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Acts of the Apostles (Mind Over Matter Series) Paperback – November 17, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more

Editorial Reviews


An ontological thriller-sensuously technical, technically sensuous, Acts of the Apostles lyrically, hypnotically pretends to be an investigation of Gulf War Syndrome, but its real subject is Kaczynski's Postulate: that technology and freedom cannot be reconciled. God, two-pass compilers, SCUD warheads and the convergence of biological and digital technology are grist for Sundman's mill, and what a mechanical marvel his mill is. -- Betcham Review Services, 10/99

About the Author

John Sundman, recipient of the STC Award of Distinguished Technical Communication and Brazil's Rei do Lixo medal, has been a truck driver, chair of Sun Microsytem's Software Development Architecture Team, and construction laborer on an internet billionaire's high-tech island Xanadu. He states for the record that this book was written by him, not an Artificial Intelligence construct. Nor was it purloined from the back seat of an illegally parked car. There is no truth to the rumor that he is a retired New York City Police detective.

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Product Details

  • Series: Mind Over Matter Series
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Rosalita Associates; 1st edition (November 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 192975213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929752133
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,526,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John (F.X, Compton, Damien) Sundman grew up on a small farm in New Jersey, attended Xavier (Jesuit, military) High School on 16th Street Manhattan, got a degree in anthropology from Hamilton College, did a two year rural development stint in Peace Corps, then: Purdue grad school agricultural economics, 25 years or so high tech hardware software Boston area & Silicon Valley, drop out Martha's Vineyard, truck driver, warehouseman, construction worker, working class hero, poverty & embarrassment. Wrote technoparanoid novel, metafictiony geekoid novella, dystopian illustrated phantasmagoria; back in and out of high tech; firefighter; husband, father of 3, essayist for Salon.com; food pantry worker.

My website is http://www.wetmachine.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
If you read this book you will at times be hard pressed to find the line between the science and the science fiction.

I actually got scared reading this book and had to put it down for a while before I could return to it and keep reading. There was enough reality mixed with enough convincing story telling to cause me to doubt that this couldn't be real. This is a technothriller and as a reader I was given an experience well beyond the value of the book.

This is a novel that rewards you for knowing what tech culture was like in the 90's, and if you don't know you'll get a glimpse of what it was like before it became geek chic and popular. There are big name corporations that can be recognized by their description and campus locations, though the names have been changed. Most or all of the location settings are real, written with enough detail and accuracy to follow along if you are familiar with the areas.

The characters are developed with care and depth, not tropes. You'll grow attached to them as you follow them along their separate story lines and reach out for them to be careful when the tension builds up and the action sweeps in. You may find yourself caring for them, and even crying for them, as there is humanity written in to them. I feel like I have worked with some of these people before, they are "real" to the point of making me wonder if I actually have worked with source material for these characters.

After I finished reading Acts I find I'm still asking myself if I thought it was a happy ending or not, and that is the most startling and disturbing thing I can think of as a reader. And I want to make it clear: I see this is a powerful experience!
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By A Customer on November 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book a great deal. To me, the story flowed much better than recent efforts by some of my other favorite technothriller authors. If this is really the author's first effort, the book certainly doesn't read like it.
I enjoyed the character development the most. The protagonist is a wonderfully fallible Everyman. Some of the other characters are recognizably based on real players in the computer industry. Some of those players will probably recognize themselves, and more than a few oversensitive Silicon Valley noses may be left a bit out of joint. The primary bad guy is a brutal pastiche of the least pleasant traits of the CEOs of several major Silicon Valley heavy-hitter firms, with an extra dollop of attitude, and a couple tabs of the brown acid left over from Woodstock folded in just for spice!
Bottom line: I liked it, and I finished it in two sittings. It feels like what might have resulted if Tom Clancy had decided to write "Soul of a New Machine", but base it in a somewhat maleveolent parallel universe. You don't have to have worked in the high-tech industry or be a conspiracy theory addict to get into this one.
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Format: Paperback
Acts of the Apostles is the fin de siecle techno-thriller novel. It is an incredible read. In it a nightmare of nanotechnology and genetic manipulation of uncomfortable believability unfolds before us, the equal if not better of any work by any seasoned big name writer in this genre. As a first novel, its craftsmanship is quite beyond accounting. Author John F. X. Sundman has written a magnificent work of literature, and has simultaneously made a bold ethical statement about the inexorable but blind quest of science, the technological hubris that feeds off of it, and freedom of the individual mind that is threatened by it.
On the technical side, it is every bit as software and hardware aware as Soul of a New Machine, as fascinating as any computer techno-thriller written by anyone to date, but with a literary punch and authority that out shines most mystery or legal genres and much that passes for literary mainstream. Sundman cannot be dismissed as either a shallow techno-geek or an ivory tower aesthete, because as this novel demonstrates, the range of his intellect and sensibilities has it all covered.
Dramatic and finely tuned, this witty and insider-savvy roman a'clef narrative cuts a devastating swath through high tech industry, from silicon valley to the East Coast, sparing no one from Bill Gates on down. Acts is nothing less than a work of genius. The range of insights and arcane technical knowledge that pervade and inform the high-stakes international plot are balanced by a command of culture from Sunnyvale to Basel. Sundman's facile command of human relationships blows away once and for all the image of the technophile as a two-dimensional drone bounded by a finite memory-map of gadgetry.
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Format: Paperback
This book is four kinds of good. First, it is a good fictional illustration (and anticipation) of the nanotechnology fears that Bill Joy was writing about in his famous Wired article, "Why the future doesn't need us." The plot? Gulf War Syndrome is the result of some nanotechnology experimentation on soldiers during that conflict... [Author Sundman and Joy also share a history of employment by Sun.] Second, and more importantly, it is a pretty good first novel in the international conspiracy suspense action thriller genre (not easy to do), although we might further class it a geek action suspense thriller, since its protagonist is a programmer. Third, it is somewhat of a roman a clef, which provides extra entertainment as you compare its fictional world with the real world. And fourth, it is a very intelligent satire as well, reminiscent of the Terry Southern of Dr. Strangelove. Sundman understands that technology and science are not the bad guys, it is the drive of international and worldwide control of markets (read people) that is just too tempting for the occasional powerful plutocratic megalomaniac. The hero, Nick Aubry, is a man of our time: "Once upon a time Nick thought he knew what mattered to him. He would have said the meaning of his live came from taking part in the redefinition of human nature..." Elsewhere a sympathetic scientific character, Dieter, muses: "With this technology all things would become mutable: oil spill would become fish food, smog would become clean air, the cystic fibrosis gene would become sound. Imagine: the dying child lies on the hospital bed, a simple injection into his blood, and lo, behold the child arise and walk..." Everyone is optimistic and positive.Read more ›
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