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Kiln People

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  3,669 ratings  ·  192 reviews
Just about everyone's had a day when they've wished it were possible to send an alternate self to take care of unpleasant or tedious errands while the real self takes it easy. In Kiln People, David Brin's sci-fi-meets-noir novel, this wish has come true. In Brin's imagined future, folks are able to make inexpensive, disposable clay copies of themselves. These golems or "di ...more
Kindle Edition, 501 pages
Published (first published January 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joel


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 too especially). I picked this one up because it was lauded and I loved the concept: a future society where people sit on their asses on the couch and send out disposable one-use-only clones (made out of clay and color-coded based on brain power and durability, from dumb-as-Gumby Greens to sleek, efficient Ebonies) to do the stuff they don't want to do:
...more
Michael
I was really disappointed with this book.

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
Ric
In the rarified sub-genre of SF doppelgangers, this must be, I am sure, a favorite. Years after I first read this book, I am still thinking about it, so there must be something here.

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
Dev Null
May 24, 2009 Dev Null rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Michael Marshal Smith
Brilliant!

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
That70sheidi
As an inherently lazy person - deeply, happily lazy - the idea of Kiln People appeals to me. Someone to do my laundry, awesome! However....

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
Ben
I enjoyed this book just as much the second time around. While certain twists or plot developments were more obvious to me, and I found it a lot easier to see where Brin was going as my incomplete recollections of the story were prompted on, I got a lot more out the skill in which he wove the story together and his style of tell-telling.

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
Christopher McKitterick
KILN PEOPLE is the most fun I had reading a book in a long while, and highly inventive (despite what a few scholars have said - jealousy, I suspect). It's big, and it gets a bit long in the 3rd quarter of the book, but it's really worth the read. I love Brin's fresh look at the definition of "soul" and his toying with transcendence. All in a funny, suspenseful, intriguing page-turner. Great SF!

I went into KILN PEOPLE with a bit of hesitation, expecting yet another take
on cloning or golems, and
...more
Tracey
previously read 1 Mar 2003

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
Jacqueline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wayne
some creepy guy (who looked just like the simpsons' comic book guy) recommended this to me in my favorite used book store. he claimed it should have won Hugo instead of Neil Gaiman. I was hooked from the beginning, partially because the premise of the novel resonated with me. It was a fantastic read up until the last third of the book, which takes place over approximately ten minutes of the story's timeline. Some authors don't know how to edit.
Brian
This book has an absolutely awesome backdrop with wonderful characters.

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
Arthur
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
icowdave
As much as I like David Brin's work, I just could not finish this book. No problems with the writing per se but the story was really ridiculous.

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
JBradford
When I read Brin’s Existence last month, I apologized in my review about giving it five stars, which I do not normally do for novels, but I had to do it not only because of the outstanding story but also and mostly because of the sheer talent displayed by the author. So—I went out in search of other things by Brin, and now I want to give this one six or seven stars! This novel is an incredible tour-de-force by a extremely intelligent writer who clearly loves to play with his writing skills. As w ...more
Donna
Well, I stuck it out all the way to the end and never did find any redeeming qualities in this sci-fi novel. Confusing, irritating, and ultimately pointless, IMHO. Set in a far future time populated by copies of ourselves, created out of clay whenever desired in a home kiln. No longer do people need to subject themselves to the boring routine of work, or the dangers of police work, or any other undesired activities. Just send a "ditto". There's grey ones that are more intelligent, purple ones fo ...more
korty
The lighter side of near future detective thrillers. Well, only in terms of the detective element. The SF side of things is amazing. David Brin has a generally much more optimistic view of the future, and it shows in his personable PI Albert Morris who would rather talk his way out of a confrontation as opposed to Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs who likes to bathe in the entrails of anyone who even slightly annoys him. OK that is an exaggeration, but you get my point.

