I’ve finished several new books, and another box came in a few days ago…

Kiln People, by David Brin, is a very intriguing book. Brin seems to have been inspired by the Chinese terracotta warriors, which are even mentioned in the book. He posits a society where one can make nanotechnological clay copies (golems) of oneself, which carry a partial copy of the mind; the clay lasts about 24 hours, after which it begins to decompose, and the copies’ experiences can be reloaded back into the original’s mind.

The main character, a private detective, releases several specialized copies of himself to help solve a complicated case; in every chapter, the copies (and sometimes the original) narrate the happenings in a stream-of-consciousness manner. This works surprisingly well for this book, given that Brin used a similar style in his last three books (the Uplift Trilogy), where I found it a little tiresome. Even so, nearly all of Brin’s books are among my favorites.

I also read two shorter books: Outward Bound, by James P. Hogan, and Genesis by Poul Anderson. Hogan’s is a “juvenile book”, in the tradition of Heinlein’s juveniles, and quite lightweight compared to his other books; no scientific or technical speculation. Even so, it’s enjoyable. Anderson’s is probably his last book – he died a couple of years ago. Here he tackles the problems of immortality and post-human societies in his characteristic way, which recalls the scandinavian sagas. This book won the 200 John W. Campbell Memorial Award; even so, I found the book oddly unsatisfying, but can’t point at specific faults.