Hive Future Questions

I get a lot of questions about the Hive Mind Future – which is definitely wonderful! – but it’s getting hard to keep up with them. There’s also the problem that I get variations of the same question in comments on different website pages as well as through my contact form.

I thought I’d experiment with a new system, where all the questions are gathered together so everyone can see the answers. If you have a question that’s specifically about details of the Hive Mind Future,  please post it as a comment on this page. Just have one question, or a very closely related group of two or three questions, per comment please. That way if I’m short of time, I can pick out a few of the questions that I think will interest most people.

As always, the answer to many questions will be that it’s a spoiler for future books. In the case where something is a spoiler for an existing published book, I may try giving the book/chapter reference. I’ll just have to experiment to see what works best.

62 Responses to Hive Future Questions

  1. Loren says:

    I have a feeling that the real driver for the existence of the hive cities was environmental catastrophe. Am I close?

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Telepath, Lucas talks about a period of high crime and major pollution-related health issues. In Hurricane, Juniper refers to a long ago period of great storms. There should be a reference in Adversary, but it won’t be very helpful because the Hive is deliberately making it incomprehensible. Basically, environmental issues were a major driving force, and arguably caused some of the other contributing factors.


  2. Kitty says:

    What is the established progression of romantic relationships? It seems that Megan and Adika didn’t have to follow any sort of progression before getting engaged. How is it different with Amber and Lucas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’ll be a whole relevant section about relationship progression near the start of the next book, Adversary. Basically, Amber and Lucas are in a very different situation from Megan and Adika because of the age-related expectations and pressures of Hive society.


  3. Elizabeth says:

    From Telepath we know how the Lottery works in 2532. But how much is it different from the first Lottery that took place in the Hive World? For example, I can assume that the recommendation about minimal communication between the Lottery candidates may not have existed initially and was introduced after some unwanted side effects took place after some Lottery (similar to the “telepaths must never meet” rule).
    Moreover, is the Lottery process required to be identical in all hives or hives are allowed to make small changes (such as Lucases idea to allow Sea Farm teens to not accept their lottery results) as long as they do not change the core part of the process? Or it must be identical in all hives, but some hives make changes and hide them from the JHT?
    Also, when the Lottery detects a person with telepathic abilities, the standard sequence of tests is replaced by a special one, designed to destroy the barrier that protects the telepath from the minds of the hive citizens. Is this the only case where the lottery process doesn’t follow the standard path?


    • Ach, this one has been awaiting an answer for a while. Apologies that I’ve had real life stuff as well as preparing a book for publication.

      Lottery has changed extensively since it was first introduced, and is still continually being improved. Part of Lucas’s job is to watch for failures of Lottery and suggest improvements.

      All Hives have some form of Lottery. Joint Hive Treaty doesn’t specify the exact form of that Lottery. There is a rule that anyone being traded between Hives has to have their abilities advertised using a standardized measuring system.

      When Lottery detects a person with telepathic abilities, the standard sequence of tests is replaced by a special one. This can happen for people with other exceptional abilities as well.


  4. Jason says:

    I love the hive books and while I know your super busy on the other series. I am hopeful that maybe a hive book this year. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elizabeth says:

    As we know from the books, Hive England has an adoption system for duty children. But what does the Hive do for orphans?
    For example, if the parents of a child from the 20th level die protecting the Hive, or a child lost their parents for some medical reasons, where will they go? Are there some sort of foster families and/or orphanages or is the system more different from the 21st century? I’m sure that the Hive will give them all the psychological help that they need, but what else?


    • There’d be a full assessment of the child and their situation. Teens would normally continue on Teen Level with additional professional support. Younger children would normally go through the equivalent of adoption into a compatible family of the same level as their parents, though exceptions could be made for being adopted by a well-known relative. In occasional cases, what is best for the Hive would outweigh what is best for the child.


