Reading Journal Entry: Kiln People by David Brin

Brin has been one of my favorite modern science fiction authors; his one failing is that he tends to let plots spiral out of control. Kiln People is a stand-alone work, and although the twists and turns get a bit grandiose, he manages to keep everything under control and wrap up most of the loose ends in a neat little explanatory package. Which is no little challenge, because this isn't just a very ambitious science fiction work, it's a mystery as well, and it's written from multiple points of view (who are all the same person).

Kiln People takes place in a world where you can literally send yourself to work and stay home to play computer games. You can create disposable versions of yourself. These 'dittos' are imprinted into special clay that begins to decay a short time after imprinting - you 'upload' their experiences back into your head at the end of the day.

The world looks very different with an unlimited supply of artifical golems running around. Brin explores it through the character of Albert Morris, private investigator. Morris does most of his investigative work through golems, keeping his 'realbody' at home when possible. So we get slices of life from multiple golem perspectives as different iterations of Albert pursue different lines of investigation.

I believe one of the quotes on the back of the book used the phrase 'intellectually engaging'. It caught my eye, and I haven't been able to abandon the phrase. Brin's work is so interesting. I can forgive the occasional digressions and meanderings.

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