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Acts of the Apostles

(Mind Over Matter)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  33 reviews
As American-led forces assemble in Saudi Arabia for the largest military operation since Normandy, computer designer Todd Griffith discovers a secret function burried within the Kali chip. That night he is shot. Five years later, burnt-out Silicon Valley software engineer Nick Aubrey boards a "red-eye" flight to Boston and winds up seated next to a very disturbed man who c ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published November 17th 1999 by Rosalita Associates
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  142 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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John Sundman
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)
Writing a novel is hard work.
The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

(Note: Acts of the Apostles is part of a three book “set” which includes Cheap Complex Devices and The Pains. It isn’t quite right to use the word “series” or “trilogy”, since the relationship between the books is more mathematical/logical in nature. This review covers the first book only. When I’ve completed my reading of the “set”, I’ll post a link here to my review of the books as a group.)

Acts of the Apostles takes the reader i
Jeffrey Zeldman
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Am currently rereading John Sundman's bravura first novel, more than ten years after reading it the first time. On the surface, it is a compulsively page-turning, highly assured thriller, scarier and more propulsive than most. A software developer whose marriage and career are in the toilet must clear himself of a crime he didn't commit. To clear himself, he must penetrate and expose a deadly global conspiracy - all the while staying barely a step ahead of the police, the people who are expertly ...more
Scribble Orca
Nov 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of techno/bio/cyber thrillers
Recommended to Scribble by: John Sundman
This is a long novel, with plenty of twists and turns. The intricate nature of the plot and some of the subject material of this book resemble The Bourne Identity, Tom Clancy's works or Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy. So if you're a fan of corporate and international espionage, techno-bio thrillers with a sci-fi feel, apocalypse, races-against-the-clock, quirky-but-fun characters, this is for you.

The plot kept me reading - where was it going, how was it going to be resolved. Some of the chara
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi-i-enjoyed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who likes cyberpunk
John is a friend, so this review is biased.

That being said, his writing here...the idea, the story, the characters...are right on. If you have been involved in technology, and especially if you were involved in technology in the early 90s and know DEC, you'll recognize the setting and scenes. This was a technology still capable of discovery, no web 2.0 market strategy saturation, no glass-eyed cynicism.

John makes cyberpunk approachable for the average geek. He brings his own experiences in the
Eric Hellman
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
After reviewing John Sundman's Biodigital, I promised to report back after reading Acts of the Apostles which shares about 60% of its text.

It's very unusual for a lay reader to have access to two versions of a book in this way. Biodigital is partly the result of the sort of editorial work that goes on behind the scenes of publishing, and to read Acts is to become aware of sausage making that is usually invisible.

The bottom line is that Biodigital is a much better book. You won't miss anything if
Timothy Ward
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Acts of the Apostles stands out as an inside look into the possibilities of combining advanced computer programming, conspiracy theories and the future of nanotechnology. Mr. Sundman coaxes the story with characters you really care about, even though they make some pretty bad decisions. At one point I had to put the book down I was so mad at them. While that may sound bad for the book, it really is a testament to how engaged I was with their lives. The main character is a computer programmer str ...more
Sassa Mifrass
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sassa by: Scribble Orca
I thoroughly enjoyed this, and anyone who enjoys thrillers/crime stories with a tech edge will find it worth the read. This will also sate your nanopunk and biopunk cravings nicely. There are some very enjoyable characters, although it is the mystery, the why and how, that kept me hooked. This is definitely a book worth adding to your cyberpunk collection, particularly if you enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age.

The pacing is quite good, and there are a few pay-offs for people who Pay Attentio
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About Acts of the Apostles by John F.X. Sundman: Be nice to yourself. Read this book. I would send a copy of this book to every sentient individual I know if I could.

Is it a techno-thriller? Yes. Or is it science fiction (with solid Science in every nanothought)? Yes. Is it a page-turning, midnight-oil-burning, international-conspiracy mystery? Yes. Or is it a brilliant satire that will terrify you with the recognition of how annihilatingly destructive our own inventiveness may prove to be? Yes.
Chuck Leduc
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Two of my top ten books of the turn of the century are Cheap Complex Devices and Acts of the Apostles by John Sundman. These are two of the richest and most complex pieces of fiction produced in a contemporary, technically proficient vein. He has written only three books, but he has a mastery of literary structure that takes you by surprise. They mangled my mind.

I suggest starting with Acts of the Apostles. This is presented as a very straightforward Neal Stephenson or Crichton thriller, like Sn
Kıvılcım Hindistan
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a top quality science fiction novel, which should be mentioned between Neuromancer and Snowcrash.

I read this after reading Martian breathlessly(in two days) and... I finished ActsOfApostles in one day :)

Solid characters with solid problems/doubts made this book a lot more believable(and scarry).

