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A science fiction book by Robert J. Sawyer

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Possibly Sawyer's Best Yet!

  • Mar 21, 2009
  • by
Sawyer puts a little bit of everything into this book from robotics, to brain studies, to psychology to philosophy with a little bit of high drama and excellent courtroom cross-examination. He studies the question "what makes a person"? and takes it way beyond what Asimov presented in the Millenium Man story.

Jake Sullivan, a man with an illness that will eventually kill him decides to opt for a process called Mindscan where a copy of his mind will be uploaded to a robot brain and will live on as Jake on Earth why Jake goes to a pleasant retirement home on the moon to live out his remaining days. The "new" Jake faces all kinds of rejections from the people he knew, even his dog. He experiences new sensations like being able to see colors for the first time (he was color blind) and having too much idle time on his hands with no time to fill it since his biological self used it for sleeping, eating and other biological processes that Jake no longer needs to do.

He meets and bonds with Karen, another mindscan who was 85 but has chosen a robot body that is about 30 while Jake was in his early 40's. The differences in their eras is what makes them so attractive to each other and they find that they have plenty to talk to each other even during "idle" time.

When Karen's biological self dies, her son begins a court battle to claim his inheritance, claiming that the mindscan version of Karen has no rights because she is not really Karen. The court tension is amazing and great philosophical arguments are presented in a well scripted matter.

To add another problem, Jake's biological self finds a cure for his ailment and then wants to regain his former life from his mindscanned version.

Sawyer has outdone himself this time convincing me he is the best of the current Scifi writers out there today!

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March 30, 2010
Great review, thanks.
More Mindscan reviews
review by . March 14, 2009
Mindscan by Robert Sawyer is an exploration of consciousness, self-awareness, and raises the question of where, exactly, does an individual's core essence that makes her or him a unique individual lie? He cleverly doesn't answer the question, but leaves much food for thought.     The set up for this exploration is the character, one Jake Sullivan, an independently wealthy heir of a Canadian brewing company. Jake's father has become incapacitated from a rare disease that causes …
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Jake Sullivan watched his father, suffering from a rare condition, collapse and linger in a vegetative state, and he's incredibly paranoid because he inherited that condition. When mindscanning technology becomes available, he has himself scanned, which involves dispatching his biological body to the moon and assuming an android body. In possession of everything the biological Jake Sullivan had on Earth, android Jake finds love with Karen, who has also been mindscanned. Meanwhile, biological Jake discovers there is finally another, brand-new cure for his condition. Moreover, Karen's son sues her, declaring that his mother is dead, and android Karen has no right to deprive him of his considerable inheritance. Biological Jake, unable to leave the moon because of the contract he signed, becomes steadily more unstable, until finally, in a fit of paranoia, he takes hostages. Sawyer's treatment of identity issues--of what copying consciousness may mean and how consciousness is defined--finds expression in a good story that is a new meditation on an old sf theme, the meaning of being human. Regina Schroeder
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ISBN-10: 0765311070
ISBN-13: 978-0765311078
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (March 10, 2005)
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