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Literature / Hive Mind

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Hive Mind is a series of science fiction works written by Janet Edwards, also known for the Earth Girl series.

The books focus on an eighteen-year-old girl named Amber who discovers she has psychic powers and uses them to protect the Hive, the futuristic arcology she lives in.

Works in the series include:

  • Telepath (novel)
  • Defender (novel)
  • Perilous (prequel novella, set before Telepath)
  • Hurricane (novel)
  • Borderline (upcoming novel, expected December 2019/January 2020)

Now has a character page.

This series contains examples of:

  • Achievement Test of Destiny: Lottery. A multiple-day test to find out exactly what would be the perfect role for you in society, the job that you can do well and that will make you happy. Some roles (such as telepath) are so important that anyone who can do them will be taken for that role, regardless of whether it is something they would actually want to do.
  • Aerith and Bob: Amber's support team includes Nicole and Megan, and Forge and Adika.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: On Teen Level, Amber had an air vent inspection hatch in her room. Forge used it to enter and go exploring.
  • And I Must Scream: After Amber's imprint is activated, she envisions herself in a little crystal bubble, trapped inside her own head as her mind is taken over by the imprint.
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  • Arcology: Hive England, which the main characters all live in, is a hundred-million-person city that provides almost all its own food, water, power, and other needs. (They do trade stuff with other Hives, but not for much - the only trades we see on-page are for extremely advanced medical technology.) Other Hives exist but are generally less self-sufficient.
  • Arc Symbol: In each of the books, Amber takes on the role of the Light Angel, a character in the annual Halloween and Carnival festivals. The Light Angel protects the Hive and its loyal citizens, fighting the forces of darkness directly or calling on Justice to aid her.
    • In Telepath, Amber dresses as the Light Angel as they move to capture Elden on Halloween.
    • In Defender, Light Angel is the code name of Amber's team as they attempt to stop Mars.
    • In Hurricane, the image of Amber as the Light Angel is used to make Glenna run from Irwin.
  • Beware The Mind Reader: The Nosies are claimed to be telepaths, but aren't. Nosies are generally strongly disliked, and the sight of them almost-universally leads to people chanting multiplication tables as Psychic Static.
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  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Hive does its very best to give this impression with the nosy patrols. It's not entirely inaccurate (there are real telepaths, and they do go around making sure potential future criminals are headed off before they get the chance to do anything) but drastically overstates the number of telepaths. Amber is disturbed at the idea that, before they used telepaths, crime was prevented by having cameras everywhere.
  • Bodyguard Babes: The typical strike teams of male telepaths, when possible. Strike teams should be people the telepath finds attractive, because they are likely to be in close physical contact frequently.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally a gun. When Lucas learns that he doesn't need to teach Amber to swim, she suggests he teach her how to use a gun instead. She uses the gun to kill Elden.
  • Children Are Innocent: Deliberately exploited by Rose to conceal her murders, and while trying to evade responsibility for them.
  • Crisis Catch And Carry: The strike team's job includes carrying the telepath around while the telepath is scanning minds, as it's hard to walk and scan at the same time. Petite Amber's strike team is considerably happier about this than heavily-built Keith's.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Amber stumbles onto this more often than she'd like. Adika has thoughts about Megan, Lucas has thoughts about Amber, her strike team has thoughts about many different women (including Amber), and occasionally she ends up scanning lovers while she's out looking for wild bees.
  • Disability Immunity: Keith's telepathy randomly cutting out is absolutely awful for him and everyone he works with, but it does an excellent job of clearing echo personalities out of his head.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Invoked as part of the Emergency Impersonation.
  • Drink Order: Amber drinks melon juice. On teen level, this was one of the things that told Atticus she had come from a higher level, as melon juice isn't available at lower levels.
  • Driven to Suicide: York, a telepath before Amber, committed suicide after his first emergency run. This is why Lucas shows up at Amber's apartment after her first emergency run and insists on spending the night.
  • Emergency Impersonation: Forge, for Elden. This involves putting a fake birthmark on him, which makes the resemblance close enough to trigger Amber's imprint.
  • Explosive Leash: The Hive uses tracking chips to control sociopaths and other people who are considered irredeemable. The chips can be remotely triggered to explode if necessary.
  • False Utopia: The Hive is a perfectly safe place where everybody loves their perfect job and the few malcontents are caught by the nosy patrols before they ever commit crimes. Except that it isn't - the Hive is just really good at hiding any incidents. Memories are wiped, purely fictional reports are generated, and the few real telepaths are always busy keeping incidents to a minimum. Even major incidents that can't be memory-wiped away are covered up, with acts of deliberate sabotage described as 'accidents' if possible and 'attacks from enemy Hives' if not.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: Distances are measured in 'corridors', 'cors' for short. Exactly how long a cor is is unstated.
