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Kiln People (2002)
by David Brin
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0765342618, Mass Market Paperback)Just about everyone's had a day when they've wished it were possible to send an alternate self to take care of unpleasant or tedious errands while the real self takes it easy. In Kiln People, David Brin's sci-fi-meets-noir novel, this wish has come true. In Brin's imagined future, folks are able to make inexpensive, disposable clay copies of themselves. These golems or "dittos" live for a single day to serve their creator, who can then choose whether or not to "inload" the memories of the ditto's brief life. But private investigator Albert Morris gets more than he, or his "ditective" copies, bargain for when he signs on to help solve the mysterious disappearance of Universal Kilns' co-founder Yasil Maharal--the father of dittotech.
Brin successfully interweaves plot lines as numerous as our hero's ditectives and doggedly sticks to the rules of his created dittotech while Morris's "realflesh" and clay manifestations slowly unravel the dangerous secret behind Maharal's disappearance. As Brin juggles his multiple protagonists and antagonists, he urges the reader to question notions of memory, individualism, and technology, and to answer the schizoid question "which 'you' is 'you?'" Brin's enjoyment is evident as he plays with his terracotta creations' existential angst and simultaneously deconstructs the familiar streetwise detective meme--complete with a multilayered ending. Overall, Kiln People is a fun read, with a good balance of hard science fiction and pop sensibility. --Jeremy Pugh
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:29 -0400)
"In a perilous future, disposable duplicate bodies fulfill every citizen's legal and illicit whim. Life as a 24-hour "ditto" is cheap, as Albert Morris knows. A brash investigator with a knack for trouble, he's sent plenty of clay duplicates into deadly peril then "inloaded" memories from copies that were shot, crushed, drowned...all part of a day's work." "But when Morris tackles a ring of crooks making bootleg copies of a famous actress, he trips into a secret so explosive it incites open warfare on the streets of Dittotown." "Professor Maharal, a brilliant researcher, has vanished on the verge of a revolutionary breakthrough in the art of people-xeroxing. Maharal's daughter thinks he's been kidnapped and the silvery copy of a mysterious trillionaire offers lavish rewards for locating Maharal - before awesome power falls into the wrong hands." "To uncover the truth, Morris sends one ditto after another...then his irreplaceable organic self...into a high-tech, nightmare world of "ghosts" and golems where nothing - and no one - is what they seem, memory itself is suspect, and the line between life and death may no longer exist."--BOOK JACKET.