The Mandel Files, Volume 1: Mindstar Rising & a Quantum Murder, p.1Peter F. Hamilton
Praise for Peter F. Hamilton
The Dreaming Void
“Dozens of scenarios, a surprisingly well-delineated cast of thousands, plotting enough to delight the most Machiavellian of readers and, this time out, a far leaner and more purposeful product: a real spellbinder from a master storyteller.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Peter F. Hamilton [is the] owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction, the author of immense, complex far-future sagas.… The Dreaming Void is his best yet.”
—Ken Follett, New York Times bestselling author of
The Pillars of the Earth
“This is a book that arguably nobody else in Brit SF could have even attempted. Epic, multi-stranded, full of wonders.”
“A gripping planetary epic.”
—Romantic Times Book Reviews
“In the tradition of grand-scale SF sagas … densely plotted and intensely thought-provoking.”
“Truly epic adventure.”
“A massive and intricate opening salvo … Hamilton pushes the technology to and beyond the limits we are accustomed to.”
The Temporal Void
“Packed with great storytelling … just about everything a reader could hope for in the middle book of a trilogy.”
“Hamilton is the clear heir to Heinlein in my view. Large-scale space opera told through a shifting and interlinked cast of people from various walks of life, [his writing is] amazing storytelling.”
—Mark Andreessen, founder of Netscape
“A great, sprawling, ripping yarn reminiscent of Golden Age Science Fiction.”
“A gripping story, with the fates of two universes at stake.”
“Fusing elements of hard SF with adventure fantasy tropes, Hamilton has singlehandedly raised the bar for grand-scale speculative storytelling.”
The Evolutionary Void
“The author’s mastery of the art of the ‘big story’ earns him a place among the leading authors of dynastic SF. A strong addition to any SF collection.”
“With intimate storytelling threads woven through a grand tapestry of epic adventure, the tale will … captivate returning fans who can dive right in.”
“Peter F. Hamilton is one of the best space opera writers around today.”
“Should be high on everyone’s reading list … You won’t be able to put it down.”
—Nancy Pearl, National Public Radio
“An imaginative and stunning tale of the perfect future threatened … a book of epic proportions not unlike Frank Herbert’s Dune or Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy.”
“Richly satisfying … wonderfully imagined … Hamilton adroitly leaps from the struggles of one engaging, quirky character to another.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Hamilton tackles SF the way George R. R. Martin is tackling fantasy.… There’s a sense of wonder here that’s truly unchained.”
“[Hamilton] manages to update an old form for the new century of readers with brio, élan and brilliance.… [His] style is un-showy but powerful, transparent and forceful.”
“You’re in for quite a ride.”
—Santa Fe New Mexican
“Hamilton has assembled [the book] with great care into a big picture that doesn’t resolve or reveal all its secrets until the last … while paying tribute to decades’ worth of SF from the pulps to the Singularity … with a mixture of fondness, perception, and irreverent wit.”
“[This SF dynastic thriller] ably balances a large and varied cast of human and nonhuman characters with a complex plot filled with personal drama, political intrigue, and nonstop action.… Recommended.”
“No one does widescreen space opera quite like Peter F. Hamilton”
—Richard K. Morgan, author of Altered Carbon
“Sweeping in scope and emotional range … carried me with rapt attention to the end.”
—San Antonio Express-News
“[A] genuinely superb novel by any standards … not to be missed.”
BY PETER F. HAMILTON
THE VOID TRILOGY
The Dreaming Void
The Temporal Void
The Evolutionary Void
THE NIGHT’S DAWN TRILOGY
The Reality Dysfunction
The Neutronium Alchemist
The Naked God
THE GREG MANDEL TRILOGY
A Quantum Murder
The Nano Flower
A Second Chance at Eden
The Confederation Handbook
The Mandel Files volume 1 is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A Del Rey Trade Paperback Original
Mindstar Rising copyright © 1993 by Peter F. Hamilton
A Quantum Murder copyright © 1994 by Peter F. Hamilton
“Greg Mandel: A Retrospective View of His Future” copyright
© 2011 by Peter F. Hamilton
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Del Rey, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
DEL REY is a registered trademark and the Del Rey
colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
The novels Mindstar Rising and A Quantum Murder were originally published separately in the United Kingdom by Pan Macmillan, an imprint of The Macmillan Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited, in 1993 and 1994 respectively and in the United States by Tor Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers, New York, in 1996 and 1997 respectively.