  6. Elizabeth says:

    How does Telepathy work when the true telepath is a disabled person? For example, is a true telepath blind from birth able to see something when reading the mind of another person?


    • When a telepath reads another person’s mind, they can share their senses. Seeing the view from their eyes, hearing the sounds they hear, picking up the clues of taste, touch, and scent to work out the person’s location. A telepath who was blind from birth would be able to see the view from another person’s eyes, just as Amber shared Beckett’s sensory overload when she read his mind. Of course a telepath who was blind from birth would need time to learn how to interpret visual images.


  7. Gillian says:

    Is Amber’s hive Hive England? I’ve seen a few wikis, fanfics etc say it is, but in my reading I’d the books it came across as how the old concept of countries worked, and their hive is called something different (ie when they say Hive England does this or that in bookettes, rather than just THE hive, or OUR hive)


    • Amber’s Hive city encourages its citizens to think of it as their whole world, so they normally just refer to it as the Hive. There are tiny flags that it is currently called Hive England. It would have had a different name during the early days before all ten zones were built. There should be more about this in future books.


  8. Gillian says:

    Do you have an idea of whereabouts the Hive is? Presumably near the coast of England, and the name Perran makes me think perhaps Cornwall? Especially so the fishing fleets can access the North Sea etc

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jason Cole says:

    I always love the Hive Books. I am re-reading the series now that I Upgraded from ebook to paperback.

    I know you are super busy, but is there any chance that the next hive book could still be this year?



  10. Wesley says:

    Are there any significantly large non-hive aligned populations left in the world? Do they interact with the hive society? You’ve mentioned hive treaty signatories, but is there possible conflict with those not governed by it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid this is a question I can’t answer at this point. As the series progresses, the reader is gradually discovering more about what is going on in the world outside the Hive along with Amber. I can say that Amber will be learning some important details in book 5. 🙂


  11. Gillian says:

    This may be explored in the next book, but where are Hive Treaty Enforcement based? On the one hand it seems they wouldn’t want to be spread across all the home Hives, particularly with regards to secure systems and impartiality, but equally having all of them in their own mini hive (like level 20) seems like that could end up with a disproportionate amount of power, as they would also presumably want schools, manufacture etc

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tempest says:

    As we all know, telepaths must never meet. I won’t get into why as there are many reasons, including a secret ;). Something I’ve been wondering is about the lack of guidance telepaths struggle through when becoming an official telepath. Yes, the Hive has it’s method to introduce, instruct, guide, etc. new telepaths but, as Amber’s journey points out, there are some things that are only realized by the telepaths themselves. Amber first wishes to speak with another telepath to help her understand her ability, especially since telepaths are not imprinted. This isn’t possible because of hive policy.

    My question is, after all this time, rather than relying on the staff to help a new telepath, why haven’t previous telepaths created a guide for new ones to reference? Some things can be excluded of course, such as [spoiler] each telepath needs to find their own way of purging themselves of echoes. Each method is different because each telepath is different. How previous telepaths have cured themselves of echo personalities can be excluded but the reason it’s excluded could be included to help new telepaths when they begin to experience fractures. The major important steps and lessons Amber has experienced or learned, she could compile into a guide for future telepaths to read, to feel less adrift. I think it’s also a major benefit coming from her as not only she the newest telepath so it’s fresh but she also has such a deep level of telepathy she could create something beyond her physical age to be of assurance to new telepaths.

    If there is opposition to this, Amber could argue that she isn’t meeting any of the telepaths and the hive will naturally review the guide before approving it.


    • Amber hasn’t thought of creating a guide for new telepaths herself, because she feels she still knows very little about being a telepath. If she did think of creating such a guide, I don’t think she’d make the mistake of suggesting it officially. Amber knows that the Hive strictly controls the knowledge supplied to its citizens. She’d realize that suggesting she should supply information to other telepaths would be met with a firm refusal. The Hive has already decided what knowledge is safe to be given to telepaths and included it in the imprints of Telepath Unit staff. The Hive knows best in this matter.

