Rousing science fiction adventure by a master of the genre.
First published in 1976, "The Mind-Riders" features a remarkable anticipation of virtual reality gaming, in which the revised sport of boxing pits physically identical virtual fighters against one another, operated by electronically-connected "handlers" -- with viewers receiving transmissions of the combatants' emotions as their simulations slug it out. Ryan Hart, banished from the sport in its early days because of his lack of marketable emotion, is brought back by an obsessed media executive who wants to see the reigning champion beaten at any cost. Hart is not certain that he can win, after such a lapse of time, nor is he certain he can resist pressure to give the vast virtual crowds the dose of sadistic exultation they crave. But that doesn't stop him from heading into the virtual "ring" and fighting the bout of his life!
Brian Stableford (1948- )
Brian Stableford is a British science fiction writer who has published more than 70 novels. Born in Shipley, Yorkshire, he graduated with a degree in biology from the University of York In 1969 before going on to do postgraduate research in biology and later psychology. In 1979 he received a Ph.D. with a doctoral thesis on "The Sociology of Science Fiction". His first published story - a collaboration with school friend Craig A. Mackintosh - was "Beyond Time's Aegis" for Science Fantasy in 1965. Much expanded, it was eventually published in book form as Firefly: A Novel of the Far Future (1994). It was with the Grainger/Hooded Swan series that Stableford began to attract serious notice in America.