Mindstar Rising (Greg Mandel, #1)
By Peter F. Hamilton; Read by Toby Longworth
Audible Download – 14 Hours 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 1st 2011
Themes: / Science Fiction / Mystery / Global Warming / Psychic Abilities
It’s the 21st century, and global warming is here to stay, so forget the way your country used to look. And get used to the free market, too – the companies possess all the best hardware, and they’re calling the shots now. In a world like this, a man open to any offers can make out just fine.
A man like Greg Mandel for instance, who’s psi-boosted, wired into the latest sensory equipment, carrying state-of-the-art weaponry – and late of the English Army’s Mindstar Battalion. As the cartels battle for control of a revolutionary new power source, and corporate greed outstrips national security, tension is mounting to boiling point – and Greg Mandel is about to face the ultimate test.
This is an older Peter F. Hamilton novel, first published in 1993. It’s relatively short compared to his later books. Just this year it got reprinted in America with Quantum Murder as one book. (I guess thick books sell more?) It has also just gotten the audio treatment from Audible Frontiers. Peter F. Hamilton is kind of a potboiler sf writer, and yet he’s really smart. He seems to put a lot of research into his scenes, including some science. Sometimes I feel like he’s giving too many details compared to someone like Joe Haldeman, and I get a little restless. Maybe it’s my fault and I’m getting confused, which is easier to do in an audiobook. But then something shocking or intense happens, and it keeps me going. Plus his character development is above average for a genre writer. And he doesn’t shy away from sex or violence as much as other writers. I feel like he writes for adults. If you thought the Night’s Dawn or Void trilogies had too many fantasy elements, you might prefer this series. It is more straight science fiction. That’s assuming you don’t consider psychic abilities to be fantasy. At least they’re framed here in a scientific way. You may encounter some libertarian political messages as well. The setting is a post global warming world where a Leftist government has left England in shambles. It will become important to the plot.
I happen to know that Hamilton is a plotter and outlines in advance. I experienced the ‘Connie Willis effect’ while reading — I wasn’t sure why a certain character or location was introduced, but then it all tied together in the end. The last three or four hours here really cooked. He can describe beam weapons and explosions well. (Compare the end of his The Neutronium Alchemist with the end of Samuel R. Delany’s Nova.) Although I caution you there’s a somewhat grisly escape. And I don’t like the word ‘tropes’, but some of the ‘cool stuff’ you’ll see in this novel are mind uploading, cybernetic brain enhancement, and genetically enhanced animals.
Posted by Tamahome