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Mindplayers (Gollancz SF collectors' editions) [Paperback]

Pat Cadigan
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

28 Sep 2000 Gollancz SF collectors' editions
Allie Haas only did it for a dare - the kind of dare you know is a mistake but you do it anyway because it¿s Mistake Yime. But putting on the madcap that Jerry Wirerammer has ¿borrowed¿ was a very big mistake. The psychosis itself was quite conventional, a few paranoid delusions, but it didn¿t go away when she took the madcap off. Jerry did the decent thing and left her at an emergency room for dry-cleaning but then the Brain Police took over. Straightened out by a professional mindplayer, Allie thinks she¿s left mind games behind for good but then comes the fazer: she can either go to jail as mind criminal or she can train as a mindplayer herself...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (28 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575071362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575071360
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,350,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Book Description

¿What a terrific book. Mindplayers is a gripping tale, tough and compassionate¿ Michael Swanwick

From the Author

First novel by Pat Cadigan, "Queen of Cyberpunk".
Pat Cadigan's first novel was Mindplayers, published in November 1987 by Bantam Spectra in the United States, and by Gollancz in the United Kingdom.

Mindplayers are tomorrow's psychoanlaysts, linked directly to their patients using sophisticated machinery attached to the optic nerve. In one-to-one Mindplay contact, you can be inside someone else's head, wandering the landscapes of their consciousness. Allie is a sensation-seeking young woman, obtaining illicit thrills from her shady friend Jerry Wirerammer. But Allie goes badly astray when Jerry suplies her with a "madcap" - a device that lets you temporarily and harmlessly experience psychosis. There's something wrong with Jerry's madcap, and the psychosis doesn't go away when it's disconnected. Allie ends up undergoing treatment at a "dry-cleaner", and she is faced with a stark choice - jail, for her illegal use of the madcap; or training to become a Mindplayer herself.

During training Allie becomes familiar with the Pool - a cohesive, though shifting mental landscape jointly constructed by a number of minds; and more disturbingly encounters McFloy, who has been mind-wiped, so that his adult body is inhabited by a mind only two hours old. And as a fully-fledged Mindplayer Allie has to choose between the many specialist options open to her - Reality Affixing or Pathsofinding; Thrillseeking or Dreamfeeding...

Mindplayers is a remarakably accomplished first novel, from an author who had already established a formidable reputation for her short stories. Written in a hard-edged modern style which will appeal to readers of William Gibson, Mindplayers "does a terrific job describing the interior landscapes of the minds we visit ... rich and imaginative"(Locus).

"Excellent stuff, perceptive, imaginative, subtle and penetrating. A pleasure to read, and a writer to admire" Analog

"Cadigan's novel is an energetic, intriguing, darkly humorous head-trip extravaganza" Fantasy Review

Mindplayers is being published by Gollancz in its classic yellow-jacket format, as a "C format" (trade) paperback. It has been unavailable for some years.

Mindplayers was Pat Cadigan's first novel. She went on to write Synners and Fools (both of which won the Arthur C Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year in the UK). She followed these novels with Tea from an Empty Cup (1998), and has a new novel from Macmillan entitled Dervish is Digital, due in October 2000.

Pat Cadigan is also the author of many short stories, some of which have been collected in Patterns, Dirty Work and Home by the Sea.

Pat lives and works in London.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A resonant head-trip 1 April 2006
Format:Paperback
This medium-sized 'sci-fi implosion' novel could give you a bit of a head-ache. But it will be a worthwhile one. It comments on our present, shared reality, through the wary portrayal of a different one. I had read 'Tea from an Empty Cup' and was expecting another wry Cadigan 'glimpse with insights' into a more credible VR future, where young kids and cyberpunks mess around with technology and come up gasping....and where negative aspects of technology (abuse?) are encountered and (if somewhat slightly) dramatised....I was aware of her weaknesses with this other book; that she sacrfices truly involving/unsettling story-telling with a reliance on a cynical observational style which also thins her other characters....Although, this she counters with some great ideas and unexpected surprises (two more vital ingredients for sci-fi?)....plus clever humour, weaned from the exclusive use of such a style.
Well, I was right and wrong with Mindplayers. It is her usual tone; a smartass narrator that enables her to be world-weary towards advanced technology that is threatening our precious ideas about personal identity and humanity, and is full of addictive undertones and dependencies (proper, relevant sci-fiction and 'Cyberpunk'). For 1987, this automatically makes it interesting and ensures it an important, accessible (and more realistic than others) position in the canon....But what was really impressive was the way, in Mindplayers, she actually side-steps technology by using the conceit of hooking up mind to mind, and presenting a new future where this form of telepathy (albeit machine-enabled) is changing things.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading! 15 Mar 2002
By D. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Pat Cadigan's MindPlayers was one of the first "sci-fi" books I read, and I fell in love with it. All the characters have their own unique quirks and personality traits, but my favorite two characters were the twins, Dolby and Dolan. Each time I read Mindplayers, I find something that I missed the last time I read the book. The creative aspects of the characters is the best part of the story. It is noteworthy that almost every character within the book has an altered appearance; no one seems to be as they were at birth. Onionheads are especially interesting, although they get only a mention. Pat Cadigan has had to endure television and movie ripoffs of some of the details within Mindplayers, but this book remains a classic and the first of its kind.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pat Cadigan is Awesome 28 July 2004
By L. Mintah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mindplayers is one of the best books I have ever read, sci-fi or otherwise. Pat Cadigan has a brilliant imagination. She tries her best to keep up with it. Her writing is a bit haphazard, but very good overall. Mindplayers is set in the future, where Mindplay has changed society for better or worse. Differing degrees of Mindplay require professionals to assist those engaging in it. One of these professionals is Deadpan Allie (love that play on words). Allie is a former layabout who has been recruited to become a professional Mindplayer. The strange characters she meets and weird situations she is in mesmerize the reader. There is also a lot of philosophy for the reader to chew on.

