Albert Morris
Created by David Brin

When a man's partner is killed, you're supposed to do something about it. Like whip up another one.

If you're up on your Jewish folk tales, you'll probably get a real kick out of David Brin's Kiln People (2002), a P.I./sci-fi hybrid set in the not-so-distant future where artificial people (golems) can be shaped from clay and have a soul stamped on them, making a sort of cheap, temporary copy of the original person. Temporary, because these "dittos" usually only last a day or so, although the memories of that day can be "inloaded' back into the original person.

All of which makes it pretty easy (and inexpensive) for nervy, hard-boiled gumshoe ALBERT MORRIS (no, not the "Feelings" guy) to run his one-man agency. He can do the brain work, but whip up a few "dirt-cheap" copies of himself to handle the boring or routine stuff. Or the very dangerous stuff. It seems Albert has already sent a slew of dittos to their doom, but hey, it's all part of a day's work.

The technology comes in particularly handy when Albert finds himself going up against a gang making ditto bootlegs of a famous actress, and gets involved in an investigation of the disappearance of the man who invented the ditto technology in the first place, Universal Kilns' co-founder Yasil Maharal, and

The novel juggles multiple viewpoints, switching back and forth between various characters and their golems, and poses some interesting questions about memory, individualism, and technology. And, intentionally or not, there are some very amusing scenes.

David Brin is a popular and best-selling science fiction writer whose novels include Startide Rising and The Postman.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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