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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein meets 2001 (including HAL)
There has been one really nice thing about both Frederik Pohl entries in the SF Masterworks series - they are good old-fashioned stories that I understand, with no bizarre concepts or abstractions for me to get my head round. However, that in no way diminishes their brilliance or their impact - this was a gripping read from start to finish, that had me laughing on some...
Published on 9 Mar 2001

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written and entertaining, but a bit dated
I enjoyed this book. The story was good, and it was well-written. However, compared with modern sci-fi, it felt dated- I always felt I was reading a book set in the 1970s rather than the future. This is largely because of the changes Pohl failed to predict, for example:
- Moore's law. Computers are the size of rooms.
- Sexual equality. Wives and nurses are...
Published 24 months ago by Martin Wilson


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein meets 2001 (including HAL), 9 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
There has been one really nice thing about both Frederik Pohl entries in the SF Masterworks series - they are good old-fashioned stories that I understand, with no bizarre concepts or abstractions for me to get my head round. However, that in no way diminishes their brilliance or their impact - this was a gripping read from start to finish, that had me laughing on some occasions and almost crying on others. What person could read this book and not feel the pain and suffering inflicted on Roger in the name of science ? When Roger realises that he is the next candidate for the Man Plus project, his terror is both palpable and understandable - who among us would not react the same way ? There is only one thing about the book that makes it less than perfect - the problem of the computers. Pohl refers to complex, room sized IBM's (of which only two exist in his entire United States), and the problem of providing even moderately powerful mobile computers for the mission to Mars. That may have been reality in the 60's and 70's, but it's a bit laughable to those of us who live amongst laptops and Palm Pilots, and detracts from the feel of the future the author is trying to convey. Still, it's a minor quibble, and the gobsmacking surprise of an ending more than makes up for it. All in all, a brilliant addition to the 'man on Mars' idea.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Sci-Fi., 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This really is a well written and entertaining book.
Set in the near future in a world living under the shadow of a world war, the race is well and truly on to colonise Mars with the political orientation of the Americans very subtle and true. The politicians and Scientists are using technology to adapt a human for the rigours of living on Mars. Often refered to in the narrative as a 'monster' the human experiment is gradually altered in to a half human/machine - a cyborg - fully changed and prepared for life on another planet. We are taken under the skin of the main character and how he deals with the transformation and leaves his human side and family behind.
I felt that there were similarities to 'Frankenstein' in that human interferance and the gradual change into the 'monster' were fully addressed and also a vague memory of 'Robocop' with the human alterations still having a very human side to the whole story. There does also appear to be a dark humorous side to the novel as well - very tongue in cheek.
The Sci-fi masterworks has at the moment two classic releases by Pohl in its stable - certainly Man Plus and Gateway are superb examples of the Sci-fi genre. Another Must!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting., 1 Feb 2004
By 
J. Neal "jneal" (Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Having read my first Frederik Pohl; "Jem" earlier this year, I was keen to read more, and Man Plus doesn't disappoint. It's a precursor to many more recent Martian novels and unlike the Barsoomian nonsense of Edgar Rice Burroughs which I read as a boy, or the politically intense Kim Stanley Robinson, Man Plus explores the individual cost and emotional journey of a single Martian colonist. It really is a unique and clever approach, with Mars itself being relegated to a supporting role in the story. Pohl handles the alien [as a concept] very well and there's an overarching strangeness and a sense of isolation to this novel that could only be conjured by a writer with a soul, for which, I can only admire him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A modern day Frankenstein, 14 Jun 2005
By 
D. M. York (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Man plus comes as the forebear to many novels about the colonisation of alien worlds. Although this book is far more political in its content than many others. It would have been very easy to immerse the story in the buildup of political tension occuring in the unimpossible future of Earth, just as it could have been very easy to allow Mars swallow the story entirely and in fact turn it into a fictional account of adapting to the environment of another world (try Ben Bova for such reading). However Man Plus looks at the personal and individual costs of beginning a colonisation.
