I finally picked up Kiln People after seeing it in the stores for a while. I don’t really know why it took me so long to give it a crack; I like David Brin’s Uplift series, I like science fiction, but just haven’t been buying as many books lately.
How was it?
The odds were against it from the start; I felt the central premise was cheesy, but more importantly the last book I read was “The Demolished Man” by Alfred Bester.
TL:DR – I was being a dick. Kiln People was great.
I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities between the two novels, the stories themselves were very different, but some themes were similar:
- A major discovery changes society in both good and bad ways, However mostly for the better. People are still people, no matter how much society changes.
- A new vocabulary that lets the author show the changes in lots of little ways, without beating us over the head with it. The ethical ramifications of the changes are also covered well.
- A good (I promised not to use the words rip-roaring here) detective story, with a sympathetic protagonist and great supporting characters.
- Both the protagonist and antagonist are driven people, who are smart enough to know when they’re being illogical, but follow consistent psychological triggers that are signalled first. There are no WTF moments as a result of character decisions.
Nothing in this book is gratuitous or dumb, characters are consistent and believable and the world had depth and feeling. Brin’s hope and faith in humanity really comes through in this book, technology and science are not to be feared, and people’s choices are what matters.
Oh and I can see why Surrogates annoyed Mr Brin …