Mindstar by Peter F. Hamilton

Mindstar RisingIt’s the near future, and England is riding high on the return to the free market. For Greg Mandel, a former Mindstar soldier cashiered during the tyranny of the PSP, it’s an opportunity to exploit his “bioware” enhancements as a sort of troubleshooter. Mandel has a gland that lets him read minds. A huge company called Event Horizon hires him for this ability to find out who’s been tanking their production. It’s a battle of wills between Phillip Evans and his biggest backer. And elements of the late, unlamented PSP, which ruled England with a neo-communist regime.

Mandel also finds himself defending Evans’ granddaughter, Julie, who is similarly enhanced with bio-engineered computer nodes in her brain. Soon, Julie finds herself in charge of Event Horizon, which is potentially disastrous. Because, while she is brilliant and knows how to use the computer in her head, she is also a seventeen-year-old girl.

The bioware is a cool concept, the idea humans can be modified with additional glands or structures that allow them certain abilities. But Peter F. Hamilton’s real coup is the prediction of certain events in 1993 that are already past: England separated from Europe and the Credit Crash (2008, anyone?) are major historical events. And the polar melt has already happened. But it’s an England recovering from an apocalypse brought on by a government straight out of George Orwell.

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