4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Kind of a precursor to "The Matrix" minus special effects,
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This review is from: The Silicon Man (Cortext.) (Paperback)
Can you live forever by electronically replicating your brain in the form of a computer program? "Uploading," as the concept is sometimes referred to, has been around in science fiction for a long time: variations of it were kicked around in episodes of the old Star Trek ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "I, Mudd" and "Return to Tomorrow", among others), The X-Files ("Kill Switch"), and so on.
In "The Silicon Man," Charles Platt aims at providing a technically plausible approach to uploading. The plot, such as it is, involves an FBI agent who, while investigating illegal trafficking in a special kind of gun, stumbles upon a group of scientists working on a publicly-funded project thought to have been a money sink, but which has actually succeeded beyond the wildest dreams. The scientists have to get rid of the FBI agent, but they can't quite bring themselves to kill him, so they copy his mind and put him in their electronic universe -- which is kind of like the Matrix (from the movie), though without any of the bells and whistles. Instead of Agents (the computer programs in "The Matrix") to torment our hero, however, there's the main computer scientists, who is a megalomaniac with the power to alter the computer environment as he sees fit. Yikes!
Platt pushes the science and technology reasonably far, but the concept still seems a little unbelievable. Happily, that doesn't detract from the novel, which I finished in basically one sitting.