Kiln People

by david brin | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0765342618 Global Overview for this book
Registered by synergy of San Antonio, Texas USA on 10/6/2007
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by synergy from San Antonio, Texas USA on Saturday, October 06, 2007
2007 Book #10 - Kiln People by David Brin

It was time once again to pick up a scifi book since it had been a while since I had. I'd been reading some articles by David Brin at his Blogspot site and reading the descriptions of his books made me curious enough to pick up one of his books. Here's the tease from the back of the book:
In a perilous future, disposable duplicate bodies fulfill every citizen's legal and illicit whim. Life as a 24-hour "ditto" is cheap, as Albert Morris knows. A brash investigator with a knack for trouble, he's sent plenty of clay duplicates into peril, then "inloaded" memories from copies that were shot, crushed, drowned...all part of a day's work.

But when Morris tackles a ring of crooks making boot-leg copies of a famous actress, he trips into a secret soexplosive it incites open warfare on the streets of Dittotown.

This is what I like about good scifi. It takes a current idea or common practice and knocks it out of the park asking "what if." This book, I think, takes the idea of our current common everywhere use of computers and extends it to wonder, what if we were even more connected than we already are? Can you imagine not only being able to grab just about any piece of information from around the world, but actually being able to, in reverse, load yourself onto a clay version of you, send "yourself" out into the world, and then come back and viscerally experience whatever was happening while your doppelgänger was away from you? What would be the limits to what you could experience with something that technically isn't human because it's not of flesh and bone? And for that matter, what would such beings be considered? They have all of the flesh-and-bone-you's experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc., but aren't made of bone. Are they "alive"? And, if so, what kinds of rights do they have and why should they be compulsed to return to "the mother ship," the flesh and bone version?

So many ethical questions, so little time! David Brin manages to squeeze all these possibilities and questions alongside a thrilling and fast-paced story that is entertaining and stimulating not just on the philosophical side, but also on the humorous and adverturous side. Although Brin is often classified as "hard scifi" I don't think this book is really that. Actually I've yet to read a book of his that I think is so full of hard science that the average person couldn't muck through it. I think it's because he does such a good job of working more the social and philosophical angles than worrying how much scientific jargon he can put out that accomplishes that. This book was a real page-turner that despite being a 568-page, smallish-font paperback, I was still getting through 40-50 pages a day on the average despite being full-time at work and taking a couple of classes part-time. I highly recommend it.

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