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Kil'n People Paperback – 5 Dec 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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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: 10.8 x 3.8 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 4 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
A futuristic fantasy with as much swash-buckling derring-do as any medieval romance, Kiln People features an intriguing mix of real humans and their clay dittos (or golems), clone-like duplicates which have all the characteristics of the individual real people who create them, including their memories, but which live for only 24 hours. Albert Morris and his dittos (ditectives) hope to find the killer of the real Professor Maharal, one of the founders of Universal Kilns, the maker of dittos, and prevent the world of the future from falling into the hands of an evil mastermind who could change the very essence of human nature.
No one reads a book like this for its deep philosophical insights. It is an entertainment, filled with intricate twists of plot and subplot, a confusion of real and dittoed identities, and non-stop, Superhero action, along with a great deal of humor. Puns and word play, especially in the chapter headings, along with satire and social commentary, born of the similarities between this futuristic world and our present world, abound here, adding a layer of clever playfulness to the fast-paced and energetic narrative.
With so much action involving clay dittos of both the good guys and the bad guys, however, the reader does not have much opportunity to become involved with individual characters' lives and thoughts, problems, and future destinies, and this leads to a rather flat, affectless novel. The characters remain cartoon-like, sometimes mouthing cute observations about society or moralizing on behalf of the author. The subject of cloning and the question of what elements of human nature and society, if any, are worth preserving into the future are fascinating ones, and Brin deals with these in unique and interesting ways, but the overall tone is light-hearted, and the overall impact, for me, was also light.
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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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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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