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The Cassandra Complex (Future History) Mass Market Paperback – 31 May 2002

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; New edition edition (31 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765342898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765342898
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.6 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,914,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Brian Stableford is one of the most inventive and original writers working today." --"The Times, " London "Brian Stableford has triumphantly created his own niche of hard biological SF, containing the genre's most intelligently imagined marvels and nightmares." --David Langford

About the Author

Brian Stableford lives in Reading, England.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When Lisa first heard the noise, she wasn't sure whether it was real or not. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Crook on 19 July 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Part typical Stableford territory of thoughtful speculative near future SF and part straight detective story. Set in a world that's close enough to ours to be reconisable, well thought out enough to be plausible, and nasty enough to not be a world that most of us would want to live in if we had any say in the matter.

If you're expecting BIG ideas, or high action, you'll be disappointed, but the book delivers with the quality of the writing, characterisation and plot that is familiar to anyone whos read much Stableford.

If you read the books in the order described in the summary above, this one seems to be out of sequence and timewise it should really be the first of the series. It fills some interesting back story in the Emortality ideas and deals with characters who receive passing (but important) mentions in the other books.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Dec. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Given a choice between watching a wall and reading this intellectually under-nourished, lazy, characterless book, then I would hope for an interesting wall. This is writing so bad the brain glances off the attention repelling surface of its prose: I managed to read the first 58 pages (which could have been summarized in a single paragraph without loss) but no more. Please, no - NOOOO!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining if not memorable 27 Nov. 2001
By Bill Mac - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Stableford has set The Cassandra Complex about 40 years in the future with the seeds of the action sown in our time. The novel is a prequel to earlier work but stands solidly on its own.
The Cassandra Complex is really more of a techno-thriller than science fiction novel. The action is more in line with a police thriller than most hard SF. However, there is enough SF to satisfy fans of the genre. Stableford tends to fall in the trap when setting mysteries in SF that the investigator knows information about the times that the reader doesn't. If one likes to solve the mystery based on the clues then the information isn't in The Cassandra Complex to do so.
All in all it was a fast-paced enjoyable read, I read it some time ago, but it hasn't stuck with me. It isn't new or original but it is well constructed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Memorable and frightening vision 24 Jan. 2002
By D. P. Strunk - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The time is 40 years in the future -- maybe not our lives, but certainly a reality that could be our children's. A novel of frightening and important ideas and issues: extreme overpopulation, megacorps, and hyperflu wars. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. Who will determine how the scales tilt? The characters are not sharply defined, but the novel is more about the vision than about the people.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Good future vision, too preachy 19 April 2001
By booksforabuck - Published on
Format: Hardcover
THE CASSANDRA EFFECT is set in a near future (mid-twentyfirst century) England. Overpopulation has become a major problem, huge corporations rule as the cabel, and plague wars have replaced the bomb as the great fear. Author Brian Stableford draws out logical consequences from today's biological sciences with discussions of disease, cloning, and population spikes.
Unfortunately, Stableford describes this potentially fascinating world through long blocks of descriptive dialogue, internal dialogue, and description. Rather than have information flow from the story, it is presented to the reader in huge slabs which must be choked down if one is to continue with the story.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I find the premise interesting, the plot was certainly fine, and the one significant character, Lisa, a police officer and biologist, was likable and well motivated.
I found the dense writing to be a fairly stiff price to pay for an intriguing concept.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful British Police drama with an SF twist. 13 Mar. 2001
By Ernest Lilley - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Lisa Friemann, a 62 year old forensic investigator for the city of Bristol, England, awakens to burglars picking her unhackable locks and ransacking her apartment. On the way out they pause to paint "Traitor" on the wall, demand that she turn over whatever it is they were looking for taunt her that her longstanding lover's promises were empty words.
