David Brin's Kiln People

From: hal@finney.org
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 14:32:48 MST

Controversial author David Brin has a new novel out, Kiln People, which
sounds like it may include some of our favorite themes. here is what
he has to say about it at his web site, www.kithrup.com/brin:

   The title of my new novel -- the most original thing I've done in
   years -- is Kiln People, which will be published by Tor Books in
   January 2002.

   Take the notion of golems-- temporary clay people (not clones!) --
   and now imagine a near future when everybody can make them. Using
   a "home copier" you ditto your memories -- perhaps even a genuine
   imprint of your soul -- and off goes the duplicate to run your errands,
   attend your classes, or do all the drudgery work. Then, at day's end,
   you download the golem's memories.

   As a citizen of this near future, you've duplicated yourself a
   zillion times and take it for granted, sometimes being the original,
   sometimes the copy. You live your life in parallel, sending expensive
   "study golems" to the library while cheap models clean the house
   and your real body works out at the gym. Two thirds of the Earth's
   population consists of temporaries made of clay. People seem to have
   even adjusted to this new way of life, until....

Sounds like a fascinating concept. Note that there is no question which
is the copy and which is the original, since the copy is made of clay.
Nevertheless since the golem's memories are merged back into the original,
people apparently treat copies with the same respect as originals. Your
own memories include episodes where you were copy as well as original,
and it seems that the golem memories seem just as real as the flesh ones.

I don't know about making copies to clean the house. I guess somebody's
got to do the job, but the copies who get stuck with it wouldn't be
too happy.


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