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Mindstar Rising by Peter F. Hamilton

Mindstar Rising (1993)

by Peter F. Hamilton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Greg Mandel (1)

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Gets bogged down in the final inevitable showdown and like all Hamilton books the ending is weak, but overall a well told story where miraculously the age of the tech doesn't get in the way. ( )
  bhutton | Jun 9, 2016 |
Who would have thought that Hamilton could write short (for his standard anyway) self-contained novels. It came almost as a shock when the book did not finish with a cliffhanger to allow the second one to be just a continuation.

Meet Greg Mandel - a veteran from a war in our near future who had received experimental treatment that turned him into a psychic - human lie detector and so on and not someone that can see the future that is. Hamilton's novel start very heavy on the technical jargon (some of it a bit gritting 20 years later because things had evolved enough for some of those things to have different names) which will turn off a lot of readers. But once you get through those first chapters (and unlike some later works, a chapter is not 100 pages or so), once you grasp this future (complete with Communists, global warming on a huge scale and financial collapse), the story becomes very easily readable and enjoyable.

When we first meet Greg he is on a kill mission (it will take most of the novel to understand why he was killing) but it turns out that he had started to use his unusual condition in the only way he really could - becoming a private investigator. And when a weird theft is found in one of the biggest companies, he is hired to investigate. Of course this turns to be the tip of the iceberg and more thefts and deaths start resurfacing, with Greg in the middle of the action. Add another psychic friend (who can see the future in a way) and you would think that there is no way things to go wrong. And you will be wrong - because the glands that allow these powers are not infallible and have protections that shuts them down when overused and of course that happens just in the worst possible moment. Figuring out who was behind all the mayhem was logical once it was pointed out - I did not expect to see the story going this way even if there was no other logical way (except going really deep internally...).

The novel is a mix of very technical hard SF novel and a soft SF novel (with a detective story thrown in)- which is kind of rare in the genre. You can see the style of Hamilton - not as polished as later but it is there and I am happy that I finally got around to this novel. And I am definitely checking the next 2 in the trilogy. ( )
2 vote AnnieMod | Apr 11, 2015 |
The key to my enjoying this PFH novel was to disassociate everything I’d previously read by the author in the Commonwealth Saga series. Here there are no alien threats or exotic stellar locations to explore. This story takes place in a far less optimistic, multi-point dystopian future where twin environmental and political disasters have stratified the class differences in society. The gritty tone is exemplified in the protagonist, psychic freelance mercenary Greg Mandel, a two-dimensional tough guy who uses the phrase “no messing” to end far too many sentences. The strength of this story is in the unraveling of a corporate mystery with turns and twists which explore most corners of Hamilton’s dark future. It’s a bit like watching a police procedural with psychic cops and some minor near-future SF tech peppered in. It compares quite similarly to Hamilton’s other, separate, story- Great Northern Road- which features a similar investigation but has the added element of off world alien settings and more examples of action scenes. Much of the crime and conspiracy here are strictly white-collar, and it was hard to identify with the Mandel character or even sympathize with him during the only truly high-stakes, dangerous moments he endures in the climactic ten percent of the story, no messing. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Feb 17, 2014 |
Very well developed near future story with interesting elements. A bit aged with regards to IT elements, but otherwise excellent. ( )
  Guide2 | Dec 27, 2013 |
My reaction to reading this novel in 2001. Spoilers follow.

Stories about psychic powers have never been my favorite type of sf (though my favorite novel, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, features them), and I suspected that protagonist's Greg Mandel's psychic abilities would just be too convenient to provide interesting stories. However, Mandel's power is really little more than a heightened sense of intuition -- a power that fictional detectives frequently have -- and an ability to empathize. To be sure, there are more exotic talents here like Gabriel Thompson's precognitive ability which merely looks at the short term probabilities of certain events Hamilton has a Mandel cleverly using Gabriel to save time by having her see what people would say if he were to interview them. And there is a pair of twins who protect Armstrong from psychic detection.

Hamilton, for dramatic purposes, wisely puts limitations on these powers. A surge of internally produced chemicals make the powers possible -- and limits them in certain circumstances. In Gabriel's case, she is pathetically scared to do much or peer far in the future because she usually sees her death. Her reward for helping Mandel is to have the gland which produced the neurohormones necessary for psychic powers removed.

The same techniques that made his Night's Dawn trilogy so readable are in evidence here in Hamilton's first published novel. I believe I've read that Hamilton lives in the rural backwater around Rutland, England. Here, following a long sf tradition of featuring the hometown (usually to trash it), Rutland is transformed to the center of much intrigue and action and its one of the more economically vital areas of this future England. To be sure, Hamilton certainly does not follow John W. Campbell's dictum that tales set in the future should read as if they're written for readers of that time. Hamilton frequently works in dollops of history and background detail. Yet it is the large accumulation of those details which makes his world seem so real. Not only do we get lots of descriptions of buildings and landscapes but (and I think this is one of his strongpoints, a talent deployed by too few writers) details of future economics and business dealings. To be sure, he's rather vague on a lot of technology -- his bioware and the exact functionings of computers -- and his plot is a combination of detective story and cyberpunk and military operation that reminded me of S.A. Swann's Moreau trilogy, but it works here.

He also does a nice job with his characters. He takes the refreshing tact of Eleanor and Greg meeting at the beginning of the story and their meeting having nothing to do with Mandel's work for the very wealthy Julia Evans and her grandfather. The young Julia's crush on Mandel and her whole personality of an enhanced (she has computer implants to aid her recall and thinking), but inexperienced, girl who inherits a business empire was well done in its vacillations of confidence and doubt and arrogance. She reminded me a lot of another young, beautiful head of a powerful empire: Ione Saldana in the Night's Dawn trilogy. I liked the background of this world -- England recovering from ten years of disastrous, vicious, impoverished rule under the egalitarian People's Socialist Party (and also the problems of the little detailed Credit Crash, flooding caused by the Antarctic icecap melting, and the war against the Islamic Jihad in which Mandel served). It seemed a very plausible world, and I think Hamilton partly based it on the English Civil War and its aftermath (there's even a reference to the "Second Restoration") and also (at least in the early '90s when this book was published) expectations about the future of ex-communist countries. ( )
1 vote RandyStafford | Dec 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hamilton, Peter F.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stimpson, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Meteorites fell through the night sky like a gentle sleet of icefire, their sharp scintillations slashing ebony overload streaks across the image Greg Mandel's photon amp was feeding into his optic nerves.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812590562, Paperback)

Greg Mandel, late of the Mindstar Battalion, has been many things in his life. Commando. Freedom fighter. Assassin. Now he's a freelance operative with a very special edge: telepathy.

In the high-tech, hard-edged world of computer crime, zero-gravity smuggling, and artificial intelligence, Greg Mandel is the man to call when things get rough. But when an elusive saboteur plagues a powerful organization known as Event Horizon, Mandel must cut his way through a maze of corporate intrigue and startling new scientific discoveries.

And nothing less than the future is at stake.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

As the cartels battle for control of a revolutionary new power source, and corporate greed outstrips national security, tension is mounting to boiling point. Greg Mandel is about to face the ultimate test.

» see all 4 descriptions

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