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Preview — Kiln People by David Brin
I like sci-fi, but man, a lot of these dudes are long-winded (and how do they manage to write so freaking many books regardless? Fantasy authors
The concept is fun at first. It explores some interesting issues with identity and individuality and so on. Since there's a mystery going on, it reminded me of Asimov's robot mysteries, except here you've got dittos instead of robots.
The first problem that shows up is that it becomes pretty hard to keep track of who's who. Albert creates several dittos, and each chapter tracks one of them. It's hard to remember which ditto did what.
The real problem for m ...more
David Brin writes the story tongue-in-cheek (I mean baking yourself a duplicate is kinda outrageous, isn't it?), but without descending into parody or outright silliness. In fact he keeps a straight face throughout the book, and stays on the main theme, which is an interesting mystery tale, sufficient onto itself in...more
A near-ish future detective story set in a world where people can make copies of themselves (dittos or dits) which they can then send off to do various tasks, only to download the memories back into the original at the end of the day.
Brin takes a truly weird idea for a technology, and then sets about looking at how it would change people and society - good ole fashioned speculative fiction - without getting all hung up on how the technology is supposed to work. His world had the off-ki ...more
What started as an interesting story with some cool plot twirls turned into a plodding, pedantic, slit-your-wrists boring slodge about halfway through. I would say about half of the book could be cut without any loss in part because of all the repetition (hey guess what there's stockpiled food here for government officials to eat in case of holocaust, hey, lo ...more
Written from various different perspectives, all of which are that of one or another version of the main protagonist, Albert Morris, Brin uses various different ...more
I went into KILN PEOPLE with a bit of hesitation, expecting yet another take
on cloning or golems, and ...more
I am fascinated by the concept of the "dittos" -- an temporary, alternate self that you can imprint your self/soul onto - and then download its experiences at the end of the day. Brin explores this technology and its potential effects on human society in detail - through the structure of a mystery.
The main character, Albert Morris, is a private investigator (you can imagine how helpful the dittos are to him!) and is investigating the disappearance/murder of one of the d ...more
Brin has enough great ideas and possibilities here for a half dozen novels, not just one.
In so many ways it's Brin at his best... but it's still not enough to save this one from being mediocre at best I'm afraid.
In pacing it really reminds me of his Earth novel. It starts out interesting but moderately paced, then around two thirds of the way through starts spiralling out, getting wilder and wilder.
In Earth, it worked. The ...more
In the future, everyone has an in-home kiln that they use to make life-like robotic clay duplicates of themselves. You get up in the morning lay down on the machine with a blank next to you and imprint your consciousness on the ditto. You send it out to mow the grass or to the office to work in your place etc. There are different types of dittos for dif ...more
In this story, people are a ...more
This book has a fascinating premise, nicely explored through interesting and/or likable characters -- until it spins somewhat out of control. The plot eventually becomes too convoluted for my taste. It also ventures out into realms where science fiction meets the metaphysical -- which some will enjoy more than I did.
On the whole, though, I enjoyed the notion of temporary duplicate people, tailored for particular tasks, with their memories "inloaded" back to their ...more
Brin excellently dives headfirst into a world that such readily available technology evolves. Kiln People is a book that not only breathes its built world, but fully respires it through a circulatory system of organizations, economics, relationships, and parallel technologies that Brin artfully we ...more
I think the bottom line for me is that I need to go through this mans Bibliography and read them all.
It's one of the better pairings of science fiction and detective fiction. The golem premise seems a bit wonky at first, but Brin manages to make it seem plausible enough. The puns actually grate a bit, but they don't detract from the story too much. My biggest problem with the novel is one particularly overused plot device (multiple personality disorder), which rings hollow even given the justifications provided.
I should also note that the Kindle edition had numerous typographical ...more
Existence, his latest novel, offers an unusual scenario for first contact. His ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends ...more