I'm not so much into biology or nano machines, but the concept and the depth of things happening in this book was so interesting that it never bore me. On the contrary I liked those parts
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is certainly not "my kind of book." It's a classic SciFi thriller. But it was hard to put down. And interesting that I'm writing this the morning of an announcement that scientists have made a modification to mosquitoes that makes it impossible for them to transmit Malaria. This modification will propagate through all Anopheles mosquitoes. So, the world of the Acts of the Apostles has come to pass.

I won't say that Sundman knows his computers, because every review says that. (Though he does
Joe Benson
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Acts of the Apostles is a fast-paced, intelligent, suspenseful, frightening novel that explores deeply the high stakes of ethics in science. Bouncing from Boston to Basel to Silicon Valley, the action brings together a diverse slate of characters who wield their tortured brilliance through a web of conspiracy, unimaginable wealth, megalomania, and blurred lines between biology and technology. Their various diatribes on the ethics and philosophy of science and technology somehow brings to mind At ...more
Douglas Ridgway
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Acts of the Apostles will be remembered as the first great thriller of the era of synthetic biology. Written during the height of the 90's Silicon Valley boom, Acts blends together different arenas of new technology, both silicon and carbon-based, with high finance, humor, and the usual thriller quotas of violence, mystery, and sex. The technological ideas are detailed, wide-ranging, and largely plausible; by themselves they'd be worth the price of admission. And yet there's a good novel attache ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A smart book with lots of hidden jokes and references if you're a geek... it does show its age a bit, and some of the renamed references are pretty thinly veiled (espresso / Java), but all in all I had a lot of fun reading it.

What it reminded me of was reading William Gibson's books again, or reading Cryptonomicon: you think "I've seen this before" and then it dawns on you that this book was written way before any of the contents was common-place. Viewed in that context I have to applaud Sundman
Andy Oram
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
There is plenty in this book for many types of readers: a thriller, a sci-fi fantasy, a mind-jerking philosophical challenge, a peek at the gene-splicing future. (I should admit I'm a colleague of the author.) I found a lot of standard elements in the book, but always tweaked and twisted enough to throw me off-balance and keep me wondering what would happen next. You can't take anything for granted while reading it.
J.E. Jr.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hardcore computer users
Shelves: fiction
A good, fun read. After a somewhat complicated start, this one will draw you in and keep you interested.

I read it as an ebook; I'm not sure if it is available in print. It reads well as etext, which seems a bit fitting given the subject (though it feels a little dated, set in the mid-90s). There were a few annoying artifacts which I am pretty sure are the fruit of using Smashwords, not poor editing. But overall, it was well laid-out and flowed well in iBooks.
Andy Strain
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cyber
This is the first book in the Mind Over Matter series (a 3 book series). An amazing read it is! Kind of a cross between William Gibson's Neuromancer and George Orwell's 1984. The plot is solid and the characters are interesting as well. For me, it was a major page turner. Very highly recommended!
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Well written cyber that gets technology & computers (as well as wall street) right. I find myself re-reading it for the sheer entertainment value... ...more
Matt Comstock
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read like Gibson, Stephenson, Crichton, Lincoln&Child, Richard K. Morgan...A great book. Gotta find more by this guy. ...more
I'm going to hold off reviewing the individual work until I've read the trilogy.
Diane McKenna
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A futuristic thriller, very exciting and intelligent. Inspired by the latest scientific and technological advancements, Acts of the Apostles is engaging and thought provoking. I enjoyed it very much and would recommend to all.
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2001
Todd Griffith is a hardware guy developing the Kali chip which is severely off schedule. Arrogant or not, Todd's never been late before and he blames it on his new junior partner, Pavel the Weirdo. Rather than working around his design flaws like Casey, his previous partner, Pavel follows the specs precisely and thereby placing the burden on Todd to troubleshoot and fix. On this particular evening, Todd is going after the most elusive bug and when he triumphantly figures it out he realizes that ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Read this science fiction novel already 15 years ago and somehow had it better in memory than it turned out this time.
This is a thriller about the convergence of digital hardware , bio-engineering and nano-machines. Deep conspiracies play the main characters like toys and somehow AIDS and gulf war syndrome all get explained in this context too.
What is truly surprising is that in 1999, when this written, the author foresaw the total use of the internet for privacy invasion and spying already. Th
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it
This book just tried too hard, combining a potentially-interesting tech-hip plot with conspiracy theory, gratuitous sex and philosophy, and all sorts of bizarre sub-plots that read like a collection of ideas from a writing journal.
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
surprisingly good "what if Bill Gates was evil" novel.
Jeff Karpinski
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Decent tech thriller. Drags a bit in the middle.
Martin Frost
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
some very interesting ideas
Philip Robar
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
If you were a Sun Microsystems employee you'll especially enjoy this book. There are numerous insider references to early Sun history—John was an early, mostly east coast, Sun employee.
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