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Mindswap by Robert Sheckley

Mindswap (original 1966; edition 2006)

by Robert Sheckley

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424624,938 (3.41)7
Authors:Robert Sheckley
Info:Orb Books (2006), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:umm...not gonna finish
Tags:audio book

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Mindswap by Robert Sheckley (1966)



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English (4)  Spanish (1)  All (5)
Showing 4 of 4
pretty over-the-top. I can't finish it because it was just too much. If it was toned down some, I think I would have liked it more. ( )
  bohemiangirl35 | Jan 15, 2013 |
A bit of a hoot of a science fiction novel in which Marvin Flynn, who cannot afford an interplanetary vacation by any other means, answers an ad to Mindswap (sort of like vacation time shares, except you swap bodies instead of houses) with a Martian. After the swap is complete he finds, to his dismay, that the other party has unscrupulously contracted his body to another vacationer, who is found to have prior claim, and absconded with Marvin's body for parts unknown. Marvin has six hours to find his own body, or be dispossessed of a physical body, which of course would mean death. What follows is a sardonic tour de farce as Marvin transfers from one alien body to another in a quest for his own. I think Douglas Adams must have been inspired by Sheckley's style for his "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books, although Adams did it better. ( )
3 vote burnit99 | Nov 28, 2012 |
Marvin Flynn is an Earthman who wishes to experience the wide universe. Being too poor to travel by spaceship to distant planets, Flynn takes the far cheaper (and, judging by the rest of the book, far more dangerous) option of mind-swapping. However, the person he mind-swaps with is actually less-than-scrupulous in his actions, resulting in Marvin being without a body, and having to take his chances in the wide universe for whatever spare bodies are on offer, while a brilliant, if unsuccessful detective, puts in all his efforts to recover Flynn's body.

The story is an interesting enough premise - Flynn planet-hopping into different bodies, experiencing a slice of life for each form (even if I would have preferred the premise to be explored further). It is also a geniunely funny book - I laughed aloud in many spots in the novel, Ganzer egg-hunting being a favourite. Well, it was both inventive and funny until it devolves into an English "medieval knights" story for much of the the latter third of the book, complete with cliched story and a lacking sense of humour. Yes, there is an explanation behind seeing an alien society in terms of Arthurian England, but the book loses much of its qualities (particularly its original premise and humour), whcih is quite unfortunate.

Sheckley's writing conveys the story that he wishes to tell clearly and simply enough, which, by my standards, is reasonable prose. However, there is one major exception to this. Sheckley seems to have a problem in that his writing contain information dumps every few chapters. Info dumps are bad writing even when they are discussing interesting science and technology, but the info dumps here are often badly-written metaphysics, complete with a plethora of made-up, unexplained words, and are often unnecessary for the plot of the novel. I would have much preffered such sections to have been omitted from the novel, and have the premise explored further.

There are many things to like here, certainly, but there's always something that prevents it from me giving this book more stars than what I have currently given it. The book is quite humorous, but the humour is not consistently present throughout the book. The writing is decent enough, except the author has a bad habit of including irrelevant and poorly-writen information dumps. The story had some inventive ideas, and an original premise, but this inventiveness fell away in the third part of the novel, too.

I've ranked the book three-and-a-half stars out of five, but by no means is each part of the book three-and-a-half stars. Some sections of the novel deserve four to five stars, some sections deserve less than two. Three-and-a-half is an attempt to comprimise between the dramatic variations in quality of the book. ( )
4 vote rojse | Nov 21, 2009 |
Pure fun from start to end and with a happy grinning contented ending. ( )
  paulsikora | Nov 12, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sheckley, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, BrianForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carano, RanieriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Darden, HowardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardini, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gällmo, GunnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, TerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMullan, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paarma, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Marvin Flynn read the following advertisement in the classified section of the Stanhope Gazette:

Gentleman from Mars, age 43, quiet, studious, cultured, wishes to exchange bodies with similarly inclined Earth gentleman. August 1-September 1, References exchanged. Brokers protected.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765315602, Paperback)

In the future, interstellar travel to alien worlds will be too expensive for most ordinary people. It certainly is for Marvin, a college student who wants to take a really good vacation. And so he signs up for what he can afford, a mindswap, in which your consciousness is swapped into the body of an alien lifeform. But Marvin is unlucky, and finds himself in the body of an interstellar criminal, a body that he has to vacate fast. But that criminal consciousness has stolen Marvin's earthly body, and Marvin has to find a body on the black market.
Travel from world to world with Marvin, each one crazier than the last, as he keeps finding far from ideal bodies in awful situations, just to stay alive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:12 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Interstellar travel to alien worlds is too expensive for Marvin, a college student in need of a good vacation. So he signs up for what he can afford: a mind swap, in which his consciousness is swapped into the body of an alien life-form. Unfortunately, Marvin finds himself in the body of an interstellar criminal a body that he has to vacate, fast. But that criminal consciousness has stolen Marvin's earthly body. Now Marvin has to find a body on the black market just to stay alive! Travel with Marvin from world to world, each one crazier than the last, as he keeps finding far-from-ideal bodies in awful situations.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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