  • Faux Death: In the backstory to Hurricane. Claire and her team helped Celandine fake her death to get her away from Morton. It had to seem real enough to convince Morton's strike team, who witnessed it.
  • Fictional Holiday: The Hive has four major festivals, evenly spaced through the year. While they may share names with modern holidays, it is clear that they have all been adapted for the hive, and possibly completely altered. (Valentine, for example, is a summer holiday instead of the winter holiday of Valentine's Day.)
    • Carnival, a bright and happy festival where the Light Angel triumphs over the Dark Angel and the Hunter of Souls, and everyone dresses in silver and white. This is the spring festival. Lottery happens immediately after Carnival.
    • Valentine, a festival for lovers. This is the summer festival.
    • Halloween, a dark and spooky festival. The Light and Dark Angels from Carnival return. While this time the Dark Angel triumphs, the Light Angel still protects the loyal members of the Hive. This is the autumn festival.
    • New Year, a festival for families. This is the winter festival.
  • First Guy Wins: While Lucas expects this once he meets Atticus, the trope is ultimately subverted.
  • Free-Range Children: Children old enough to have their monitoring bracelets removed (on their 10th birthday) have the run of the public places on their level. Part of this is that the Hive wants everyone to believe that it is totally safe; part of it is that, by and large, it is.
  • Future Slang: Mostly averted, unlike in Earth Girl. "High up" is slang for "good" and "low down" is consequently "bad", though, relating to the better living conditions on the higher levels of the Hive. "Waste it" or similar expressions are used as mild profanity.
  • Hero Secret Service: Much of the role of the strike teams. While stopping whatever disordered individual they're chasing is important, priority number one is protecting the telepath, laying down their own lives if necessary.
  • Hive City: The Hives are of the deliberately-constructed kind. Hive England holds 100 million people in 10 zones, with 100 residential levels and 50 industrial levels above that. There are one hundred and seven Hives in all; it is unclear whether Hive England is relatively large, small, or in-between.
  • Hive Mind: Despite the title, averted. Members of the Hive can think independently.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: It's unclear where telepathy came from, but about 0.1% of the population have borderline telepathy and about one in 5 million are full telepaths. The nosy system arose after the population crash, so it's possible that telepathy came from the attempt at Population Control.
  • I Have No Son!: Teens who end up at significantly lower levels than their parents are frequently disowned. One character was disowned by her parents for continuing to stay in contact with her (now low-level) sister. Lucas's mother disowned him as soon as he left for Teen Level.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Lucas, oh so much. He's continually sure that Amber is going to trade up to somebody else.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Amber's a telepath. If the title of the first book didn't clue you in, you'll find out pretty early anyway.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Downplayed. Eli is badly injured in a fall, and the surgeons tell Amber that they can save his life at the cost of a leg, or keep the leg with no guarantee he'll survive surgery. Based on her knowledge of his mind, she chooses to keep the leg, and he survives.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Elden kidnapped Amber as a child under orders from Hive Genex, who wanted to mind control her into requesting a transfer at 18.
  • Mad Love: In the backstory for Hurricane. Morton fell in love with Celandine, who just wanted to go back to the sea. She eventually had to fake her death to get away.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Massen's death. It would have worked if they hadn't been able to trace the drone so quickly.
  • Mercy Kill: At the end of Telepath, Amber kills Elden rather than turn him over to Joint Hive Treaty Enforcement for destruction analysis. His mind's basically gone at that point anyway.
  • Metaphorically True: Amber tells her parents she's Level 1 Security. While what she does is primarily about the security of the Hive, she is actually in a separate but critically important role.
  • Minor Living Alone: Teenagers move to the Teen Level (50) when they're thirteen, and remain until they go to Lottery at age 18. The living quarters on Teen Level are notably smaller than every other floor, so that wherever they end up after Lottery will be an improvement.
  • Mission Control: Nicole and (usually) Lucas. Nicole as liaison provides information and connects with other organizations in the Hive for Amber and her team; Lucas as tactical commander is in charge of planning the reaction to whatever circumstances the strike team finds themselves in.
  • Mutant Draft Board: Any form of telepathy is enough for Lottery to shunt someone into a job that requires it; full telepaths are invariably drafted to protect the Hive.
  • Neural Implanting: The Hives use "imprinting" to let people start work at 18 without bothering with training. Telepaths aren't imprinted because it might hurt their powers. Giving someone too many imprints, or imprints that are too large, can be dangerous. Hive England imprints people safely, and only once. Hive Genex, villains of the first book, gave Elden far too many imprints. He's obviously on the edge of a mental breakdown by the time Amber finds him; discovering that his attempt to imprint her failed pushes him over the edge.
