Mindscan Mass Market Paperback – Dec 27 2005
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Jake Sullivan watched his father, suffering from a rare condition, collapse and linger in a vegetative state, and he's incredibly paranoid because he inherited that condition. When mindscanning technology becomes available, he has himself scanned, which involves dispatching his biological body to the moon and assuming an android body. In possession of everything the biological Jake Sullivan had on Earth, android Jake finds love with Karen, who has also been mindscanned. Meanwhile, biological Jake discovers there is finally another, brand-new cure for his condition. Moreover, Karen's son sues her, declaring that his mother is dead, and android Karen has no right to deprive him of his considerable inheritance. Biological Jake, unable to leave the moon because of the contract he signed, becomes steadily more unstable, until finally, in a fit of paranoia, he takes hostages. Sawyer's treatment of identity issues--of what copying consciousness may mean and how consciousness is defined--finds expression in a good story that is a new meditation on an old sf theme, the meaning of being human. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Sawyer's most ambitious work to date; a brilliant and innovative novel that positively sings with humor, insight, and depth.” ―SF Site
“Sawyer lucidly explores fascinating philosophical conundrums.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“A tale involving courtroom drama, powerful human emotion and challenging SF mystery. Sawyer juggles it all with intelligence and far-reaching vision worthy of Isaac Asimov.” ―Starlog
“With his customary flair for combining hard science with first-rate storytelling, Sawyer imagines a future of all-too-real possibilities.” ―Library Journal
“This tightly plotted hard-SF novel offers plenty of philosophical speculation on the ethics of bio-technology and the nature of consciousness.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A delightful read that grips the reader with engaging characters and cosmic ideas.” ―Winnipeg Free PressSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Jake Sullivan, scion of a Toronto brewery fortune, has a problem. The blood vessels in his brain might unexpectedly explode. It happened to his father during a family fight. The result isn't terminal. It leaves the victim in a vegetative state. Jake decides to take advantage of a new technology to bypass the threat. He'll have his mind scanned and his consciousness copied into an almost indestructible artificial body. Immortality, that quest so long engaged in by a fragile humanity, may be imminent. His "shed skin", the original, flawed body, will be shipped to the far side of the Moon to live luxuriously until "natural causes" prevail. The relocation leaves behind a lonely dog, a confused girl friend and a concerned mother.
As might be expected, a new threat emerges. Give a lawyer an opening and yet another courtroom drama enfolds. What says the law on two minds of one person? Which is the "person", the "mind" or the body?Read more ›
What drives people to take this extreme step? The two protagonists make this choice for different reasons. Karen Bessarian, a highly successful writer in her eighties, doesn't accept the fast approaching end of her life. She has more books to write and life to enjoy, so she chooses a younger body. Jake, the rich forty-something heir to a Canadian brewery, carries his father's genetic marker for a brain defect. The older Sullivan collapsed into a vegetative state after a row between father and son when Jake was 17. Jake had put his life on hold to avoid stress and other triggers for brain damage. Meeting at a sales event for the Mindscan technology, Karen and Jake develop their relationship in different ways - as biological selves and as mind "instantiations" with new perfect bodies.
Once the "uploads" have passed their first examinations they are let loose on their family and community with varying results. Tongue in cheek, Sawyer cannot resist some small political stabs contrasting US society at the time [as projected from present conditions] with an increasingly broadminded and left-leaning Canadian one.Read more ›
Well, two flaws leap out at you before you're more than halfway through. The first is Sawyer's vicious anti-Americanism. Look, I'm Canadian and I think Dubya's a dolt just as much as the next Johnny Canuck, but geez, Rob! Way over the top!
The second (related? who knows?) flaw is Sawyer's even more visceral anti-religionist stance. It's his right to have it, I suppose, but it gets in the way of his plotting, since he can't craft a 'believeable believer' to save his life. He comes off as smug in his sure-fire knowledge that whatever science can't explain now, it will be able to in the future. Again, I'm just as anti-fundy-costal as the next guy, but there doesn't even seem to be room in Rob's world for spirituality...and that alienated me as a reader.
The final flaw is a forced, contrived, hokey, gimmicky ending. You'll know what I mean when you get to it. The climax was great...I was turning pages like wildfire...and then I just hit a wall as he covered a whole 'nother novel in the space of two pages and ended the book. Ka-BLAM!
A good read--the name Robert J. Sawyer assures that much--but it could have been so much better.