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3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  78 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
MINDSCAPE takes us to a future in which the world itself has been literally divided by the Barrier, a phenomenon that will not be ignored. For 115 years this extraterrestrial, epidimensional entity has divided the earth into warring zones. Although a treaty to end the interzonal wars has been hammered out, power-hungry politicians, gangsters, and spiritual fundamentalists ...more
Paperback, 445 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Aqueduct Press
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Kindred by Octavia E. ButlerBeloved by Toni MorrisonParable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerThe Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. JemisinWild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
Speculative Fiction by Authors of Color
141st out of 383 books — 199 voters
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47th out of 68 books — 33 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 806)
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Multi-dimensional barriers slam down on Earth, splitting the planet into discrete, nigh-impenetrable cages. Nations, geography, and civilizations as we know it crumble, replaced by gang-run city-states. But out of this chaos and violence also come chimeric healers known as Vermittler, who have the ability to create safe passages through the Barrier. One healer, Celestina, uses these passages and crafts a Treaty between different realms--but on the very day the Treaty is signed, she is assassinat ...more
M. Fenn
Nov 26, 2013 M. Fenn rated it it was amazing
In my last WOGF reading challenge review, I remarked on how one of the main points of Native Tongue gets bogged down amidst all the other plot threads Suzette Haden Elgin tries to bring together. That point being the attempt of a group of women Linguists to create their own language, a necessary thing given their oppression. Andrea Hairston brings up a similar point in her 2006 debut novel Mindscape and does so in one sharply written paragraph–one amongst many.

All the thugs is laughin’ at me, bu
Parallel Worlds
Oct 13, 2013 Parallel Worlds rated it it was ok
Intended Audience: Adult
Sexual content: Explicit
Ace/Genderqueer characters: Yes
Rating: R for language, violence, and sex
Writing style: 1/5
Likable characters: 3/5
Plot/Concepts: 3/5

When the Barrier came—a cosmic and organic life-form, restricting travel between arbitrary zones on Earth—the world changed forever. A hundred years later, Celestina dies to bring an end to the wars between the zones, and five years after that, the treaty is still not being lived as it should be. Instead, many of the zo
Aug 06, 2007 Shannongibney rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the possibilities of speculative fiction
This was an incredibly dense and fascinating exploration of (among other things) African diasporic spiritual and aesthetic traditions, technology and its limitations and possibilities, seeing various communities as "character," alternative sexualities and kinship systems, multiple languages, multiple spiritual systems, the effects and results of cultural collison, and much, much more.

All of this makes _Mindscape_ a wild, engaging, and illuminating ride, but also, at times, quite a disorienting
Samantha (AK)
Jun 02, 2016 Samantha (AK) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Patient People, People who Like Puzzles
Wow. So, words seem inadequate, but I'll give this my best shot.

No lie, the first 100 pages aren't easy. Andrea Hairston puts you right in the middle of things with no inclination to explain, and it is weird. But, if you can make it through that bit, the pieces start to come together. It's confusing, yes, but not to no end. The author delivers on her promises.

It's a wild ride. Ms. Hairston rotates you through the limited perspective of each character--and what characters they are! From Lawanda,
I enjoyed Lawanda's voice. In this crazy world where nothing is as it seems, Lawanda is the voice of truth. She's you and me floundering in a sea of politics not knowing who to trust. She wants to change the world but feels like a puppet. Eleni has her own demons to fight. Should she lead and carry on a dead woman's legacy or wander the Barrier aimlessly?

There are so many characters in this book and the storyline is not linear. And time is fluid. I personally felt that it is the story of workin
Dennis Fischman
I didn't finish this book. Only one character, Lawanda, made any difference to me, and that just wasn't enough to make me work my way through it. I stopped around page 120.
Conor Murphy
May 02, 2016 Conor Murphy rated it really liked it
It was really hard to figure out whether I wanted to give this book 4 stars or 5 stars... Making me wish more than ever that there was a 4.5 stars.

On the one hand I think the writing in this book is without a doubt 5 star material. The characters and characterizations likewise are also 5 star; each are fleshed out and fully realized and interesting.


