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    Review of KILN PEOPLE by David Brin (see his website)

    Tor, January 2003

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    Imagine a world where you can make copies of yourself for the day - to shop, to run errands, to go to school. At the end of the day, you can upload memories from your dittos. Private detective Albert Morris lives in this world - sending out copies to do legwork, to sit in long stakeouts, and to meet with clients. When Albert is asked to investigate the disappearance of the inventor of the ditto technology, the mysteries start piling up and the action gets fast and furious. Will Morris and his dittos be able to prevent dueling madmen from taking new copying technology a step too far?

    Brin explores a fascinating premise and has put a lot of thought into the details. How would dittos be used and abused? What would the different protests be? What massive changes would society go through? Just how would someone deal with knowing they're the disposable copy? Brin really makes you think about the consequences of the technology. Despite the heavy topics, but Brin keeps the tone light with puns and humor mixed with the ambiance of a hardboiled detective novel. Sometimes it works, and sometimes the effect is a bit jarring.

    The best part was watching all the different Alberts diverge with different experiences as they worked on separate aspects of the mystery. It was fun following the antics of Morris and his dittos, but the plot suffers along the way. It spirals into an over-the-top metaphysical knot that feels disconnected from the rest of the book. Since the book had a noir-like feel, I think it would have been better to have an ending scaled to that instead of reaching for grand, mystic insights. Still a good book with thought-provoking concepts, but it could have been better.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/05/04

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