Recommended for sci-fi/fantasy fans. No graphic sex or violence. I also recommend Dervish is Digital, another sci-fi treasure by Cadigan.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent, resonant Head-Trip..... 11 Aug 2005
By greenwise design - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This medium-sized 'sci-fi implosion' novel could give you a bit of a head-ache. But it will be a good one; a worthwhile one. It comments on our present, shared reality, through the wary portrayal of a different one. I had read 'Tea from an Empty Cup' and was expecting another wry Cadigan 'glimpse with insights' into a more credible VR future, where young kids and cyberpunks mess around with technology and come up gasping....and where negative aspects of technology (abuse?) are encountered and (if somewhat slightly) dramatised....I was aware of her weaknesses with this other book; that she sacrfices truly involving/unsettling story-telling with a reliance on a cynical observational style which also thins her other characters....Although, this she counters with some great ideas and unexpected surprises (two more vital ingredients for sci-fi?)....plus clever humour, weaned from the exclusive use of such a style.

Well, I was right and wrong with Mindplayers. It is her usual tone; a smartass narrator that enables her to be world-weary towards advanced technology that is threatening our precious ideas about personal identity and humanity, and is full of addictive undertones and dependencies (proper, relevant sci-fiction and 'Cyberpunk'). For 1987, this automatically makes it interesting and ensures it an important, accessible (and more realistic than others) position in the canon....But what was really impressive was the way, in Mindplayers, she actually side-steps technology by using the conceit of hooking up mind to mind, and presenting a new future where this form of telepathy (albeit machine-enabled) is changing things. She is thus free in the book, to focus her attentions on the freedom of being perfectly lucid in other people's mental lives, and showing off her clearly knowledgable understanding of psychology.....Cadigan then achieves this thoroughly, convincingly and entertainingly.... She therefore explores virtual reality but in an intimate and psychological way, with warnings and suggestions about our identities and realities, and the way they are influenced and shaped. Her character is someone who is attempting to directly heal other people's internal lives or psychoses, although carrying the weight of her own, and this produces interesting results with relevance for how actual psychologists attempt this. Her well-honed use of a 'deadpan', emotionless tone becomes highly suited, but can still occasionally do little justice to some of the ideas, that become revelations more to herself as a writer than to us as readers. Much less so however in this work.

Ultimately, we are shown the dangers of influence, of identities altered for survival, of too much dependence on others eroding our own identity...and this is the strength of the book, along with other sci-fi assets, such as good background features and settings such as the Park and the concept of 'reality affixing', and such as mindplaying with a dead mind. This latter case is one of the more scary warnings of the imagined technology allowing for such a strong level of intrusion.

Revelations come through experiences, and those shown to us in this book, and in the rather quick crescendo at the end, which leaves us strongly reminded about the difference between reality and our 'state of existence'. The book resonates as its own mental experience, and is highly stimulating and great for meditation, for assisting us in imagining the reality - or future - it portrays. And it's a very possible future, although perhaps more indirectly.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, but worthwhile 2 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am not sure what to think of this book, but it was quite impressive. There are a lot of innovative ideas here as well as a (at least) reasonable story line. For my money a lot better than "Tea from an empty cup". Well deserves to be reprinted.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Great Works Of Cyberpunk Science Fiction 5 Nov 2001
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Pat Cadigan made her mark in the 1980's as one of the finest writers of science fiction with her legendary short fiction and excellent novels such as "Mindplayers". Long out of print, this slender tome is one of the finest works of cyberpunk fiction; happily it is now back in print. Cadigan writes edgy, streetwise prose as carefully crafted as any by William Gibson; however, she does a better job in creating vivid, fascinating characters such as Deadpan Allie, the protagonist of "Mindplayers". Without a doubt, this could be a great psychological science fiction thriller akin to "Dark City" if anyone in Hollywood was clever enough to acquire the film rights to Cadigan's superb first novel.
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