In this story, people are a
...more
Chessa
Feb 25, 2009 Chessa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Altered Carbon, Fans of Neal Stephenson, Cyberpunk fans
Recommended to Chessa by: my husband! And other cyberpunk fans. ;)
Shelves: sf_fantasy
This was a GREAT book. Fans of Snow Crash or Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon would love this, too. Albert is a detective in a world where "dittoing" - making copies of yourself - makes the world turn. Instead of working, people make copies of themselves (different color golems = different skills and different prices) to do their work for them - a green to wash your toilets and run errands, an ebony to do very detail oriented tasks, etc. War is run much like a football game, only with even more e ...more
Sandi
Back in 2002, my daughter gave me a signed first-edition of this book. David Brin has always been one of my favorite authors and I was delighted to see a new novel by him. I sat down to read it and made it through about 40 pages. A couple of years later, I tried again. I don't think I even made it that far. Well, I've been on a reading frenzy the last few months and had finished everything else in my to-read pile, so I pulled this book off the shelf again. I was determined to finish.

Fortunately,
...more
Mr. Blair
The story was interesting and it forced me to think about what exactly we value regarding human-ness. In the world where copies of humans are made easily, a significant gray area exists - what exactly makes a human, human? So thinking about that was interesting. It was also interesting thinking about having all of these parallel lives being lived simultaneously. So you wanted to be a chef AND run a restaurant AND be an engineer? Great! Make your copies go do that stuff. Then inload their memorie ...more
Karen Wyle
I'm rounding up just a bit here.

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
Avani
I dislike many of Brin's books, but I found Kiln People very compelling. The background is that humanity has found a way to live in parallel by replicating themselves into golems that live only one day. We follow the many incarnations of a detective as they wander through a city, independently solving a case and learning more about the nature of what it is to be a golem vs. a human. The ending was weak, but the book is thought-provoking enough to be worthwhile regardless.
Malcolm
Kiln People is an audacious slice-in-the-life of a speculative future where people can parcel themselves into ‘Surrogates’ that accomplish different tasks and errands depending on their make and model.

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
Casey
This was one of the most fun books I've read in a while. Though it took a little patience getting used to the slang and culture of this book's setting, it was well worth it. I really enjoyed following the multiple threads of the story, character development, and multifaceted vision of a possible future world. Part detective, sci-fi, spiritual, and philosophical this had my brain tingling with possibility. Highly recommended.
Jjlupa
Though in some ways the ending was a little big for me, in general, this was an absolutely terrific bit of sci-fi mystery. The treatment of the cloning topics was terrific, and the storytelling was more than compelling enough to pull you through some of the more recitative sections.

I think the bottom line for me is that I need to go through this mans Bibliography and read them all.
Meh
I liked this one a lot, even if the characters aren't that original. It's kind of a private eye mystery with lots of clones running around. It's very gripping, very interesting. However, he went a little quantum/mystic on me towards the end, that was a little bit of a letdown. Still, a great book.
KristenR
I had high hopes for this book. I love stories that cross the SF and mystery genres, and I'm always intrigued by the idea of copying personality. This just got bogged down with so many copies of all the characters running around simultaneously, with little distinction between them. I was very disappointed.
Sascha Gabriel
I would have given this a 5 but for the ending, which did not sit 100% right with the rest of the novel. LOVE Brin though and look forward to reading all his works on day (I'm already a fair way through his catalogue.) This was a 4.5 really but you can't give half stars. Gripping from the first page though.
Robert P Poole
A good fun yarn

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
Dmack
Makes you want to vote for/against (I keep vacillating) stem cell research; cloning and that whole thang!! But would love to see this movie made!!!!
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14078
David Brin is a scientist, speaker, and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Existence, his latest novel, offers an unusual scenario for first contact. His ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends
...more
More about David Brin...
Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, #2) The Postman The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, #3) Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, #1) Foundation's Triumph (Second Foundation Trilogy, #3)

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“...where were answers to the truly deep questions? Religion promised those, though always in vague terms, while retreating from one line in the sand to the next. Don't look past this boundary, they told Galileo, then Hutton, Darwin, Von Neumann, and Crick, always retreating with great dignity before the latest scientific advance, then drawing the next holy perimeter at the shadowy rim of knowledge.” 8 likes
“True brilliance has a well-known positive correlation with decency, much of the time--a fact the rest of us rely on, more than we ever know. The real world doesn't roil with as many crazed artists, psychotic generals, dyspeptic writers, maniacal statesmen, insatiable tycoons, or mad scientists as you see in dramas.” 5 likes
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