      What you could describe as the senior telepaths at this point are Sapphire and Morton. It’s far more likely that Amber would consider contacting them and suggesting they create a guide to be given to new telepaths using their secret communications channel. Sapphire and Morton would tell her it was a bad idea though. Any guide would only be useful to very new telepaths, and they don’t normally have any contact with them.

      In Sapphire’s first call to Amber she says this:- “In normal circumstances, I wouldn’t even call you until you’d completed your telepathic development.” Later on, Morton spells the situation out rather more brutally. “Always remember that the greatest danger to a telepath is another telepath.”

      Basically, the senior telepaths refuse to take the risk of contacting new telepaths until they know what type of person they’re dealing with. At the absolute minimum, there’s a danger that the new telepath could accidentally give away the fact that telepaths have a secret communication channel. If the new telepath turns out to be another Keith or worse, then there could be far more serious consequences.


  13. ianbirchenough7713 says:

    You mentioned that Hive Genex is part of the Genetics group. Can you say what other groups there are? what aims they follow? I take it from the general ignorance of other celestial bodies that Space exploration is a forgotten area. Is Joint treaty enforcement responsible for Meteor watch etc? If the hive had to send away for specialist treatments for the smoke inhalation casualties from a specialist hive does Hive England have a specialist area it provides to other Hive Cities. Sorry I seem to be having a rush of questions this morning.


    • There will be a lot more about other Hives and Joint Hive Treaty enforcement unfolding in the coming books. Hive England does have a specialist area. Possibly there hasn’t been a moment where it is actually stated, but people effectively refer to it whenever they say “Waste it!”

      Liked by 1 person

  14. ianbirchenough7713 says:

    Will we be hearing more of the Council of Gaia in ‘Adversary’?


  15. ianbirchenough7713 says:

    Oh No!

    I’ll just shut up and let you get on with it.



  16. Jerry says:

    The real mystery is what keeps Hive England from becoming dystopian. It has all the elements. Secret telepaths run around reading people’s minds. There is a hidden leadership. Children are brainwashed to be afraid to go outside and that the “hive knows best”. But all of this is to keep them safe and happy rather than support a totalitarian regime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is one major thing stopping Hive England from becoming a true dystopia where people live in fear and misery. Hive England has learned that people are far more productive when they are safe, happy, and love their work.


  17. Stephie says:

    Fran came out of lottery with Sapphire, over 20 years ago. Sapphire obviously didn’t choose Fran for any part of her team. Megan said Sapphire was picky about her people. What was the excuse with Olivia, Keith, York and Mira?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wherever possible, a new telepath’s unit is staffed by people who came out of Lottery with them and were selected to have compatible attitudes. After Fran failed to get a position as a Liaison team member for Sapphire, her future chances with new telepaths would be limited to vacancies for the Liaison team leader and deputy team leader positions that required prior experience. There are usually enough suitable people applying for deputy positions that compatible attitudes are a strong factor there too. When it came to the Liaison team leader position, where ability and experience had to overrride everything else, Fran was competing with people who’d already worked in Telepath units. She therefore needed to beat them on both skill and years of experience to get a chance of selection. Hence the long wait before getting a chance of a post with Amber.


  18. Charlotte says:

    How do levels/jobs work? If all teachers live on level 40, who decides which level they will teach on? Are level 20 teachers considered better than those working on level 40?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a lot of professions where people work on accommodation levels of the Hive. Having a post on a higher accommodation level is normally considered higher status. The final decision on who gets which post is normally made by someone with higher authority.

      Level 20 is private to Law Enforcement, so secrecy requirements mean special rules apply there. Wherever possible, non Law Enforcement roles on Level 20, such as teacher, doctor, or shop keeper, will be filled by people who were born on Level 20 and spent their childhood there.


  19. Dragongirl says:

    How are joint hive treaty enforcement officers and personnel selected? Do hives pay some sort of toll to JHTE including personnel and equipment, do they have their own hive, if they have children where do the kids go?


