Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mindscan-Robert J. Sawyer


Robert J. Sawyer

Tor, Dec 6 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765329905

In 2018 in Port Credit near Tornado, brewery owner Cliff Sullivan is rushed to the hospital. Dr. Thanh explains to his wife and son that Cliff suffers from Katerinsky Syndrome, which leaves him a vegetable until he dies. Since this is hereditary, he suggests Jake take an MRI.

Jake knew he was dying so he chose Immortex to make a Mindscan copy of his brain placed inside an android. He relocates to the moon where he expects to die in High Eden, a pleasant assisted living facility.

In 2045, Jake the robot on earth has faced rejection from all of the human Jake’s loved ones. He is bored with nothing to do until he meets the mindscan Karen Bessarian. Her biological body had been that of an octogenarian children's book author; but this model is in her thirties as opposed to Jake in his forties. As the two mindscans fall in love, the original Karen dies. Her son sues for ownership of his late mom’s estate insisting a mindscan has no rights; at the same time the original Jake finds a cure for his illness and demands his former life returned to him.

This discerning exciting look at future ethics questions asking what a human is and what rights does a mindscan have. The story line is fast-paced while the setting plays a key role as Americans flee their fundamentalist Christian kingdom homeland to reside in tolerant Canada; enhancing the rights argument. Readers will relish this profound extrapolation of current medical technology in which Robert J. Sawyer argues that medical advances are way ahead of legal advances.

Harriet Klausner

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