All of which confuses her more than a bit, because she can't imagine who she's supposed to have betrayed or what she was supposed to be hiding. Besides, Dr. Morgan Miller, a brilliant if chronically independent biologist and gifted lover had never promised her wasn't his style.
Lisa's not the only one touched by the events of the night. Mouseworld, a teeming research habitat of 500 thousand mice that had been in existence for seventy years to study the effects of crowding on behavior is gutted by arson, with no explanation, and Morgan Miller himself is abducted, his kidnappers escaping through a citywide blackout caused by a computer hack.
Clearly someone thinks Miller has a secret worth killing for, at least mice, and possible men as well, and quite likely they think Lisa is in on it. Lisa, on the other hand, suspects that it's all a mistake, because she most definitely wasn't let in on any big discovery.
With little sleep for the remainder of the book, Lisa, the Bristol Police, The MOD (Ministry of Defense), various mercenaries and a dazed researcher who suspects it's all his fault careen over the English countryside looking for clues, getting into scrapes and reflecting on what the world is coming to in the middle of the twenty first century.
Could Miller have been hiding something monumental, like the secret of immortality (though he prefers "emortalilty" as a term) and if so, whom was he intending to trust with it, a foundation started by Nazis or one started by a Jew? And where do the third wave of feminists fit into all this anyway?
The Cassandra Complex combines the thoughtful puzzle solving of English mysteries with excellent Science Fiction and a lot of illuminating social commentary and analysis. My only regret it that Brian Stableford, who's' future history has been getting better and better with each book, failed to resolve all the book's mysteries in a confrontation in a sitting room.
The book takes its name from a stress related syndrome, where a person knows, or thinks they know, of an impending disaster and is helpless to stop it. You can pick your flavor of disaster, and indeed sorting among the many offered in this book is much of its point. Overpopulation, viral warfare, global corporate control, discrimination against "twentieth century leftovers:...they all take their turns and play their parts in Brian Stableford's latest book in the future-history series he began with Inherit the Earth. As are many of his stories, this one is based on a short story that was published in Interzone 29 in 1989, and reprinted by Gardner Dozois in the Year's Best Science Fiction.
If Science Fiction is a device to provide metaphors for discussing contemporary issues, the Mouseworld provides a metaphoric stage to discuss the issues of the novel.
Every step of the chase is discussed at some point in terms of the behavior of the overcrowded mice, from the meekness of "citizen mice" who go along with whatever demands are made on them to the notion that all cultures are ruled from without, but "Secret Masters", for the mice, researchers, for us, governments and cabals.
Stableford's notions of the future and his analysis of it's seeds in our past and present continue to grow richer and more illuminating.
Although he doesn't tend to recycle his characters from book to book, Lisa, a Forensic Detective of the near future has all the qualities a serial heroine needs. I'd be more than happy to read further stories with her in the lead, and the BBC should note that this book would adapt itself to the tube with a minimum of fuss.
Fascinating vision of our possible near future via Transgenic Mice 31 July 2012
By Neil G. Matthews - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Cassandra Complex is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual's accurate prediction of a crisis is ignored or dismissed, so this book is well titled, dealing as it does with the world's blithe ignorance of the forecast impact of human overpopulation based on studies of Mouseworld, a specially built world for half a million transgenic mice. (Transgenic mice have been successfully used for a few decades as a human pathology model. The highly condensed lifespan and relatively low support costs of maintaining laboratory mice populations with human genes provide huge advantages to other in vivo study methods and enable rapid assessment of disease progression and drug trials prior to any human trials. Nearly all the key characters have had a close involvement with Mouseworld.)

I found the author's insights into the future biological developments considerably more interesting than the story, for which it is an essential foundation. He has obviously used his background degree in biology and doctorate in sociology to excellent effect in writing this rather disturbing novel of our near future. Anyone that likes British crime stories will be on familiar ground with the storyline, but I'd only give this a very generous 3 stars whereas I'd give the hard science behind the story 5 stars.

While I correctly guessed fairly early on the why of the "who done it", the climactic reason why the kidnapped Miller never released his serendipitous discovery is a real gem and worth the wait.

It is good to see a cover that fairly accurately reflects the novel contents too... It captures the essence of the book very well.
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