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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  386 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In this new book by the author of Blackcollar and the #1 New York Times-bestselling Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn imagines a technology that could alter our perception of life and death forever.

For Dr. Adrian Sommers, a split second of driving while distracted leads to tragedy-and obsession. His family destroyed, he devotes his entire being to developing Soulminder, a
Paperback, 326 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Open Road Media Science & Fantasy (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

More episodic in nature, the premise of this collection is "What if instead of dying, you get a second chance?" While many of the stories are mere mysteries in the vein of several plots in Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot", the book does take time to bring up some real mind benders.

Lacking in female presence and favoring Zahn's intricate, well-thought out plots, this book is one of a type I don't see much these days but were prevalent in the 60's and 70's. 4-stars is probably too high, but
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, scifi

Adrian Sommer hasn't been the same since the car crash that destroyed his family. Ever since, he has been obsessed with a single project: the creation of a device that he calls "Soulminder." Sommer believes in the soul as a single, indivisible entity that is expelled from the body during death. If the soul can be trapped and held, then perhaps it can be safely preserved while a body is healed. Then those impossible, untimely deaths--like the death of a child after a car accident--can be stav
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

The idea of the story was interesting enough and the writing was decent, even though I thought some use of words to describe a way a character spoke became repetitive, overall I thought it was forgettable. There was really nothing wrong with it but once I finished the book I didn't think much more about it and just moved on to read something else. It's unfortunate when I feel this way about a book and I feel I should say more about it but nothin
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

3.5 stars.

Mostly I liked the dilemmas that the Soulminder invention itself presented: a tool born from a dream, from a ruined family, in the hopes of helping other people, but whose use quickly gets perverted for recreational or even oppressive means. The aime behind the Soulminder project was almost too innocent, so much that I could only see it getting twisted at some point or other.

The novel explores some of those aspects (the
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is an instant genre classic. An inspiring mix of Michael Crichton's mastery of the science in science fiction and Robert Heinlein's mastery of the sociology of the future, this book tells the story of an invention that changes the course of the future and how humanity reacts to it.

The protagonist reflects Ian Malcolm's classic line, "...your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could th
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Soulminder completely surprised me, and I mean that in a good way. It’s the first thing I’ve read by Timothy Zahn, but I doubt it will be the last.

This one makes you think, one of the goals that science fiction often aspires to but does not always achieve.

What if you could live forever? What if anyone could live forever, if they were rich enough, or lucky enough (or unprincipled enough)? How would society change if signing up for immortality was just an ext
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I have heard so many great things about this author, who has written more than forty science fiction novels, but I was disappointed with Soulminder.

It tells the story of an invention by Adrian Sommer and Jessica Sands of a method to isolate the soul from the body. The "Soulminder" - like a heart-lung machine, works to “trap” the essence of a person who has died, so that if the body can be repaired, the soul can then be put back into it. The Soulminder becomes mankind’s ticket to immortality.

Jacob Canale
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Soulminder was an amazing book. Timothy Zahn provided a massive and addictive plot by introducing a wide variety of character, side stories, and points of view about the main story. Through deep description and intense plot twists, the author managed to tie all of this books aspects together in the end. I enjoyed this book because of its ingenious combination of political drama, action packed events, character self-struggles and world-changing decision making. This was the perfect mixture of sci ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
In a series of interconnected stories with reoccurring characters, Timothy Zahn follows Dr. Adrian Sommers from a self-absorbed, albeit altruistic inventor to the head of company that constantly needs to think through the implications and consequences his success has wrought on the world. Along the way he gains some invaluable allies that care for the concept and dream of Soulminder as he does. In the end this allows him to succeed in his last mission to preserve the escence of his dream. A work ...more
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
When it comes to stories outside the realm of Star Wars, Timothy Zahn writes some pretty interesting sci-fi tales. Soulminder is no different. However, Zahn’s approach to the story is unique. Rather than focusing on a single character or a strange civilization, he tackles the outcome of an invention. The crux of the story is what happens when you invent something so revolutionary that it changes the entire world? More importantly, how do you keep said invention from being misused? In Soulminder, ...more
Benjamin Espen
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For Dr. Adrian Sommer, a split second of driving while distracted leads to tragedy—and obsession. His family destroyed, he devotes his entire being to developing Soulminder, a technology that might have saved his son as he wavered on the edge of death. Sommers’s vision is to capture a dying person’s life essence and hold it safely in stasis while physicians heal the body from injury or disease. Years of experimentation finally end in success—but those who recognize Soulminder’s possibilities alm
Matthew Renz
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
About a quarter of the way into the book I was wondering if I was going to finish it. The premise I thought was brilliant, but I found the execution lacking (in the beginning portion of the book). By the end of the book I could hardly put it down. We follow the ethical struggles of Adrian Sommers as he tries to implement this new life-saving technology into society. Sommers wants to use the ability to store people's "souls" while their body is repaired for good. Others want to abuse this ability ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
It's been a while since I read Zahn's novels, but they remain sort of a fallback for me: I happily pick one up every now and then as a break from my other reading. In Soulminder, Zahn develops a very typical what if? scenario that traditional science fiction is all about: what if we could trap human life force (or soul) from escaping the body when it dies - thus giving doctors more time to fix the body up and then restore the "soul" to it?

