David's Reviews > Machine Man

Machine Man by Max Barry
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's review
Jul 12, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction, audiobook
Read in July, 2012

This book is a dark satire on engineers and their ways of thinking, and on management and their behavior. Everybody behaves rather badly. The engineers think only of the technical aspects of their work, which is designing prostheses. The management people think about nothing except for their bottom line, even when it means killing or maiming employees.

Charles Neumann, the main character in the book, is an engineer. After he first lost a leg in an accident, he designed a fabulous prosthetic leg. He liked it so much, that his biological leg felt like a handicap, so he purposely had a second "accident" so that he could wear a pair of artificial legs. They had direct neural hookups, and after a while they started to "think on their own". Controlling his legs became difficult, and they sometimes acted out Neumann's feelings, and sometimes even acted out their "own" feelings. Before this transformation, Neumann was a pariah, even among his peers. But after his transformation, he became acknowledged as a leader among the engineers, and was practically worshipped by them, as well as his new girlfriend.

Parts of this book were great, while at times the plot seemed a bit predictable. Although the theme of the book is quite depressing, the gross exaggerations lend a "dark humor" to the story.
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