  20. MerryB says:

    Why weren’t Keith’s parents sent to parenting therapy? If Keith was a difficult child from the beginning, they should have had help dealing with him. If he grew to be a difficult child, because of how his parents and others treated him, then there Really should have been therapy for everyone. Of course, we don’t know what his childhood was really like, but how dare a parent not dote on their child and back their child.


    • The Hive gives virtually everyone work that they love, but there are still the usual problems of messy human interactions. It’s very true that at the end of Borderline we don’t know what Keith’s childhood was really like. We see the events through Amber’s viewpoint, and she’s only heard Keith’s account. Amber can’t give away the fact she’s talked to Keith, so she can’t ask any of the old members of Claire’s unit, such as Gideon, if Keith’s account is true.

      Keith and his parents would certainly have been offered therapy sessions. Those sessions may or may not have happened. Either Keith or his parents could have refused to have therapy. As a child, Keith could potentially have been forced to undergo therapy, but therapy under duress could have made his behaviour worse rather than better.

      As for your question about how dare a parent not dote on their child and back their child… Amber has parents who love and support her, but there are a host of other possible family dynamics. Lucas was a gifted, well-behaved child, but his mother hadn’t wanted him, and openly told him that she hated him for destroying her life. Buzz’s parents tried to correct what they mistakenly thought were her lies, but the really damaging problem was their constant fighting with each other.

      Situations involving multiple children can get especially complicated. Some parents play blatant favourites between their children, but even the most loving and impartial parent may be unable to dote on and support one of their children in certain situations. Such as if that child is deliberately abusing another.


  21. VicW says:


    I’ve always been really interested in edge cases and Lottery is fascinating! What would happen in the unlikely scenario that someone was qualified for more than one of the really important non-optimization lottery results, ex Gold commander and telepath? What would the Hive do in that situation? Is there an ultimate priority list? Would it depend on the exact situation in the Hive at the time? Would Lottery never find out because they would hit one Lottery path and miss the qualifying tests for the other? Is this so incredibly rare that it’s never happened and would send Lottery into meltdown?

    I’m really looking forward to Adversary. I was also in the group that was mad at Drago for taking up so much writing time and refused to read his books for a while. Well, I finally broke down and read the 2781 series and got sucked into the Tell clan drama and can’t be mad at Drago anymore!


    • Ah ha! Another victim of Drago’s charm attacks!

      Lottery handles your unlikely scenario by hitting candidates with several key multipurpose tests on the first day. These tests gather some generally useful information, but also include sections designed to spot candidates for the overwhelmingly important non-optimization positions. Candidates will do a few generic tests between these if the necessary staff or facilities aren’t available, but they won’t start on an individualized Lottery path until they’ve done the key tests.

      Most candidates won’t score significantly highly on any of the special sections of key tests. Those who do are given follow up tests designed to weed out false positives due to lucky guesses. In the unlikely event of someone scoring significantly highly on more than one of the special sections, they’d be given the followup tests for all of them. In the even more unlikely event of them being confirmed as a serious candidate for more than one non-optimization position, then Lottery would collate information on the number and age distribution of people in the Hive currently available for those positions and scream for human help.

      To be more specific, Lottery would send its collated information to the appropriate member of the Council of Gaia, who would then examine the situation and confirm which position was most needed by the Hive. The candidate would then follow the Lottery path for that position. If later tests showed they weren’t suitable after all, they’d obviously swap to the Lottery path for the other position.


