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Kiln People

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  4,824 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews
In a perilous future where disposable duplicate bodies fulfill every legal and illicit whim of their decadent masters, life is cheap. No one knows that better than Albert Morris, a brash investigator with a knack for trouble, who has sent his own duplicates into deadly peril more times than he cares to remember.

But when Morris takes on a ring of bootleggers making illegal
Mass Market Paperback, 569 pages
Published December 2002 by Tor Science Fiction (first published January 2002)
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Dec 23, 2015 Apatt rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
“Sometimes you’re the grasshopper. Some the ant. The difference now is that now you can be both, the very same day.”*

That quote sums up the basic theme of Kiln People nicely. This was going to be my last book of 2015 but I underestimated its length. From the synopsis I expected it to be a quick, breezy fun read, but when I downloaded it on my Kindle I was surprised to find it's almost 600 pages long. A lot of it is still quite fun though, but it did outstay its welcome a little.

Kiln People hits
Feb 10, 2011 j rated it it was ok

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:
Mar 17, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
Dec 03, 2009 Ric rated it it was amazing
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

Apr 15, 2012 Joey-Joey-Jo-Jo rated it it was amazing
Jun 25, 2012 That70sheidi rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, sci-fi, 2012
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
Dev Null
May 24, 2009 Dev Null rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Michael Marshal Smith

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
Христо Блажев
Двойници на килограм:

Запознаването ми с Дейвид Брин започна отзад напред – прочетох първо “Битие”, а после и поредицата за Ъплифта, и в двата случая останах впечатлен. Наскоро в едни кашони за 5 лв. ми попадна и “Килн хора”, нямаше как да пропусна. Шантава книга, която всички фенове отдавна са чели, затова и няма да се разпростирам излишно върху нея.
Близкото бъдеще, в което технологията за създаване на глинени големи е променила революционно социалната и
Jan 16, 2013 JBradford rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2008 Arthur rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sep 05, 2007 Tracey rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
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
Mar 19, 2009 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2009 Wayne rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 03, 2010 icowdave rated it did not like it
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
Aug 18, 2008 Mya rated it really liked it
I know that this cover picture looks big, but the actual book seemed pretty, darn big when I picked it up. It's a thick work, and it took me a bit to get through it. Recommended to me by a co-worker, I was told a few brief details, namely that the story revolves around the concept that in the future, a man can transfer memories and a portion of his soul to clay golems. For example, I could make three copies of myself, send one to work, send one to do the house and yard work and another to go to ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Brian rated it liked it
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
Mathew Walls
Nov 01, 2016 Mathew Walls rated it did not like it
I don't think I've ever changed my opinion on a book quite so dramatically while reading it. Half way through I loved almost everything about it - some of the language use is irritating, eg. "the maestra", "ditective", etc. - but otherwise it's a neat noir-style detective story in a setting that allows for some interesting twists.

By the 80% mark I wasn't so sure about it. Probably only a three-star book. By 90% I was down to one star and just powering through so I could say I finished it. So how
Jan 11, 2008 Donna rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
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
Oct 22, 2007 korty rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 15, 2008 Chessa rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 21, 2008 Sandi rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008, sci-fi
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.

Mr. Blair
Jul 20, 2008 Mr. Blair rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Ivan Bogdanov
Sep 17, 2016 Ivan Bogdanov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Тази книга направи бум през 2002-а като излезе, но тогава се разминахме с нея. Сега я прочетох и я препоръчвам. Книгата започва като леко хумористичен "ноар" детективски роман, съвсем с стил Чандлър и държи така до към последните 2/3, където фантастиката вече силно наделява. Представете си Марлоу, само че от изпечена глина и почти неуязвим. А сега си го представете дублиран в няколко образа, които едновременно ровят по случката.
Ако ви е харесало - това е вашият роман!
В последната трета книгата в
Karen Wyle
Apr 23, 2013 Karen Wyle rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2010 Casey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fun, audio, nerd
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.
Sep 14, 2009 Avani rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Sep 23, 2013 Sascha Gabriel rated it really liked it
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.
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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
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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.” 9 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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