The novel explores the idea mainly through the eyes of a
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of Mr. Zahn's work. Soulminder seemed a bit of a departure from his normal sci-fi. The premise of the book is intriguing for sure, and the writing, as always, is superb. The book is set up similarly to his Cobra series, with short chapters and forays into glimpses of the character's lives. I found myself wanting more of the story at the end of each chapter. It's a good read, I would recommend it.
Janine Spendlove
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I'm probably biased since there's a character in this book named Colonel Janine Spendlove, but I loved it! Great read, made me think, and had an incredibly satisfying end I never would have predicted.
Julio Biason
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, ibooks
What if souls really exist and we could capture them, store them, and then return them to the body? That's what this book is about (in a way, it's pretty close to "The Discovery" by Netflix).

In one hand, the book is not about the fact that we have souls (or where they go after we die, and things like that), but how one tool, dreamed by someone, could be explored and turned into something completely different, and how that dreamer would feel about the misuse of his tool. This is a really interest
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really cool book and concept. This is the first non-Star Wars book I have read of Zahn and I found it entertaining. The writing gets the job done. It isn't amazingly eloquent but it works fine. There was plenty of the slightly overdone potboiler tropes. Lots of characters barking out laughter or snarling at people or biting off every word as they talked. It gets a little distracting but I was able to overlook it.

The book is set in a future in which modern medicine has discovered a way to essent
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Excellent, but not quite exceptional. After reading Thrawn, I needed reassurance that Zahn's characters and plots could still thoroughly grab and hold my attention, and here Soulminder delivers. The characters are all interesting and have logical, fleshed-out motivations. The plot is divided into six different "chapters" that play out more like chronological, interconnected short stories that mostly follow the same characters over a long period of time. This means that we get to skip the busywor ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This review contains spoilers for Chapter 1.

This book was fascinating. More so for its structure than for its content, in my opinion. The book centers on the invention of a medical marvel. A method for storing the "soul" or "life-force" or whatever you want to call it, after death is discovered. You soul is held in stasis until your body can be healed and then it is reinserted and you continue about your life. All of this happens in the first chapter of the book. The rest of the book delves into
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of the middle chapter felt like extensions of what-if scenarios rather than directly connected to a coherent story, but they were still thought out with things I hadn't considered. Like almost a series of short stories around the theme of what's possible with Soulminder. The last chapter wrapped the plot up with some nice, wholesome twists, which I appreciated.

Sands's character seemed too malleable to me, she was a single-purpose driven character in the beginning, then overriding the huma
Tom Shinners
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was like an entire season of the show black mirror, but every episode is about the same technology being misused in a new way. The soul/consciousness is suddenly able to be caught and stored as it leaves a dying body, and put back in after the body is repaired. An interesting idea, and intended to benefit people as a medical tool. But people almost instantly corrupt and take advantage of the technology. I enjoyed this book a lot, even though it was quite a bit different from the usual ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid, easily read, sci-fi. This is not to say that it is a simple or light book, but that it is well written and the author has taken care to make the readers understanding paramount without dumbing anything down. The premise is interesting and handled well without wandering into some of the more annoying directions it could have gone. I really liked the way it ended, fulfilling and not entirely predictable.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is science fiction with a bit of suspense/action mixed in. The premise is awesome and very frightening. The author does not spare the reader from the possibilities of abusing the "Soulminder". The characters are good, but I did feel like the two main characters, Dr. Sommer and Dr. Sands, could have been fleshed-out better. Some of the things they said and did seems to contradict their personalities. Still, a good read.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zahn keeps delivering good reading :D

I must admit a had Zahn filed under the guy who wrote the Thrawn series (which I liked a lot) and never considered any of his other books.
I got this gem in a Humble Bundle and it was extremely nice.
Interesting idea, well developed plot that developed right until the end of the book.

Highly recommended.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Way interesting concept explored in this book - what if your soul could be held in stasis while your body was fixed/healed? How would people use/misuse this kind of device? How would it affect civilization as a whole? How would governments use it? As with all of Zahn's books, this was well written and kept me engaged, curious about where it was all heading.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Takes an interesting premise (the singularity has arrived, but it involves souls) and explores the implications through a series of short stories with recurring characters. The characters develop, but each chapter (I almost typed episode) stands alone if you know the premise.

Several stories are haunting.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Driven by his young son's accidental death, Dr. Sommers invents a technique for storing a recently dead soul in order to heal the body and reunite the two. But what will be the implications of this new technology?

While I found the sudden changes of point of view sometimes jarring, the overall story is cohesive and satisfying.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read with interesting dilemmas regarding how an ability to separate souls from bodies could be used, for both good and bad.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good story despite a few parts that didn't really make sense. But Timothy Zahn is quite good.
Emily Millikan
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Writing: meh. Raises some of the usual interesting questions about technology and life extension.
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Goodreads Librari...: [Solved] Book Description Issue 3 26 Jun 05, 2015 11:17AM  
The Sword and Laser: S&L Podcast - #190 - Timothy Zahn Minds Your Soul 4 92 Sep 27, 2014 06:57PM  

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Timothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he bec ...more

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