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Mindscan Paperback – Bargain Price, December 6, 2011
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Sawyer lucidly explores fascinating philosophical conundrums."
"A tale involving courtroom drama, powerful human emotion and challenging SF mystery. Sawyer juggles it all with intelligence and far-reaching vision worthy of Isaac Asimov."
"Sawyer deftly examines what a future might be like in two neighboring countries that have become polar opposites. And he focuses on the legal and moral ramifications involved in various definitions of humanity in an intriguing and stylistically fine story. Grade: A."
--Rocky Mountain News
Top Customer Reviews
Jake Sullivan, scion of a Toronto brewery fortune, has a problem. The blood vessels in his brain might unexpectedly explode. It happened to his father during a family fight. The result isn't terminal. It leaves the victim in a vegetative state. Jake decides to take advantage of a new technology to bypass the threat. He'll have his mind scanned and his consciouness copied into an almost indestructible artificial body. Immortality, that quest so long followed by fragile humanity, may be imminent. His "shed skin", the original, flawed body, will be shipped to the far side of the Moon to live luxuriously until "natural causes" prevail. The relocation abandons a lonely dog, a confused girlfriend and a concerned mother.
As might be expected, a threat looms. Give a lawyer an opening and another courtroom drama enfolds. What says the law on two minds of one person? Sawyer has done courtroom scenes before in "Illegal Alien". He surpasses himself with this one as the concepts of consciousness are thoroughly explored by the contending sides. Sawyer is at his best in having characters explain philosophical or scientific stances.Read more ›
Immortex doesn't bother with informing the uploaded copy that the real one has died. But due to a bizarre coincidence, the death of prominent writer Karen Bessarian (who uploaded her mind due to old age)is reported to her flesh and blood son, who didn't particular care for her uploaded form. He forces the matter into Probate Court for the reading of the will. The uploaded Karen says, "No way, I'm still alive" and the matter becomes what amounts to the trial of the 21st Century.
In the meantime Jake Sullivan uploads his mind because he had a rare, incurable disease. Wouldn't you know it? They find a cure and he demands to go back to Earth and continue his life but Immortex puts the kibosh on that idea.
Sawyer writes great Science Fiction and presents it in such a way that it sounds almost plausible. His characters are real and believable. His plots move along smoothly and are easy to read. The trial scene is gripping. It's no wonder that he has won Hugo's and Aurora's and has been nominated for Nebulas. "Mindscan," which is actually an embellished version of his Analog short story "Shed Skin," fits right into the award-winning category. Highly recommended.
The best part of _Mindscan_ is its fair-minded and articulate presentation of both sides of the issue. (This almost counts as a Sawyer trademark; other authors should take note.) This is a great technique in a what-if novel. It brings you, the reader, into the story, and makes you wonder: What do I believe? Would it really work that way? Is that a valid argument? And, most fundamentally, what would *I* do?
If _Mindscan_ has a weakness--or, at least, a lack of strength--it's in the resolution. It's not that it's badly done; a lesser writer, for instance, would introduce a technological fix that makes everything come out happy, and Sawyer doesn't do that. However, the ending neither (a) resolves the questions raised in the book, nor (b) demonstrates that they're fundamentally unresolvable. Instead, the characters are allowed to postpone dealing with them. They avoid the issues, instead of either deciding them or coming into conflict over them. After such a strong set-up, I'd have liked a more thought-provoking climax.
There *is* a little bit of a surprise ending. However, it concerns a subplot which is a minor contributor to the rest of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read a lot of Robert J. Sawyer's books, as I consider him a fantastic science fiction writher. This book starts with an interesting premise. Read morePublished 16 days ago by RM
I read "Mindscan" because a discussion group mentioned that my novel "Leaving Lisa" reminded them of it. Sawyer plays on the same theme of 'what is a person? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jack Coppley
Sawyer has written many trilogies; it surprised me that he didn't write more on this story. The book literally went from the most exciting chapters to a disappointing... Read morePublished 4 months ago by txgemini
Warning! Spoiler alert. Writing was adequate; storyline was disappointing. Whoever heard of the copy (the silicone clone that the "main" character's... Read morePublished 7 months ago by jeanjackie
A great story of how the future may be with our minds or "self" being sent to an AI type robot and also the ramifications of doing so. Good read and well written.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent storytelling with a unique mix of AI, humanity, astrophysics, and (ultimately) consciousness. Glad that Jaynes and Penrose were cited by the characters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Tomenator
This is one of my personal favourites.
I read a lot of books and it takes a lot to be up there at the top. Read more
A fair story, I've liked earlier stories by Robert Sawyer a lot, however lately his stories have not been quite up to those original stories standards. Read morePublished on July 11, 2014 by joseph j russo