  22. Jarrah says:

    Hi Janet,
    My sister has been reading and loving your books for years (you are pretty much her favorite author and she has reread all of your books at least 3 times). She convinced me to read them too and I am really enjoying them, especially the Hive Mind series.
    I was wondering about something in the placement of the Sea Farm and the Hive. In a past question, you implied that the Sea Farm is in Cornwall. This confused me because in the first book they are walking for six days outside on a route to the Sea Farm. I am wondering how the Sea Farm can be this far from the Hive when it is on the nearest stretch of coastline (I am basing all of my assumptions off google maps right now as I have never been to England before and I might be making a mistake here).
    Thank you,
    From Jarrah (also it’s a coincidence that my name is Jarrah, another reason my sister loves your books)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi Jarrah. Nice name. 🙂

    I’m glad you and your sister are enjoying the Hive Mind series. In the prior question, I gave a simplistic answer of there being some references intended to imply the sea farm is in Cornwall. In fact, the Hive Mind series is set over five centuries in the future. More details of the intervening period of history will be covered in future books, so for now I’ll just explain that the apparent geographical inconsistency is because Cornwall’s area of influence expanded during that period to cover most of south west England.


  24. Loren says:

    I was wondering what might happen if some critical talent was discovered among some future group of sea-farm lottery candidates – now that they can refuse their result. I figure that there would still be only about 200 or so in any single lottery so – unlikely. But still…


    • The sheer statistical unlikelihood of a sea-farm candidate having a talent critically important for the Hive meant Lucas didn’t worry too much about it when proposing the arrangement.

      The Hive would have considered the possibility before authorizing the change though. It’s view would have been that currently a critically important candidate could be missed entirely. It was better to get more of the sea-farm candidates to go through Lottery, so any critical talent could be discovered.

      If that person refused their Lottery result, the Hive would negotiate and offer whatever bribery, or adjustments were needed to make them change their mind. For example, if a person was psychologically incapable of living in the Hive itself, then it might be possible for them to live at the sea farm and work at the nearby coastal patrol base.


  25. Em says:

    What would happen if a telepath read the mind of an undiscovered telepath? True telepaths block mental intrusions but would an undeveloped telepath still be locked into a mental battle? How would they avoid that since they have no way of knowing who is a true telepath until they go into lottery?


    • In Telepath, Megan tells Amber:-
      Since birth, you’d been protecting yourself from the hundred million minds around you by blocking your telepathic abilities. Most of the tests we gave you were aimed at lowering your mental barriers and bringing your ability to the surface.

      Effectively an undiscovered telepath is in a totally passive, defensive mental lockdown. If a true telepath read their mind, the pressure on an undiscovered telepath’s mental barriers might well give them a bad headache. An undiscovered telepath couldn’t actively use their abilities to retaliate though, so nobody would be locked into a mental battle.


      • Tempest says:

        I have thought about this as well and wondered how it applied to Keith and Claire. As we know from Keith and Gideon, Keith grew up visiting Claire’s unit until he moved to teen level. (I don’t believe Keith’s parents level was disclosed.) I know there is a slight possibility Claire could work to avoid reading family member’s minds, as Amber does with her parents. But Amber’s situation with her parents is blatantly different than Claire and her children and grand children.

        While Amber loves her parents, I can see visiting them a bit of a stress as she has to constantly control her abilities, a practice that is as unconscious to her now as breathing – something Amber has said herself. Amber does have one person she avoids reading to help with her therapy, Buzz, but that is a significant difference than the numerous children Claire had in her unit at one time.

        Keith’s visits as a child may not have an extended period of time, it would be impossible to hide the conflict in parent and child dynamic in a telepath unit. Not only because Claire is a telepath but because of the situations telepath units are exposed to, it’s likely they would all eventually develop the ability to notice warning signs. Returning to the point, noticing these yellow and red flags, wouldn’t Claire read their minds? She would then know Keith is a telepath.

        Lucas does explain that Keith is an extremely rare case of between borderline and full telepath but his telepathy still works more so than it doesn’t.

        It’s possible Claire did know.

        Anyway, I do wonder a bit about this. I definitely have a stronger interest in Amber’s story so don’t want too much of a tangent, yet I wonder if this is something Amber might wonder about later. It’s been said that there is a theory Telepathy is hereditary so it’s possible one of her children or grandchildren will be a telepath. Long ways off but no denying the possibility.


