Ordinarily cover copy is such a predictable element of a novel as to be rendered mundane. Engaging this, superb that, powerhouse here, magnum opus there, best yet, never before seen—a superlative salad. Not so with the Gollancz SF Collector’s edition of Mindplayers (1987). “Has a bite like a silk piranha,” is the one line by Bruce Sterling selected to characterize the novel. Effectively capturing Cadigan’s unique combination of stylistic rhythm and tone with an acute integration of mind technology and human inclination, it’s an accomplished debut novel that launched of the career of one of sf’s top writers.
Almost a plotless novel (more a developing scene), Mindplayers is one of those stories that so delicately picks loose the strings of its premise as to keep the pages steadily turning to see what it will become next. Dynamic in setting and possibility, Cadigan sustains the narrative through a variety of mind-bending technologies in emotional, mental, and physical contexts. The core concept never allowed too far out of sight, however, human interest remains the lightning rod grounding the novel in reality.