The plot itself is probably a 3 star plot, which mostly seems to consist of one character trying to pull a Deux Ex Machina out of
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Andrea Hairston's Mindscape is an intriguing first novel. Her future earth has been divided into feuding zones by the alien-imposed Barrier shades of Greg Egan's Quarantine or Robert Charles Wilson's Spin, but with the planet itself being geographically fragmented rather than merely isolated from the rest of the universe. The Barrier itself can be crossed, but only by people with the correct training, which of co ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it
This book is confusing, and rather unforgiving, but interesting. I will likely have to read it again; Sort of like a Gene Wolfe book, it doesn't bother explaining what is going on most of the time, leaving it up to you to figure it out. Unlike Wolfe, however, eventually Hairston gives you a relatively cogent explanation. It still has gaps for you to fill in, though.
Sep 27, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I have read and enjoyed a lot of science fiction, and I have never ever before read a scifi novel whose underlying rhythyms and music feel right to me. I didn't even know what I was missing, the edge of discomfort I feel reading all the other scifi, until I read this book.

I don't know how to describe what I find so ... right about the underlying landscape of this book. It's beautiful and I don't know why.

Not a very good review, huh? It makes sense to me at least.
Deborah Pommer
Aug 16, 2014 Deborah Pommer rated it really liked it
I was a bit confused when I started reading this book but once I got past the first few chapters I was hooked on it. I enjoyed all the characters, especially Lawanda Kitt. Lawanda was indeed "..the voice of truth.." as expressed in another review.

One of the themes of the story is about "Griots", which I learned was defined as any of a class of musician-entertainers of western Africa whose performances include tribal histories and genealogies.
Dec 01, 2011 Anastasia rated it did not like it
Tried reading it again. Very, very hard to read. The prose does the opposite of flowing. It's not wordy, so I wouldn't call it dense, pretty much unreadable to me. It's hard to care about what's going on, and impossible to lose yourself in this book. One major POV is written in an accent. At 120 pages, I decided I gave it a fair shot and stopped.
Elizabeth Hunter
Jun 02, 2010 Elizabeth Hunter rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
The shifting narration, spacetime shenanigans, dialect and language variations, and vast cast of characters made it hard to get traction and figure out what story was being told. The tale that emerged from this chaos is satisfying, but a sense of reaching for greater meaning was unfulfilled.
Jan 04, 2015 Cherylin rated it liked it
Apparently I never marked this book completed on Goodreads? The novel had fascinating ideas, but the execution was sadly not consistent enough for them to be enjoyed to their fullest.
Feb 13, 2009 Aubrey marked it as to-read
Recommended to Aubrey by:
Mindscape by Andrea Hairston – Like many space opera tales, this novel explores politics but with a particular focus on race. It was nominated for a Philip K. Dick award.
Mar 29, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
This was really good. I, like everyone else, really had no clue what was going on for the first bit, but I still loved it. It was trippy.
Jul 24, 2011 Lesley added it
I'm having difficulty getting into this, which is probably me rather than the book, so I'm putting it aside for a while
Jun 14, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The story is very rich and complex, and there are a lot of interesting ideas woven in.
Jun 15, 2009 Pandemonium rated it it was amazing
This book is a mind-bender. Innovative and unusual. You will not leave the same as you entered.
Apr 01, 2010 Tina rated it did not like it
Shelves: tried-to-read
I attempted to read this twice, and both times lost interest early on.
Liz Argall
Jan 03, 2013 Liz Argall rated it really liked it
Great characters, fascinating world, gorgeous language.
Jun 22, 2011 Nivair rated it it was amazing
Andrea Hairston blows my mind and I love it.
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Jul 14, 2016
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Andrea Hairston is an African-American science fiction and fantasy playwright and novelist who is best known for her novels Mindscape and Redwood and Wildfire. Mindscape, Hairston's first novel, won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award and short-listed for the Philip K. Dick Award and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

She is the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre and has created original productions wit
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“Recommend: Live well, live poetry, live science.” 1 likes
“You see what you think you see. You find what you look for. If you can’t imagine it, it won’t happen for you.” 1 likes
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