I got the storyline of this book series (I believe it was a series) told to me by a colleague at a former workplace but I can't remember the name of the author or of any of the books in the series.

The first book is about a couple of college students who find a way to relatively easily open portals to pretty much wherever they want to go.

One day, NASA(?) finally succeeds in sending astronauts to Mars(?). When they have just left the spaceship, one of them suddenly gets a tap on the shoulder, and when he/she turns around, these college students stand there in their homemade space suits, chuckling.

I believe these students later also start a company that helps other organizations establish themselves on other planets, or perhaps even "conquers" and sells planets to other organizations.

A later book in the series also describes a system that lets people upload their minds to the cloud. Some people choose to live solely in the cloud as virtual creatures, only deciding to "descend" into a "flesh" body when they need to perform some task that requires them to be in physical form.

Some people also choose to live in physical form but as several entities, or clones, and sync their mind between the clones through this system, basically allowing them to, for example, run a one-man company with several "instances" of the same human who all share their knowledge and all know exactly what all other clones know in the same moment, effectively creating a super-efficient team of workers.

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    Do you have contact with the former workmate? When did they read it? How will you confirm we have the correct answer?
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 21:35
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    No, I don't have contact with him. I don't know when he read it; but perhaps 10–20 years ago, although I really don't know. I was hoping I would recognize the title of any of the books in the series when I saw it because he must have mentioned the name of at least the first book, but so far I haven't been able to find any the titles online! Or I was hoping that someone might know exactly which book series I'm talking about or have a strong suspicion about which it might be. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


This is Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga.

The bit with the college students opening a portal to Mars is the opening scenes of the novel Pandora's Star (2004).

The book opens with a short section providing backstory. As part of the first mission to Mars, a team of astronauts exits their spacecraft for the first time, only to see another man standing there, connected to an air hose that leads through a wormhole to a laboratory in California. The wormhole generator's inventors, Nigel Sheldon and Ozzie Isaacs, chose to test it by beating the crew, by moments, to be the first human on Mars. The saga then moves onto the Commonwealth era in 2380, when humanity has used the wormhole technology to colonise several hundred planets across hundreds of light years.


These are the Commonwealth books by Peter F. Hamilton.

The first book, Pandora's Star (2004), opens with the first manned landing on Mars. As the team plant the flag, another voice comes over their radios. They look around, and see a guy in a homemade spacesuit standing near a wormhole to a university lab.

Story then jumps a couple of centuries, to the Commonwealth society, based on wormholes between planets, with all travel by train.

All the other elements you mention are there, either in this book or later ones.


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