Cover design: Dreu Pennington-McNeil
Cover images: © Getty Images (man), © Superstock (spaceship)
A Retrospective View of His Future
One of the things I always find myself saying about science fiction, especially mine, is that it’s not predictive. I’m best known for my space operas, which take place in the far future. The technology I invent for them is advanced and sophisticated, “indistinguishable from magic,” as Arthur C. Clarke was fond of saying. From a personal point of view, far-future SF is quite safe for me to write. If that sounds paradoxical, consider this: I’m (probably) not going to be around in six hundred years’ time for people to grin at and say, “Well, you got that bit wrong.”
However, before I started writing far-future epics there was Greg Mandel. I began writing Mindstar Rising back in 1989, although it didn’t get published until 1993. I set it in forty years’ time, which back then I didn’t really consider as qualifying for the near-future label. It was safe enough. Twenty years on, I’m having conside
Of course, I have the ultimate SF writer’s “get-out” clause: that Greg’s future is an alternate to the one we’re racing toward. The events that shaped Greg’s world are definitely starting to diverge from current global political, economic, and technological events. For a start, our technology is definitely gaining ground on anything Greg had. Back then I was quite pleased to come up with the cybofax gadget for him. After all, this was the eighties, everyone had Filofaxes, an electronic version was a reasonable extrapolation. Throw in a telephone function (mobiles in those days were the size of a paperback), and it would be a very plausible consumer item for someone to be carrying around in 2030. I now own an iPhone, which probably has more functionality than I ever envisaged for the cybofax. That’s due to the get-out clause; Greg’s world suffered a warming and a credit crash earlier and more severe than ours has, and corporate technological development slowed down. His world also had Gracious Services, a kind of hacker training community, while we have Anonymous and all their friends, a much looser collective. There were also airships, which sadly no amount of wishful thinking by enthusiasts will ever resurrect for commercial transport.
So there are similarities, a few overlaps, but no predictions come true. Shame about that, but what I was doing with the Greg books was explore ideas, generalities rather than specifics. On that score I think I’ve done okay. The trilogy remains set in a credible version of society in twenty years’ time. I don’t think I could have asked for more from my first novels.
Mind you, the kind of parallels—alternate history, or over-fanciful speculation, or not pragmatic enough—I’ll be drawing in another introduction in another twenty years’ time really should be quite interesting.
—PETER F. HAMILTON
Other Books by This Author
Greg Mandel: A Retrospective View of His Future
A Quantum Murder
About the Author
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.
He was hanging below a Westland ghost wing, five hundred metres above the Purser’s Hills, due west of Kettering. Spiralling down. Wind strummed the membrane, producing near-subliminal bass harmonics.
Ground zero was a small crofter’s cottage; walls of badly laid raw stone swamped with some olive-green creeper, big scarlet flowers. It had a thatched roof, reeds rotting and congealing, caked in tidemark ripples of blue-green fungal growths. A two-metre-square solar-cell strip had been pinned on top.
Greg landed a hundred metres downslope from the cottage, propeller spinning furiously to kill his forward speed. He stopped inside three metres. The Westland was one of the best military microlights ever built – lightweight, highly manoeuvrable, silent, with a low radar-visibility profile. Greg had flown them on fifteen missions in Turkey, and their reliability had been one hundred per cent. All British Army covert tactical squads had been equipped with them. He’d hate to use anything else. They’d gone out of production when the People’s Socialism Party came to power, twelve years previously. A victim of the demilitarization realignment programme, the Credit Crash, the Warming, nationalization, industrial collapse. This one was fifteen years old, and still functioned like a dream.
A time display flashed in the bottom right corner of the photon amp image, spectral yellow digits: 21:17:08. Greg twisted the Westland’s retraction catch, and the translucent wing folded with a graceful rustle. He anchored it with a skewer harpoon. There’d be no danger of it blowing away now. The hills suffered frequent twister-gusts, and this was March, England’s rainy season: squalls abounded. Gabriel hadn’t cautioned him about the wing in her briefing: but Greg always followed routine, engrained by sergeant majors, and way too much experience.
