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.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
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!
Obviously an "early" Hamilton. It reads smoothly and the narrator is pleasant, but he's still learning to develop his plots. This isn't the epic thriller you will come to love in the star flyer wars in the Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained series or the Void Series but you'll grow to like the characters and there's pretty good action mixed in to keep action junkies like me happy. If you like his style in his later books read this series and if you give it time it will grow on you, if you're not sure or a new reader of Peter F Hamilton, his later books are his best and these are simply good so whatever you do don't put these down and leave Hamilton until you've tasted the good stuff.
New sci fi approach, unconventional and dysotopian future world. Mixed genre of scifi and detective without one being more dominant.
The psi abilities opened quite a few possibilities strands. It was quite coherent and the narrative stayed true throughout. Despite being a triology, it could stand on itself as a single sci fi / detective novel.
His standard voice can be a bit grating, but overall was OK.
Psi mutant detective vs greed in a dysotopian world.
It's a good book, once you get past initial scene setting. The last 3rd of the book was stretched - but that's a minor fault, if at all.
A lot of time was wasted listening to endless descriptions of the surroundings into minute detail. I found myself zoning out from boredom, and had to rewind a few times as something important was missed.
The stereo types were just too much. It was like reading a short story from a womans magazine. The rich beautiful is evil to the bone, the hero is a rightous guy and the game between them and their alles is predictable. I like a book where there are grays and surprises. None here.
Perhaps. This is my first, and even though the story was easy to see through, it was still entertaining.
The narrator was easy to understand. Sometimes when they have to portray a tough guy, he ends up sounding dumb as a door. I was left with that impression of the hero, even though he was quite smart.
I actually do not know. I would have listened to another more interesting story, but I still wanted to know how it ended.
I don't think so. The book is great, and the narration is excellent, but it isn't the sort of book that makes you THINK. Several of the authors' other stories are worth listening to several times, because they're complex and layered, and you always hear something a little different the second and third times you listen.
This book isn't like that; it's satisfying as it is, but not complex enough to require a second listen.
The fact that this book was released in 1993, right around the time that cell phones first hit the retail market, and yet the technology in it feels very "now".
Being that I'm not British, I'm not sure how authentic any of his accents are, but to my Canadian ear, they SOUND perfect, and every character is distinguishable from the others.
All three of these stories are great, fast moving stories set in a world it is easy to believe in that still has plenty of surprises. Peter Hamilton is a master and it is great to have these three stories online now also. Highly recommended, although I think the first one was the best one.
I remember reading an interview with Larry Niven where he explained that detective science fiction is hard to write due to how easy deus ex machina via technology is. When you consider this, Peter F. Hamilton does an incredible job. The main character has a gland that gives him a form of ESP, though it is more of an empathy enhancer that gives him insight into the emotional state of a person but also heightens his intuition. Another character can see the future. So the exploits are obvious but Hamilton does an incredible job of keeping these abilities realistic with clear boundaries so the story is not destroyed by technology. For instance, the character who can see into the future does not see future events but future possibilities. She determines likely outcomes by seeing how many versions of the future converge on a particular event.
This detective story focuses on industrial espionage and politics. There are some attempted murders with the most interesting attempt being on a computer that is essentially a downloaded human mind. The mystery, however, is a bit on the obvious side with me figuring out who the mole was long before the hero. Still, the future that is portrayed is very interesting and kind of scary when you look at the modern state of the world. Some people have described it as a dystopian future, but it is more of the beginning of a rebirth of the world after a dystopian age.
If you liked the other Peter F. Hamilton books available then you will probably enjoy this one, but I would recommend listening to Commonwealth series (Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained, and the Void trilogy) first if you have not already listened to them.
Absolutely. I've been a fan of Peter F. Hamilton after going through his later works, and wanted more of his style - which is deceptively subtle, fast paced, and very engaging.
Greg Mandell - He's a few years removed from military service and while still retaining his edge, more human. He appreciates the way of soldiers without being reduced to a simpleton military mindset. Adding psi empathic abilities to a solider makes for really good reading.
I had to look this book up again just to make sure Toby Longworth was the only narrator - he's simply fantastic! He gives each character not only a distinct voice, but also personality. He is smashing! One of the best readers I've ever come-across.
You can't hide the truth from him...
I have listened to and read most of Hamilton's works, and though I enjoyed this one a lot, it doesn't stack up to his later Novels. Hamilton's brilliance is in crafting expansive epics with a diverse cast of brilliant and intrepid characters. This novel, while imaginative, simply lacks the scope, scale, and depth that lend greatness to some of his later works. I am still sincerely hoping that an audio publisher decides to put his Night's Dawn trilogy on here eventually!