- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (11 Oct. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330375679
- ISBN-13: 978-0330375672
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.9 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,748,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mappa Mundi Paperback – 11 Oct 2002
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Paced like a cheetah and clever as anything, Justina Robson's second novel Mappa Mundi offers us a particularly scary take on the possibilities of technology, on what it is to be, and to remain. Half-Cheyenne FBI man Jude tracks down criminal masterminds who play with genetic perfection; his supposed partner Mary is there to stop him getting too close to those illegal experiments the US government wants to succeed. Disturbed psychologist Natalie is caught up with attempts to re-engineer sanity in human brains, horridly aware of the possibility that this new technology might be misused and anxious about her feckless drug-using flatmate and best friend.
This is a book that endlessly spins off intelligent ideas and keeps its momentum without ever bogging down in dumps of crude information. Justina Robson has a solid sense of where her characters come from, both geographically and emotionally, and even her villainess Mary is credibly motivated in every last shabby thing she does. Mappa Mundi asks some terrifying questions about technology--there are some things that cannot be uninvented, and, invented, are going to be used for good or ill. Justina Robson's first novel Silver Screen demonstrated her skill and intelligence; Mappa Mundi reveals her entire emotional and intellectual maturity. --Roz Kaveney
- Mappa Mundi is joint winner of the Amazon.co.uk Writers' Bursaries 2000
An novel of hard SF exploring the nature of identity both inherited and engineered, from one of Britain's most acclaimed new talents.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
You do get to know Natalie, Jude, Mary and Dan well, all complex, flawed, and very human. Even the secondary characters like Natalie's father and White Horse; Jude's sister are well crafted.
Another aspect I enjoyed about this book was the writing; not too techno heavy, but the writer conveyed the concept of Selfware brilliantly & frighteningly indeed. Although the book is science fiction, the first part of the book it could happily work as just a thriller. There is a level of paranoia that runs nicely through out this book. This mutates into something darker and combined the clever speculative fiction leaves the reader with some profound and disturbing thoughts at the end.
A great read & I look forward to reading her next book.
All this is to say that the author chose a huge, complex subject which in the end she was unable to do full justice to: a lot of things are left unresolved, or are not resolved satisfactorily, in spite of the book's length. However, I was much more impressed by this book than some of her more recent novels, which are much lighter in tone and seem to have given up on interesting characters - rare and precious in SF - entirely.
I also found that none of the characters within the novel really appealed to me. I know that some of this was due to the characterisation being weak and inconsistent at times, especially in regards to the supporting characters. However, even the characters that were well rounded and consistent couldn't keep me interested in their predicament. I will say however that the characters were more realistic than some basic good and bad characters, with none of them being completely admirable or despicable in their actions.
Overall, I have to say that this was not a book I enjoyed hugely. The parts of the book that should have had me on the edge of my seat just didn't work due to both the overall slow pace of the novel and the characterisation. I suspect some people will really like this book, especially those who would enjoy a deep philosophical dive into psychology, personal freedoms, etc. in the near future but it just wasn't for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have had this kicking around for years, and have finally got around to reading it, and wish I had earlier. Read morePublished on 16 April 2013 by Half Man, Half Book
I read this reluctantly - the choice for a reading group I belong to. I love science fiction but am usually bored by cyberpunk so thought I'd hate this. Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2012 by Dr Liz
Various powers struggle to control a new kind of software that works on the human mind. In the thick of it are two people: Nastasha Armstrong--who has written some of this... Read morePublished on 16 July 2004
The story takes an emotional tour through two characters lives and then,snaps away at a tangent, with an ending that left this reader feelingblurred. Read morePublished on 27 April 2004
It annoys me when foreigners writing about the US can't get their details right. A quick reading by an American could have picked up on the Anglicisms that slipped into this novel. Read morePublished on 29 Jan. 2003
It annoys me when foreigners writing about the US can't get their details right. A quick reading by an American could have picked up on the Anglicisms that slipped into this novel. Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2003
The story takes an emotional tour through two characters lives and then, snaps away at a tangent, with an ending that left this reader feeling blurred. Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2002
Mappa Mundi is a fascinating read. The characters' lives are rich and tangled. Their relationships with one another sometimes frightening, sometimes heartrending. Read morePublished on 14 Dec. 2001