The year is 2080 and the world is crowded. To feed the nearly 17 billion, the earth has been divided into agriculture or city. There is no in between, no margin for error in this high-tech world. Farms are ultra-efficient enterprises using the latest engineered crops, enormous plants manipulated to grow in any season and produce fantastic yields. Cities are dense and overcrowded, stuffed with men and women working endless hours to pay for their needs.
Their only relief is Virtual Reality - a synthetic world where any fantasy is possible - where a person can look like anyone, be anywhere. It is no wonder people spend every waking hour "jacked in" to this imaginary world. Access to Virtual Reality is controlled by one company, owned by one man. Tatsuo Hamachi has accumulated vast wealth, but his desire for power is greater. Now, he has discovered a way to connect human minds directly, without the need of Virtual Reality headsets, where thoughts can flow as easily as electricity through a wire. When every human mind is connected - he stands to be leader of them all.
There are a few who have rejected technology for a simpler life. Their only desire is to be left in peace. When Alvar, their leader, becomes an unwilling guinea pig for Hamachi's experiments, he must fight not only for his own mind, but those of the entire world.
Where does Threshold of the Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Very highly. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Maybe 6 or 7 a month. This one put my life on hold. I couldn't turn it off.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Ezekiel. A wonderful horrible character. This guy is gross to look at yet thinks he's a charmer. So wonderfully disgusting yet I couldn't get enough of him.
Which character – as performed by Jeff Clarke – was your favorite?
Hamachi. He controls the world with an iron fist a complete despot. Hamachi is a control freak and you hear it in the performance.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Inside each of us is a compute so powerful the very future of the Earth is at Stake.
Any additional comments?
The book grabbed me from the first sentence. The reader is intense matching the bleak future portrayed here. I loved it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
More often than not the artwork used on the audiobook covers combined with the authors chosen title makes my brain jump to conclusions. While I am quite sure this is the desired effect, yet sometimes I am so wrong with whatever I thought and still others I am right on. Threshold of the Mind was a tough one to do this to.
Looking at the cover immediately makes me think of some human computer integration that would make for an interesting science fiction story. The title also lends itself well to that conclusion. Then reading the summary I see that I am partially right, yet the story boasts so so much more than that.
Threshold of the Mind holds to the definition of a true dystopian society. Where corporations have taken over the world and made it such an ugly place, as it seems to be mostly farm land of ridiculous GMO proportions, to be most of the citizens would prefer to live out their lives in virtual reality within the “I”. I loved the “nod” to Google Glasses and how they took over our souls. I was entranced by the complexity of the societies structure, admittedly wanting more information, even though there is a lot of information to sort through already.
Starting off with what seemed to me as three distinct and separate story lines, that are slowly interwoven. Until there is only one plot line with one end in sight.
One part Tron, except people instead of programs inside the computers. One part Matrix, with the all encompassing “I”. One part Ender’s Game, with a massive human hive mind. And one part good old fashioned fun.
Overall Jeff Clarke’s performance was good. However I could not stand the voice he gave to Hamachi. While I understand why he went the direction he did,l I found it difficult to understand most of the time. Clarke pacing was very fast, I mean hold on to your ear-buds fast. I had to rewind several times just to make sure that I caught everything that was going on. Clarke excelled at creating all the other character voices, some were so different from his normal voice it was difficult to believe.
I see a great future in Clarke’s career. As it seems he is new to the audiobook community. I will be looking for more from him.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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5 of 8 people found this review helpful
I just finished listening to Threshold of the Mind and enjoyed it thoroughly. There is plenty of action to keep the story moving along briskly, and plenty of hard science fiction to keep the listener questioning his own view of reality.
There are many ideas which you could call, our present condition fast forwarded 75 years into the future. For example, everyone spends their lives jacked into virtual reality, and genetically engineered plants modified to grow in the harshest climates. But Magidson pushes the envelope even further: what would happen if we all joined minds to create several larger minds, or one super mind? Would we lose our individuality, would we care? It is a kind of immortality, but also a kind of death. I found this concept fascinating and am still thinking about it.
What makes a book good, is how it holds the listener’s (reader’s) attention during the story, but also how it affects us afterwards. I find myself thinking about the book now that I’ve finished it. I keep replaying scenes and ideas over in my head, “Oh yeah, that could happen,” or “Are we really heading toward that kind of world?” or “What would I do in that situation.”
Threshold of the Mind is full of ideas wrapped in an action plot. Of course, you can’t have a good book without good characters, and Magidson does a great job with this too. There are several memorable characters, but my favorite was Ezekiel. He is disgusting, evil, cruel and malicious, but somehow I wanted him to succeed. I don’t want to spoil anything, so skip here if you don’t want to read. There is a scene where he has a cable bouncing around from his prosthetic eye and he rips it out trying to be more attractive to a pretty girl he can't possible have. It’s gruesome and pathetic. You gotta love a sick character like that.
The story is read by Jeff Clarke who does a great job. I love his voice. He has a distinctly different voice for each character, that he does very well. He really gets into the story and gives it a creepy futuristic mood.
I can’t recommend this novel highly enough. I'm going to listen again, just to for the last scene, just great.