cover image MINDSCAN


Robert J. Sawyer, . . Tor, $24.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1107-8

This tightly plotted hard SF stand-alone novel from Hugo and Nebula winner Sawyer (Hybrids , etc.) offers plenty of philosophical speculation on the ethics of bio-technology and the nature of consciousness, but few surprises. To evade a rare medical condition, Canadian Jake Sullivan, heir to the Sullivan Brewery fortune, contracts with Immortex to be Mindscanned, his consciousness copied and uploaded into an android body. At Immortex, Jake meets elderly children's book author Karen Bessarian, a fellow Mindscan, who wants to retain control of her copyrights as long as possible—which may be centuries, since no one knows how long their manufactured bodies may live. Their originals (aka "shed skins") are taken to High Eden, a private "retirement village" on the far side of the moon, to live the rest of their lives in luxurious isolation. Strangely unprepared for the alienation he encounters as a Mindscan, Jake becomes Karen's lover. Then Karen's original dies and her son sues to inherit her estate. Meanwhile, Jake's original learns of a cure for his medical condition—only to discover, after successful treatment, that he may not leave High Eden. The novel's near-future setting—a socially liberal Canada that provides a haven from fundamentalist Christian–controlled America—may excite as much interest as the Mindscan concept. Agent, Ralph M. Vicinanza. (Apr. 6)