      • Gillian says:

        For some reason I can’t reply to Tempest’s comment on this thread, but I’m wondering if maybe it was Claire reading Keith’s mind frequently as a child that caused him to be in-between? Either because he was a true telepath at birth but Claire’s intrusions when he couldn’t defend himself (because his powers were locked down) damaged them, or conversely he was a borderline telepath who had his powers extended by Claire inadvertently stretching his boundaries (can’t remember if any of her other decendents are said to be borderline or not),


      • Tempest says:

        I had the same thought about Keith’s telepathy being affected by Claire either intentionally attempting to read Keith’s mind or unintentionally wandering into it. Though I personally feel it’s more likely Keith was a full telepath from the beginning and having to constantly be on guard from a full telepath potentially wandering is what may have made Keith an in-between telepath. His ability was likely in overdrive as a child, attempting to protect himself. So now, even when there isn’t a threat of being read by another telepath, his ability is in a constant state of hyper-vigilance, ready to shut down at a moment of overstimulation to devote all strength into defense. (Notice I said defense, not offense.) His ability reverts back to a new born telepath’s defensive state of not being able to read minds. It’s possible therapy would help with this but only if Keith cooperates.


      • VicW says:

        I can’t reply to Gillian on this thread either, but both those theories make a disturbing amount of sense. However, I hope for everyone involved that the Hive never catches on to this one. In most ways, the Hive is a wonderful place to live, but I don’t think the theory would cause a good reaction. The Hive is somewhat obsessive when it comes to telepaths.


      • I’ve no idea why there’s a reply problem on this section of thread when everywhere else seems to be working fine. Everything looks normal from within WordPress, so it’s a total mystery.

        I think it’s best if I leave everyone to discuss their theories on this subject, because there’s a telepath plotline unfurling through the series. Anyway I say or don’t say at this point is likely to be a spoiler for that.


  26. Jerry says:

    If a borderline telepath can break out, like Buzz or Amber’s brother, then why not a full telepath. Granted the odds of a full telepath being put in a stressful enough situation are low, but still …


  27. Jerry says:

    While hive England strives to have happy productive citizens I find its treatment of telepaths to be sorely lacking. Amber can not be imprinted but does that mean she can not learn? During their mandatory down time she could be studying psychology, hive infrastructure, etc. to help her do a better job. She should be exercising and practicing with her gun. How different would your next book be if Amber had learned the language of Hive Genix? How quickly could she learn if she was reading the mind of her teacher?

    Instead Amber is treated like a pampered, one trick pony. Once she has done her telepathy she is left to play. I hope that at some point she will realize this and make changes.


    • While I see your point, the main reason for the mandatory downtime after emergency runs, some of which will inevitably keep the telepath awake most of the night, is to give them the relaxation time needed to clear their mind of echoes. Amber does already spend some of that relaxation time exercising and doing target practice. She’s also taking a far more active role than many telepaths in investigating cases.

      On the education side, Amber wouldn’t react well to the suggestion she has a formal lessons from a teacher, and that isn’t because she wants to laze around. She’s becoming increasingly aware that the Hive only imprints its citizens with the information it wants them to know, and that especially applies to citizens who are teachers. The idea of learning heavily censored facts from a teacher won’t appeal to her when she’s learning uncensored facts from every target mind she reads. I’d argue that Amber is effectively being taught by an endless stream of teachers anyway. Every target that she reads is an imprinted expert in some aspect of the Hive. While Amber can’t possibly remember everything she sees when someone accesses their mass of imprinted information, she can and does learn selected important facts.

      As for the specific point about Amber learning the language of Hive Genex, Hive England would never allow Amber to be given lessons in the language of another Hive in case it encouraged her to move there.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Jerry says:

    I think that the odds of Amber wanting to move to Hive Genex are less than her deciding to take up sky diving as a hobby.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s