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Relative to Hamilton's more recent work (the Commonwealth Saga), Mindstar Rising is clearly not in the same league. That said, this 1st book of the Greg Mandel trilogy demonstrates the talent that has emerged as one of preeminent contemporary scifi authors. Mindstar is simply not as ambitious, nor as sweeping in scope as his later work, but the story is masterfully done and a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
We are presented with the limits of a near future tale (still near future due to the identifiability with the characters' daily routines), set late in the 21st century. Both environmental (in the form of global warming) and political (in the form of economic upheaval leading to vicious UK socialism) changes have occurred. Greg Mandel is a former UK soldier, discharged by the new, anti-military government. The Mindstar unit was a special ops group that received early experimental bioimplants. Mandel has an "esp" sense to detect mental states in others close by. He does not "read" minds, but can sense emotional reactions.
Greg is hired by a wealthy, elderly businessman and his granddaughter to track down what is thought to be sabotage within their manufacturing facilities (some of which are space based). What appears as straightforward corporate espionage and hardball takeover tactics gradually evolves into a life or death struggle with national political ramifications. For the major scifi elements, biology and cyber dominate along the lines of a William Gibson / Richard K Morgan love child.
The characters are wonderfully developed with vile villains and endearing supporting characters. The narrator performs an admirable rendition for the range of characters.
32 of 33 people found this review helpful
Peter F. Hamilton has more sci-fi imagination in his little typing finger than most authors have in their whole body! At times, it was all I could do to keep up with all the ideas and jargon he was throwing at me. Listening to the audio version makes it even more difficult to digest everything, so you'd better not try to listen to this book while operating heavy machinery.
Just listen to the first chapter and you will know that Mr. Hamilton is a certified sci-fi genius. He brings along some of the "inventions" from his previous books, but just enough to make you recognize his fingerprint. In this book, the scope is more narrowly contained to a single planet, which must have been like trying to keep Robin Williams on a single topic, but he does cover much of the planet (and the space above it, and below the surface of the water). This book pulls a few pages from The Windup Girl and Daemon, very smart. I can't wait for Book 2!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Given was written in the early 90s, the setting is eerily apt and poignant right now. Near future sci-fi, elements of cyberpunk, corporate scandal and detective story to boot and Toby Longworth's performance (because that's what it is) is first class. Highly recommended!
26 of 27 people found this review helpful
I listen to audio books on long car journeys - if they are any good then the journey appears to take no time at all. Listening to this, the first of the Mindstar trilogy, caused me to enter a time-space vortex in which I was transported nearly 200 K without any sensation of movement, time or other reality. My esper sense clearly helped me to drive while the gland secretions enabled me to do so safely - either that or the other road users just gave me a wide berth. I cannot believe this was narrated by one person; awesome is the only real reaction. I particularly liked the evocation of one of the evil characters who sounded remarkably like a former UK prime minister!!! I think you either love sci-fi or just don't get it. If you love it - you will definitely get this. My feeling about what makes a really good audio book (or any book come to that) is - are the characters believable, do you care about the characters and what is/will happen to them, is the plot immersive and does it make you want to guess? I would answer yes to all those points and just say that the creation of England post global-warming is intelligent and very well articulated. I loved the idea of Peterborough becoming a major sea port and a kool place to live - now that really is science fantasy.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
I must admit I like the shorter (in comparison) books by Mr Hamilton. This is great. I bought the paperback years ago and read it several times. The author has done a great projection of what if/climate change/ultra right-wing governments/military scenarios. Very believable. Greg Mandel is an engaging character and a very believable British (ex) army guy. The narrator is also first class. Wish there were more than three in the series!
i was gripped right from chapter one! impossible to pull myself away from such an action packed story!