night from work, takes off his cycle helmet, picks up his plate of weetbix and vanishes. Depending on the weather, he is reading either in the garden (hammock), in the lounge (sofa), the family room (armchair by open French doors), or the bedroom (with accompanying cats). The giant size of the book means it’s a bit of a challenge to sling it in his backpack and take to work, but I have a feeling his patients are lucky they’ve got his full attention there, otherwise he’d probably be balancing it on their heads while fixing their shoulders or backs.

Up until a couple of years ago, Derwood was a one-man reader, Stephen King or no-one. Then I managed to bully him into reading Perdido Street Station, and he was off. Since then, he’s gotten to know China pretty well, and has also been spending time with Justin Cronin, Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Simon Green, and even Charlie Higson (zombies, not spies). Simon and Charlie seem to be a bit light for him, though – if I really want some peace and quiet of an evening, it has to be the great dense volumes of space opera or world-building or urban fantasy (NOT the vampire-y bodice-ripping ones) that involve multiple characters and storylines, with elements of fantasy and/or philosophy, and with some mystery thrown in. So it’s a bit of a relief to have thought of Peter Hamilton. I read his Night’s Dawn Trilogy a few years back, and  loved it, but I have to confess that the big world-building sci-fi books are a bit beyond my scattered concentration abilities at the moment.

I reckon with the rest of Hamilton’s back catalogue still to go, I’m sorted for the next couple of months, but after that I’ll be on the lookout again. Any suggestions as to where I should go after this? I’m thinking maybe Alastair Reynolds, but am open to all other offers …