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Kil'n People Paperback – 5 Dec 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New edition edition (5 Dec. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841491527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841491523
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 17.7 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 662,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Brin is a scientist, public speaker and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

David's latest novel - Existence - is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers... a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril.

David's non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Brin's 1989 ecological thriller - Earth - foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once. A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. These include the award-winning Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy.

As a public speaker, Brin shares unique insights -- serious and humorous -- about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. He appears frequently on TV, including several episodes of "The Universe" and History Channel's "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS."

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD - the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) - followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute. His technical patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

Website: http://www.davidbrin.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/davidbrin1

Product Description

Review

This is not just a can't-wait-for-time-to-read-it book, but is clearly in the much higher category of don't-dare-interrupt-my-reading ... Underneath the frenetic story of our hero trying in multiple forms to save the world, are some very real questions about the nature of identity, selfhood and the soul. (NEWBOOKS.MAG)

A slick, thoughtful novel that shows not only Brin's immense story telling skills, but also the diversity of his range and imagination, confirming his place at the top of contemporary SF (ENIGMA)

The Uplift series: 'Brin writes space opera with rare panache . . . multi-layered, tightly plotted and excellently written (SFX)

Exceptionally vivid, imaginative and multi-layered ...Brin's detective story unrolls itself with the intelligence and finesse of a Bach fugue, does a fine line in wry humour, and asks some pointed questions about the nature of consciousness and reality (FOCUS)

Book Description

In KIL'N PEOPLE, award-winning SF writer David Brin has imagined a new future for mankind, as thrilling as it is terrifying. Be warned! It may be our tomorrow.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 31 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
As with many of David Brins works, this novel is set on a highly imaginitive and detailed future. The core concept is that people can make copies of themselves. These copies only last for 1 day and their thoughts and experiences can be 'inloaded' by the real person before the 'dittos' dissolve.
This is a lighthearted piece, but it also makes some interesting philosophical and metaphysical points re the nature of self.
The plot revolves around the investigative work of a private detective and this allows him to both explore and explain the world around him. There are a few plot devices..copies can't make copies; copies are not exact duplicates but can be enhanced or detracted from (for instance to make them more able to study or even to be more obedient)
There is a large touch of the Philip Jose Farmers about the novel though, particularly as the various plot threads come back together for the final denouemen. My main complaint being the levels of deux ex machinery, which I found a little hard to swallow.
In conclusion.
I noticed that one of the other reviewers mentions 'The Practice Effect' and I'd agree that they are similar works. Both start with an interesting premise, but have a relatively slight plot and neither quite live up to what I would regard as the mainstream SF works that DB has written (that is his The Uplift novels).
Worth reading, but not Mr Brins best work.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Paul Dennis on 10 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
DAVID BRIN has always had a talent for inventing new twists to familiar science, and in Kiln People he's come up with a cracker.
Bursting with ideas, memorable characters and witty new slang, his novel propels us into a colourful and fully realised future. In it, the technique called "soulistics" makes it possible to imprint a copy of a human soul's "standing wave" into a specially prepared clay duplicate to produce short-lived autonomous copies of the original human. These "dittos" live for just 24 hours. Millions of people lead multiple lives and transfer memories back from their clay selves.
Albert Morris is a private detective who uses dits for his tedious assignments. His latest case begins as a simple ditnapping but soon turns into something far more profound as Albert comes up against not one but three evil geniuses using soulistics for their own ends. The plot makes frequent and knowing use of pulp fiction plot devices, but Brin explores the ramifications of copying human souls into disposable slave bodies. Fun to read and thought-provoking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 9 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
In the Morris Dance, raffishly-clad men silently gyrate around a great circle. Their colourful costumes are in stark contrast with their stern expressions as they dance their ancient, arcane ritual. When the dance ends, it doesn't cease with definite closure. Slowly, the action winds down with various dancers casually leaving the circle until none remain. As you watch the performance, you discern no meaning, no purpose to the noiseless pirouettes. The dance is an empty achievement, devoid of intent or result.
It's not hard to believe David Brin was inspired by the Morris Dance in writing The Kiln People. Not only is the protagonist named Albert Morris, but the story rests on the "lives" of Morris' clones. These "dittos" weave and pirouette through meaningless encounters with others of their kind, equally colourful, equally empty of value. They are temporary projections of their "rigs" [o"rig"inal real humans], but not true clones. Their skin colours reflect their intended role - black for "focused study," grey for general use, green for cleaning toilets and so on. The dittos have the original humans' memories implanted in them. They are then sent off to accomplish assigned tasks within their 24 hour life span. A "salmon reflex" urges them to return "home" to the rig and upload memories of their day's activities.
For Morris' dittos these activities are often investigative. Albert Morris is a PI [private investigator] - the Sam Spade of the twenty-somethingth century. Like all such characters, he has led a life fraught with danger, but it's his clay golems who suffer the risks. Brin, like his predecessors, uses this story to step up the pace of Morris' investigative life. Inevitably, this means the clone buffer is somehow eroded and Morris must confront his antagonists directly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MrShev on 18 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book is great - a society that creates clay avatars that can do your bidding, and in the case of the main character, private investigating. The puns come thick and fast and the there are loads of ideas, some of which are intriguing and downright prophetic...
...but, however great the idea is one feels that Mr Brin has hung the book on that idea and that alone, and although the idea is a strong one the characters and the plot are the puny friends who tag along and are not strong enough to stand up for themselves. I didn't really empathise with anyone nor care what happened to them. One thing that Star Wars taught us is that great science fiction, no matter how good the science is, needs to be great fiction as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Clarke on 22 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the best way to encapsulate Brin's latest book is its own (UK edition) tagline: "A Future Thriller". It's neither space opera nor overly-cerebral: for the most part, it's a fast-paced near-future tale that has plenty of ideas but plays down the cerebral in favour of plot.
_Kil'n People_ is set in our world a few generations down the line, at a time when society has been transformed by the widespread availability of the technology to make "dittos". Dittos are not organic clones, but recyclable clay copy-people imprinted with their maker's abilities/personality/soul, finetuned to equip them for their designated tasks - and designed to disintegrate after one day's service, with the optional ability to 'inload' the memories of their brief lives back to their originator. Dittos do all the jobs that real people love to hate, or that are considered far too dangerous to risk one's true body in, leaving real folk free to do as they please. For many, this means finding creative ways to stave off boredom, or to experience new extremes of behaviour by proxy.
The implications are intriguing, and are explored almost as fully as the confines of the break-neck pace will allow: the decadence, the boredom, the proxy wars, the impact upon human relationships and religious beliefs. Characterisation isn't a strong point, but Brin has great fun with his fictional environment and his count-the-twists plot, and for much of the novel you'll find yourself borne along on an infectious wave of ditto-led puns and tantalising glimpses of social detail. It has the odd thought-provoking line courtesy of the narrators' dittos exploring their independence, but on the whole the concern here is for an entertaining story and a few scientific extrapolations.
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