  • One World Order: Joint Hive Treaty Enforcement seems to be somewhere between this and Fictional United Nations. They can set rules on what Hives are allowed to do to each other, and set standards that Hives are required to meet. The penalties for violations start at trade embargoes and can go up to full-scale assaults on problematic Hives.
  • Only One Name: There appear to be no last names. People are identified by their personal name, with an ID number to disambiguate them as needed.
  • The Outside World: Outside. It's not exactly forbidden, but going there is strongly discouraged, and the Ramblers Association that explores it is considered non-conformist.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Amber accidentally tells Lucas to come in before she'd gotten dressed, thinking she was dreaming he was outside the apartment. He teases her about it occasionally.
  • Population Control: In the past, those classified as criminal or socially undesirable were barred from having children. This led to a population crash due to weakened disease resistance and assorted useful characteristics being mistakenly marked as negative. The controls were removed in order to reverse these problems, and Lottery was created to help channel personality traits that could be negative if expressed in an antisocial way.
  • Psychic Powers: As the title of the first book would imply, these play a major role.
  • Psychic Static: The "two ones is two" thing people chant when nosy patrols are near is an attempt at this. It doesn't actually work but it's extremely distracting.
  • Rite of Passage: Freedom Day, the day after a child's tenth birthday. On the tenth birthday, the child's tracker bracelet is removed, and that night the family and the child's friends have a Bracelet Party. The following day is a personal holiday for the child, where they are encouraged to enjoy their freedom. What the child does is considered indicative of what they will do after Lottery. Children who cross multiple zone boundaries or otherwise go outside the areas they are expected to are more likely to be chosen for strike teams.
  • Romancing the Widow: Adika and Megan. He rushes into romance too quickly, which causes problems in the team until Buzz straightens them out.
  • The Sociopath: Rose, in Hurricane, and her warder.
  • Spanner in the Works: Forge, in the first book. Forge's resemblance to Elden, especially the birthmark, caused Amber to have an irrational attraction to him. This starts Lucas down the chain of logic that discovers her imprint, helps him figure out the fix, and lets them use Forge to act as a surrogate Elden to keep her under control.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Olivia's fate: she was unable to get the people she read out of her mind and vanished under them. After the events of Defender, she's reset to eighteen; the original Olivia appears to have resurfaced in the process.
  • Stockholm Syndrome
    • Amber's first emergency run tracks down a boy who was attempting to invoke this with his ex-girlfriend.
    • Morton spent a year attempting to invoke this with Celandine, but she refused to comply.
  • The Stoic: Sapphire doesn't do feelings. The most emotion we get out of her is a brief flicker of pain when talking about having two members of her strike team burn to death while she was still in their heads.
  • Telepathy: Amber's notable ability. There's a few other telepaths in Hive England: Morton, Mira, Sapphire, and Keith are currently working, and Claire, York, and Olivia are dead or otherwise incapable of doing the job any more. Borderline telepaths are much more common, but the unreliability of their abilities renders them incapable of doing the broad scanning that the full telepaths are used for.
  • Theme Naming: The villains of Defender operate under the fake names Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Jupiter's the leader. Since Roman mythology appears to have been lost and the very existence of other planets is highly classified information, the theme naming is actually vital in pinning down who Jupiter is: very few people would have known enough to make the reference.
  • Trigger Phrase: Elden set a trigger image to activate and make Amber transfer to Hive Genex. It's a gold and silver design that he sprayed around the Level 1 shopping area in hopes that she'd see it. When that didn't work, he set up trap missions for her; when those failed, he mailed (or got her mother to mail) her a duck toy with one.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Morton still pines for Celandine, forty years after her 'death'.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the backstory to Hurricane. Claire called out Morton for kidnapping Celandine, and helped her get away.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Amber has a fear of heights. She also has a fear of Outside, especially the ‘truesun’, until the implant from Genex is removed. She, of course, has to deal with both of those.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Jupiter intentionally set her scheme up so she'd get caught. She's hoping that one of Olivia's echo personalities turning out to be a terrorist will get Olivia reset, and that she can become the sole personality.
  • You Are Number 6: Everyone has both a real name (e.g. Amber) and an ID number (e.g. 2514-0172-912). The number is almost never used except for administrative purposes, and no one seems to have a problem with it.
  • Young and in Charge: Amber is eighteen years old, fresh out of Lottery...and in charge of one of the Hive’s scarce telepath units.
  • Zero-G Spot: Characters sleep in 'sleep fields' that they seem to float in. Amber and Lucas share one once they become a couple.

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