He studied the terrain, the amp image grey and blue, smoky. There were no surprises; the Earth-resource satellite pictures Royan had pirated for him were three months old, but nothing had changed. The area was isolated, grazing land, marginally viable. Nobody spent money on barns and roads up here. It was perfect for someone who wanted to drop out of sight, a nonentity wasteland.
Greg heard a bell tinkling from the direction of the cottage, high-pitched and faint. He keyed the amp to infrared, and upped the magnification. A big rosy blob resolved into a goat with a broad collar dangling a bell below its neck.
He began to walk towards the cottage. The meteorites had gone, sweeping away to the east. Not proper shooting stars after all, then. Some space station’s waste dump; or an old rocket stage, dragged down from its previously stable discard-orbit by Earth’s hot expanded atmosphere.
‘At twenty-one nineteen GMT the dog will start its run towards you,’ Gabriel had said when she briefed him. ‘You will see it first when it comes around the end of the wall on the left of the cottage.’
Greg looked at the wall; the ablative decay which ruled the rest of the croft had encroached here as well, reducing it to a low moss-covered ridge ringing a small muddy yard.
A yellow blink: 21:19:00.
The dog was a Rottweiler, heavily modified for police riot-assault duty, which was expensive. A crofter with a herd of twenty-five llamas couldn’t afford one, and certainly had no right owning one. Its front teeth had been replaced by mono-lattice silicon fangs, eight centimetres long; the jaw had been reprofiled to a blunt hammerhead to accommodate them; both eyes were implants, retinas beefed up for night sight. One aspect Gabriel hadn’t mentioned was the speed of the bloody thing.
Greg brought his Walther eight-shot up, the sighting laser glaring like a rigid lightning bolt in the photon amp’s image. He got off two fast shots, maser pulses that drilled the Rottweiler’s brain. The steely legs collapsed, sending it tumbling, momentum skidding it across the nettle-clumped grass. In death it snarled at him, jaws open, eyes w
He walked past, uncaring. The Walther’s condensers whined away on the threshold of audibility, recharging.
‘At twenty-one twenty and thirteen seconds GMT, the cottage door will open. Edwards will look both ways before coming out. He will be carrying a pump-action shot-gun – only three cartridges, though.’
Greg flattened himself against the cottage wall, feeling the leathery creeper leaves compress against his back. The scarlet flowers had a scent similar to honeysuckle, strong sugar.
The weather-bleached wooden door creaked.
Greg’s espersense perceived Edwards hovering indecisively on the step, his mind a weak ruby glow, thought currents flowing slowly, concern and suspicion rising.
‘He’ll turn right, away from you.’
Edwards boot squelched in the mud of the yard, two steps. The shot-gun was held out in front, his finger pressed lightly on the trigger.
Greg came away from the wall, flicking the Walther to longburn, lining it up. Edwards was a bulky figure dressed in filthy denim trousers and a laddered chunky-knit sweater; neck craning forwards, peering through the moonlit gloom. He’d aimed the shot-gun at the ramshackle stone shed at the bottom of the yard.
The goat bleated, tugging at its leash.
Edwards was somehow aware of the presence behind him. His back stiffened, mind betraying a hot burst of alarm and fear to Greg’s espersense. He tightened his grip on the shotgun, ready to spin round and blast away wildly.
‘Drop it,’ Greg said softly.
Edwards sighed, his shoulders relaxing. He bent to put the shot-gun down, resting its barrel on a stone, saving it from the mud. A man who knew weapons.
‘OK, you can turn now.’
His face was thin, bearded, hazel eyes yellowed. He looked at Greg, taking in the matt-black combat leathers, slim metallic-silver band bisecting his face, unwavering Walther. Edwards knew he was going to die, but the terrified acceptance was flecked with puzzlement. ‘Why?’ he asked.
The Mandel Files, Volume 1: Mindstar Rising & a Quantum Murder by Peter F. Hamilton / Science Fiction / Mystery & Detective have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes