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03/10/2003

Book Review

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I just finished reading the book Kiln People by David Brin. I'm kind of pissed off about it because it was one of those books that I really loved and got into for the first two-thirds of the book. Then the next sixth of the book I started getting a sinking feeling about the direction the book was going. From the 61/72nd to the 66/72nd totally took the story down the wrong path. Finally that last twelfth of that book just ruined the whole thing. I liked it only fractionally better than his previous book (oh, I just slay me. I don't even know what his previous book was. I just had to slip that stupid joke in there).

Because it is science-fiction, this description will cause about half of you to automatically bail out of this entry. If you can do the "willing suspension of disbelief" thing, let me explain the set up to you. Basically, technology had progressed to such a point that human beings could implant their "soul" into a clay golem blank that would become a copy of the original person. So if you wanted to go see the ball game but you also had to work, you created a "ditto" that was an exact replica of you to go do your work while you went to the game. Then at the end of the day, that golem would "inload" the day's memories back into you so you had the experience of seeing the game AND knowing all the details of the Thompson merger that your other self worked on all day. Oh and the other thing was that these replicas only lasted about a day before their systems broke down. So it was important that the copies all made it back home so the experiences could be inloaded.

It was an interesting concept and made an interesting narrative. Because the story was told from four different viewpoints of the same person. The protagonist was a detective who had created three golems for the day to handle different parts of an investigation. Each of the copies were the protagonist. Except that they knew they would "die" at the end of the day if they didn't get back to their original. That imminent death hanging over their little clay heads colored their decisions based on the risk level of their assignments. It sounds all very convoluted but it was very interesting to follow. Until that point when the story changed from fun science fiction to philosophical blahblahblah. See a device in the book started enabling the different "souls" to combine to form some god-like thing who connected with other, previous god-like things. Blah blah blah.

I give this book a solid and enthusiastic eh.