As a volunteer for the Man Plus programme Roger must be stripped of his humanity, the flesh that identifies him and even his very perceptions of reality as he is remade to be a new life form. Through this the novel allows glimpses of both Roger's inner torment as well political debates that the team that must manufacture him face.
In some ways I wish that there had been more of Mars in this novel, as it is relegated to just two short chapters. Though the big point about this novel isn't about how man will live on Mars, it is about what he must face before he can live there. A very intelligent piece of science fiction.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking twist. Come on, Hollywood, 17 Nov 2002
By 
Tony Barrell "pop scholar" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
So many stories about Mars, particularly recent ones, are obsessed with terraforming the red planet. What Pohl does in this absorbing classic is turn that idea on its head, and have mankind surgically altered to suit Mars. With well-drawn characters, a page-turning pace and a fantastically sinister surprise ending, this is a thought-provoking tale. And Pohl takes little more than 200 pages to tell it (please take note, Kim Stanley Robinson, with your forest-stripping doorstep Martian trilogy). Two things amaze me: that Man Plus was written so long ago (in the 1970s), and that it hasn't been made into a major Hollywood movie. David Lynch, no stranger to the subject of physical deformity (maybe it should be "reformity" in this case), would do a great job.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows how a well written story will always work., 9 July 2003
This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
In a Science Fiction novel, humanity is often measured by the fall of empires and the turn of the galactic wheel. Man Plus focuses on humanity as it affects an individual. The sheer joy, and indeed sometimes great sadness, of this novel comes from the emotions pounding through Tarraway as he journeys from man to "man plus". We see how it affects his family and his friends, and we see how his actions affect them.
The story of whether or not Tarraway succeeds in becoming adapted for Martian life is handled with panash by a writer whose simple yet eloquent style I have come to admire, but as is often the case it is the journey to that end that is the most rewarding part. And in this novel that reward is high indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any sci-fi fan, 3 Jan 2009
This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Like many best of breed sci-fi stories, this book has the human condition in the centre. It is enjoyable for the great story telling, plausible but good sci-fi plot, a good bunch of characters and a fantastic twist in the end. If you are that way inclined, the book also allows you to approach the subject of 'what makes us human' question from a philosophical angle. The psychological state of the Cyborg was a little too shallow for my taste, but any more dwelling into this theme would probably remove the book from sci-fi category and bore some of its audience. This year I'm going through the masterworks of sci-fi list and it is interesting to see that the best sci-fi books and stories generally come from the 40's generation of writers like Pohl. Probably one of the first of its kind. A must read for any sci-fi fan. The end made me think that there should be sequel of some sort to explore the cliffhanger in the end and I found out that a sequel was indeed published called "Mars Plus" in 1994, but the reviews aren't that good and it clearly doesn't follow onto the path of the first book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pohl at is best - a great read, 19 Oct 2007
By 
Crazy Seahorse "Crazy Seahorse" (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Frederik Pohl, I think mainly because his stories work at many levels. This book is one of his best and deserves to be in an S.F.Masterworks series. Although this novel is primarily about what it might take to engineer a man and put him on Mars, it is also about manipulation, in a variety of sometimes surprising ways.

In engineering a man for Mars, Pohl considers to what extent you would need to engineer his mind, as Roger, the central character is transformed into a freak. A clever twist is that he is not the first to go through the transformation and so he has to live with the knowledge of what he looks like and what outsiders really think of him - particularly as he was such an outsider himself.

Some aspects of the novel do not stand up well to the passage of time, but the central themes are timeless. The ending is superb and I am sure has inspired others, so all in all I thoroughly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars man plus, 1 Nov 2010
This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
absolutely fascinating book im on my fourth copy at the moment as i lend them to friends who keep them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roger That - One Way Trip, 19 Sep 2013
This review is from: Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Torraway is the astronaut come machine among the select in this futuristic pathway to interplanetary exploration from a world in turmoil and scant resources. The twist is embedded in a web of escapist pursuits, obscured by human frailties.

A touch dated but a relevant read and given Mars focus these day - it certainly pohlsaway ... Enjoyed.
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Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Frederik Pohl (Paperback - 11 May 2000)
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