Ryandake's Reviews > Machine Man

Machine Man by Max Barry
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's review
Aug 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: the-good-shit
Read in March, 2014

boy, nobody knows how to take a what-if to the very furthest point of its logical conclusion better than max barry.

in this book, the question begins with a dissatisfaction: the flawed engineering of the human body. then it asks: what if we could re-engineer it? via mechanical and computer engineering, not nano- or biotech. max barry's answer to that question will undoubtedly surprise you.

this book is both thoroughly outrageous and logically relentless. the main character is a nerd on nerd steroids: ruthless, addicted to logic, emotionally AWOL. he lives for the puzzle--how to improve things. when he is injured in an accident, he turns this tunnel-vision attention to improving the human body.

you won't believe how often you'll be saying: i want that feature. if you are old enough to have arthritic knees and trifocals, you'll be drooling over the possibilities.

but all these improvements come with a price, often paid in blood and pain. in barry's book, the escalating consequences of re-engineering the body start out horrible and end up unspeakably gruesome. but through it all, the voice of our narrator-engineer is just sublimely funny. he is such a geek. an absolutely unforgettable, oddly tender, emotionally tone-deaf geek.

the book also features a wonderful send-up of corporations (of course, does anybody do that better than max?) and some inspired character names (really, you should read it just for the character names). give this one a chance, and i promise you'll never look at your body the same again.

ps: even better the second time around.
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