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Soulminder [Kindle Edition]

Timothy Zahn
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this new book by the author of Blackcollar and the #1 New York Times–bestselling Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn imagines a technology that could alter our perception of life and death forever

For Dr. Adrian Sommers, a split second of driving while distracted leads to tragedy—and obsession. His family destroyed, he devotes his entire being to developing Soulminder, a technology that might have saved his son as he wavered on the edge of death. Sommers’s vision is to capture a dying person’s life essence and hold it safely in stasis while physicians heal the body from injury or disease. Years of experimentation finally end in success—but those who recognize Soulminder’s possibilities almost immediately corrupt its original concept to pursue dangerous new frontiers: body-swapping, obstruction of justice, extortion, and perhaps even immortality.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Implications of [Soulminder’s premise] mount up in interlocking stories, which make for an intriguing thought experiment. . . . Those who enjoy deep philosophical questions will appreciate being left with much to ponder.” —Publishers Weekly

“Zahn is clearly an expert in his craft. Vividly described and immaculately well thought-out, the theoretical scenarios he presents make Soulminder a fascinating read.” —CBS Local’s Man Cave Daily blog

Book Description

In this new book by the author of Blackcollar and the #1 New York Times–bestselling Star Wars®: Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn imagines a technology that could alter our perception of life and death forever.

Product Details

  • File Size: 599 KB
  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (September 23, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JL1CI4K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,841 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is an instant genre classic. An inspiring mix of Michael Crichton's mastery of the science in science fiction and Robert Heinlein's mastery of the sociology of the future, this book tells the story of an invention that changes the course of the future and how humanity reacts to it.

The protagonist reflects Ian Malcolm's classic line, "...your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." He creates an amazing invention that will save millions of lives and revels in his success only to have the reality of the ways people will misuse the technology brought rudely to his attention. Then he steps up and takes responsibility and does his best to ameliorate the damage that has been done and prevent further abuses.

The characters are rich, fully developed and likable. I appreciate that after the initial story is fully told, we get to hear the unfolding from new characters. This is a great book and left me with a full day book hangover!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ethics of soul management September 25, 2014
Format:Paperback
Jessica Sands and Adrian Sommer are trying to trap the life forces (or souls) of people as they die. Preserving a soul, Sommer thinks, might allow its return to a body that is not beyond repair. When the technology finally works, they find they've created a resurrection machine -- or maybe the ticket to immortality -- but they fail to foresee all the ways in which their creation will be misused.

The technology here seems suspiciously shaky but I'm not a neuroscientist so I was willing to let that slide. The notion of a soul (or life force) that can be trapped seems equally shaky but that's the premise so I was willing to let that slide also. As long as I can swallow the story, my concern is whether the story is any good. Timothy Zahn has crafted an adequate story, although the novel suffers from being scattered.

A popular televangelist, confident that souls exist, is equally confident that mortals like Sommer and Sands should not be messing with them. Religious and ethical discussions about whether God objects to using technology to save lives follow paths charted by the stem cell debates. It eventually becomes apparent that souls can be returned not just to their own bodies, but to any soulless body, which raises all sorts of interesting ethical issues. The possibility of gaining immortality by repeatedly entering new bodies is an obvious one, but what will people give up in exchange for that opportunity?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
What Timothy Zahn has managed to do in Soulminder is ask, what happens when the human soul meets technology? And in answering that question, Zahn explores both the glorious benefits and the tragic downfalls of the two meeting as one.

Soulminder is a technology that can "trap" the human soul as it leaves the bodies of the recently deceased. This ability to store the soul opens up many opportunities for the medical community. A person is injured in a car wreck, a disease wins its battle against the body, someone is murdered and cannot get to medical attention quick enough. This is where soulminder comes into play. Once the soul is trapped, the doctors can repair the damaged body and return the soul without lasting affect on the individual. But what happens when the body isn't able to be fixed? Well, why return the soul to his/her body, why not return it to someone who has died but doesn't want to be "trapped"? What happens when a person's soul can be transferred to some other body? And what if this transfer is not always sanction or authorized. Can the powerful and rich buy their way to immortality? Can criminal organizations find a loophole in violence leading to death?

What happens when government organizations find a way to use soulminder as a means to slave labor, or an endless ability to revive troops on the battlefield? And what does this all mean for morality and a faith in God? These are the things that Zahn explores in Soulminder. It is an all encompassing exploration into the possible, and in the end leaves just as many questions as it does answers.

Soulminder is one of the most thought out books I've read in quite a long time. All aspects of the benefits and drawbacks of such a technology are explored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What if your soul/consciousness could be preserved when you're dying and returned to your body once your body was healed? What if it could be transferred to another body? Would the previous occupant's body influence your consciousness and behavior?

What if a technology could enable this process, and be used for both noble and nefarious purposes? Would only the rich have access to it? Would there be widespread religious objections?

How much of our identity is consciousness and how much is the body, anyway? Would those who saw the light and returned to life want to die over and over again in order to re-experience that light? Could a dead murder victim return in another body to testify against his killer?

Would body theft become a new form of criminal behavior? Might recreational body-sharing become a new form of pleasure, with people able to experience bodies healthier or more physically capable than their own, or to get high on drugs on another person's body?

To what extent might the government take control of the body-sharing industry and constructively use or misuse its power? What might happen when other countries – or terrorists – begin to adapt Soulminder for their own purposes?

These are only some of the questions raised by SOULMINDER, a philosophical science fiction novel which thoroughly and brilliantly explores many ramifications of the technological development of this Soulminder process, although the book is mediocre as a work of fiction.

The story begins as we learn that Adrian Sommer (with business partner Jessica Sands) has developed Soulminder after the traumatic death of his five year old. His aim is completely well-intentioned.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd give it 2.5 stars, if I could
3 stars means I think it's OK, 2 stars mean I don't like it. If I could I guess I'd give this 2 and a half stars. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Clifford J. Walk
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but loses focus
Brilliant idea – create a machine that will trap the souls of the nearly departed. The question, as always in these near-future sci-fi novels, is what next? Read more
Published 1 month ago by TechMSS
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
Though it sort of read like several essays put together, it flowed wonderfully and was quite interesting. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars
(I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

Mostly I liked the dilemmas that the Soulminder invention itself presented: a tool born from a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Yzabel
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
imaginative and scary future of how technology can be abused,
Published 2 months ago by moongirl1
5.0 out of 5 stars A mindblowing book. Think of what the soulminder can do!
A mindblowing book. Think of what the soulminder can do!
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting take on souls.
I certainly hope they don't pull this off in real life. So often we see it first in sci-fi novels and then about 50 years later it happens. This is just freaky. Read more
Published 4 months ago by MrScience101
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Author is a favorite of mine, so I am bias in his works. This book was a good read.
Published 4 months ago by C from Tx
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Read Even Though It Goes where Others Have Gone Before
An interesting and enjoyable read. Somewhat evocative of earlier stories with similar themes, though exploring things perhaps in more depth. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Adrian A. Durlester
4.0 out of 5 stars Think about your technology!
n a series of interconnected stories with reoccurring characters, Timothy Zahn follows Dr. Adrian Sommers from a self-absorbed, albeit altruistic inventor to the head of company... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ron Titus
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