Startide Rising; The Postman; etc.) restricts the action to planet Earth, but still allows his imagi"/>
 

KILN PEOPLE

David Brin, Author
David Brin, Author . Tor $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0355-4
Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-84149-138-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-70397-4
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-7130-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-84149-152-3
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Bestselling novelist Brin (Startide Rising; The Postman; etc.) restricts the action to planet Earth, but still allows his imagination to roam the cosmos in this ambitious SF/mystery hybrid whose grasp occasionally exceeds its reach. Thanks to the new technology of imprinting, people in a near-future America can copy their personalities into animated clay bodies (called "dittos" or "golems"), which last a single day. Albert Morris, private investigator, is his own sidekick as he attempts to uncover the murderer of a prominent imprinting research scientist, capture a criminal mastermind specializing in ditto copyright infringement and foil a conspiracy aimed at destroying the major ditto manufacturer and pinning the blame on several Alberts. Brin deftly explores the issues of identity, privacy and work in a world where everyone is supported with a living wage and has ready access to duplication technology. The book features the author's usual style, with a lighter touch and punnish humor abounding amid the hard SF speculation. The duplication of the "ditective" makes for a challenging twist on the standard private eye narrative, allowing Morris to simultaneously lead the reader through three separate (and interacting) plot lines. The hardboiled framework and the humor mix a bit uneasily, as does the social background of a libertarian/socialist U.S.A. The book's major fault lies in the diffusion of most of the tension as expendable dittos replace vulnerable humans for much of the action. Still, the work is brightened by Brin's trademark hardheaded optimism. (Jan. 15)

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