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Looking for the Mahdi

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Halton was a humanoid fabricant, created to serve as a bodyguard in the Middle East. Fay was as an all-too-human correspondent, assigned to deliver him to a country from which she had barely escaped with her sanity. She didn't know it was a setup...until it was too late. And the only one she could trust -- the only one who hadn't betrayed her -- was the android himself.
Paperback, 337 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Ace (first published February 1st 1996)
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Best Female Character
479th out of 784 books — 455 voters
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Arthur C Clarke Award Winners and Finalists
45th out of 180 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 218)
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Aug 15, 2010 Velvetink rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy, read-2010
up to p.89 - shaping up to something like Silver Metal Lover with William Gibson speed.

Enjoyed the ride ~ this was the author's first book and I felt it sagged in some places under the weight of narrative about the politics of Khuruchabja that some decent editing would have streamlined. Khuruchabja is a fictional place in the near future in the middle east and the author's use of too many references to politics in our recent decade seem forced.

I see that previous readers have taken it to be a s
Aug 04, 2009 Deirdre rated it liked it
Halton is a humanoid fabricant, created as a bodyguard. Kay is an androgynous woman who has reported from the middle east as a man before and she is sent in to try to help Halton get out. Along the way she has to try to survive with her sanity intact. Everyone has an agenda except the android.

It's interesting and the characters are well drawn, it's less SF than feminist commentary on the treatment of women in the middle east. I enjoyed the read but wasn't terribly impressed and I'm not completel
Joey Brockert
Aug 28, 2014 Joey Brockert rated it really liked it
This is a book of hope. A 'mahdi' is a savior, though of Muslim origin. The events take place in a imaginary country somewhere around Western Iran and Northeast Turkey. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, tribal warfare and power squabbles broke out, coming close to anarchy. Too bad this is written fifteen years before the Arab Spring, it would fit right in.
Kay Bee Suliman was a war corespondent during the worst of this battle for leadership of this little, impoverished country. It helpe
Apr 28, 2015 Shopgirl rated it it was amazing
This is a book I loved so dearly when I first read it that I hunted down galleys and international editions of it on the internet, just so I could possess them (yes, I have a German edition, and I don't speak or read German. Yes, I am that geeky about books). At the time, I was really into Asimov and Dick, and I was in love with anything related to robotics or cloning, and this one hit every button I had. Not to mention that in my head, Halton was super hot, and Kay Bee was a person I could real ...more
Apr 10, 2010 Judy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of sci-fi
I read this book at least 10 yrs ago, maybe in the late 1990's. Published in 1996, it's a story with a strong female protagonist, Kay Bee Sulaiman, who is a journalist, a reporter who covers high-profile stories like the war in Khuruchabja (fictitious country), getting the scoop while dodging bullets:

"I'm the brains that writes the words delivered with such perfect accents by the earnest-looking immaculate blonds. I'm the questions that elegant that silver-haired anchormen with the penetrating e
May 06, 2014 "KayFey" rated it it was amazing
An incredible rollercoaster!
"Mahdi" mixes hardcore SF with the complexities of Middle Eastern politics and sociology. Just when I was getting tired of reading SF/F with only 'one type' (fellow readers,you know what I mean), I get a hardcore Middle-Easterner who is also female and an android that seemed stereotypical but ended up to completely endear me to him. "Mahdi" infuses spirituality, science, espionage, danger and actual harm to its characters! A massive treat to one's sense of wonder!
Feb 02, 2016 Becky rated it liked it
2.5. Good writing and a page-turner, but this near-future SF thriller set in the Middle East felt shallow and dated 20 years after its publication. Which is a shame - it's not every science fiction novel that follows a plucky, sarcastic Arab-American foreign correspondent and a military cyborg with a heart of gold.
Marc Goldstein
Feb 04, 2013 Marc Goldstein rated it liked it
Hard science meets middle east politics. Kaybee is a strong female protagonist, though she gets a bit strident at times. A former broadcast journalist, she is recruited by covert operatives to escort a human fabricant into a fictitious middle eastern nation similar to Afghanistan. They are betrayed and the sultan is assassinated. They struggle to uncover the conspiracy and escape from the war-torn nation. Kaybee and the fabricant become lovers. Ends with hope for middle east sovereignty and peac ...more
Popular Soda
Jan 25, 2012 Popular Soda rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites. I read this book near its publication date in the 90s, before September 11th. It's interesting to see how it has retained relevance over time. Half the dictators are dead, our computers surpass the ones in this, but the asides on the philosophy of power and cultural differences, as well as the bitchtastic attitude of the narrator will always make this book worth reading.
Kris Sellgren
Dec 04, 2014 Kris Sellgren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This action-packed near-future novel is fascinating for its in-depth look at Middle East politics and culture. Journalist KB Suleiman is asked to deliver a "fabricant" (manufactured human) to the ruler of a Muslim country whose bloody civil war she covered a decade ago. KB and the fabricant quickly find they are being played and betrayed by all sides, including an AI they unwittingly let loose.
Ruby Hollyberry
Loved the cover, book was so forgettable I read it once and forgot it, then read it again to make sure before I recycled it. Can't remember anything about it. I think there was an explosion in it.
Rather liked this book, way back when. Was reminded that I'd read it after looking at the blurb for "Alif the Unseen".
Aug 23, 2013 Harvey rated it it was ok
Wholly improbable ending.
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aka Lee Wood.

N. Lee Wood is the author of Faraday's Orphans and Looking for Mahdi, both published by Gollancz/Vista in 1996. She sold her first ever novel in Romania and hasn't stopped being published since. She is a frequent visitor to British and European conventions, and travels extensively from her home in Paris. She is married to Norman Spinrad, who shares her enthusiasm for Europe in general
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