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The Mind Pool Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 1993

3.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reissue edition (April 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671721658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671721657
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.6 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,344,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"... Awash with new ideas". -- SF Chronicle

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charles Sheffield's The Mind Pool is a rework of an older novel, The Nimrod Hunt. Centered around the hunt for a renegade artificial life-form, the novel paints a mixed picture of the future, with humans living in harmony with alien species, genetic engineering rampant and uncontrolled, a divided, violent, and irrelevant Earth, and a militaristic outer system.
This is a difficult book to get into. Initial chapters are tedious and there are a lot of key characters who inter-develop as the the book continues which devolves quickly into a confusing mess. Sheffield's humour barely holds the story together as empathy with the main, distant and too many, characters seems close to impossible, and the reader is expected to take in a little too much, from different technologies to the behaviors of three wildly different species. The book, initially, also seems to live up to its back-cover synopsis, which in science fiction can be a bad thing, especially if the synopsis seems to be written to appeal to John W Campbell.
The novel is saved by a number of factors: Sheffield's humour, naturally, helps. Certain characters become fleshed out and sympathetic. Some time about half way through the novel the pace and understandability of what is going on becomes quicker and easier. And then there's an absolutely beautiful twist concerning the very subject of the novel - and I say beautiful not just to describe the twist itself but the subject matter and the novel at that point, which just turned my opinion of the book on its head.
This is a flawed novel. You should read it anyway.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Mind Pool tells the story of a future in which humans have encountered only three other intelligent species in the explored universe. The explored universe is essentially an ever exapanding sphere that radiates out as probes continue to move out through space and everything within this sphere is easilt reachable using "Mattin Links."
What I find intiguing about this story is the description of three very different alien species and how they are thrown together with humans, the only "aggressive" species, to form a team. However, I felt that this particular plot point wasn't dealt with in an engrossing manner. The whole novel felt somewhat pieced together and was shorter than it should have been. The catalyst for the story, the Morgan Construct that poses a threat to the universe and the teams are sent to find, felt almost forgotten and I was unclear what role it served in the story except as a launching point.
I enjoyed the story, but there were so many aspects to this universe that I would have liked to learn about and I felt like none of them were really explored in any depth. There was a subplot that was apparently left out of the original version of this story, called The Nimrod Hunt, that I felt was a hinderance to the story rather than adding anything and the author added back in merely because he was fond of it. The ending was somewhat confused and just seemed to stop and I wasn't really satisfied. I think I will pick up another of his books that isn't a rewrite of an earlier story and see how I like it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not Sheffield's best. It started out well enough, but degenerated towards the end. His character development is weak. Their interaction sometimes seemed shallow and sophomoric, like something I might write. He had some similarities with his Cold As Ice and The Ganymede Club: von Neumanns and, in particular, enhanced psychiatry (by Froppers in this case versus Haldanes in the two later books).
One interesting theme he had is contrasting the human species' penchant for aggressiveness and violence with the lack of those characteristics in the other two sentient races humans encountered in their stellar expansion. I've often wondered what kind of impression we'll make on other races (assuming there are any) when and if we come into contact with them, and after they have had time to try to understand who and what we are. He also had an interesting idea for the expansion of the human race into interstellar space (actually, more of a reconnaissance), and that was a constant launching of probes in all directions that expanded our frontier at about half the speed of light -- something analogous to an expanding bubble.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
To my mind, speaking as a very long-time science fiction reader, this may be one of the best science fiction novels ever, and head and shoulders about most of the stuff that passes for science fiction on the book racks today. Why is it so good? As John Campbell said about van Vogt's The World of Null-A, "It's like a 220-volt power line--it looks innocent, but once you grab it, you can't let it go." One of the best shoot-the-sheriff-on-the-first page opening chapters ever; enough plot and concepts for half a dozen ordinary novels; a compelling and visionary concept. It really does recall the intense sense of wonder of the great science fiction novels of the 50s and 60s.
I would quite cheerfully hand this, along with, say, Pohl's Heechee series, Vance's Araminta Station, Asimov's Foundation Trilogy (and sequels), something by Phillip K. Dick, Blish's A Case of Conscience, and a classic Heinlein like Double Star and say, "Well, if you don't like any of these, then you will never like real science fiction."
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