Desperate to locate and re-read exceptional book/series, but cannot remember the title.

The high concept: The U.S. has just sent the first successful expedition to Mars, and it has just landed. As the astronauts make their initial exploration outside their ship, a tear in the fabric of space opens up right in front of them, and they look through to the insides of a laboratory (at a California university?) and two students who just figured out how to create arbitrary portals between two points in the Universe.

The rest of the novel/series is a consequence of this breakthrough. But I can't remember the author and title(s). Surely someone reading this forum will remember it well! TIA.

(Reposted from the SFSite F&SF forums.)

  • while this is the current target of at least one duplicate question about this series, a more comprehensive answer may be found at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/143267/…
    – Otis
    Oct 18 '16 at 15:36
  • @Otis It's only more comprehensive in that it gives specific quotes to elements that are in the other question but not referenced at all in this question. It's a perfect example of a "duplicate" where the questions are entirely different, and even the answers aren't exactly the same, they just happen to refer to the same book. Oct 18 '16 at 19:04
  • @starpilotsix, to be clear: I was using the terms "duplicate" and "more comprehensive" per the meaning generally applicable when managing duplicates. I agree with your assessment that these are substantially different questions, but the prevailing operational consensus is that story ID questions with the same answer count as duplicates, regardless of how different the questions are.
    – Otis
    Oct 20 '16 at 16:20

That's the beginning of the Commonwealth Saga by Peter F Hamilton, which comes up so often in story identification requests that it should perhaps be a FAQ.

  • 1
    OP at the F&SF forums hasn't written back to confirm, but the Wikipedia entry seems to fit :) Thanks!
    – Standback
    Jun 15 '12 at 8:37

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