A Borrowed Man

A Borrowed Man A New SF Novel, A First Person Narrative In The Mode Of The Detective Story, From The Celebrated Author Of The Book Of The New Sun Series.It Is Perhaps A Hundred Years In The Future, Our Civilization Is Gone, And Another Is In Place In North America, But It Retains Many Familiar Things And Structures Although The Population Is Now Small, There Is Advanced Technology, There Are Robots, And There Are Clones.E A Smithe Is A Borrowed Person He Is A Clone Who Lives On A Third Tier Shelf In A Public Library, And His Personality Is An Uploaded Recording Of A Deceased Mystery Writer Smithe Is A Piece Of Property, Not A Legal Human.A Wealthy Patron, Colette Coldbrook, Takes Him From The Library Because He Is The Surviving Personality Of The Author Of Murder On Mars A Physical Copy Of That Book Was In The Possession Of Her Murdered Father, And It Contains An Important Secret, The Key To Immense Family Wealth It Is Lost, And Colette Is Afraid Of The Police She Borrows Smithe To Help Her Find The Book And To Find Out What The Secret Is And Then The Plot Gets Complicated. This was certainly less strange than the rest of Wolfe s work that I ve had the pleasure to read, but I kinda expected something a bit progressive I mean, the idea behind a genetic library that reconstructs men and their lives to be checked out of a library does sound pretty interesting, and I can think of several storylines right off the bat that would really lend themselves to a very interesting story, even when it s an author who had been dead for a hundred years coming back to play a part in someone s game.But here s where managed expectations come in very nicely If I had gone into this just knowing that we re dealing with a mildly clever character concept to be dumped into a full blown Mystery novel that also happens to be SF, I wouldn t have much of an issue with it at all I tweaked my expectations and soon just got into the novel for what it was and it was fine.There was a shadow of Castle tv , a shadow of Kiln People, and even a pretty cool jaunt into a different world, but mainly it was all mystery times following all normal conventio
, , , , , , , , , , Pandora s Box , , , , The Land Across, Home Fires The Sorcerer s House , sci fi , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , goodreads , , , , , , , , , , , . 2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum A Borrowed Man turned out to be less than I expected I was initially drawn to the book because of the vague hints at a futuristic dystopian setting, but it was undoubtedly the description of the protagonist that sealed the deal E.A Smithe is a clone, created for the sole purpose of being an educational resource and made available on loan to all patrons of the public library where he sits displayed from a third tier shelf It s an interesting premise, and paired with a mystery plot, this book should have scored a hit with me However, having great ideas for a story is one thing, but I suppose carrying them out is another.First though, a bit about Smithe As a library reclone , our protagonist is seen as of a tool than a human being, just a piece of property with no legal rights When you think about libraries today, they are vast storehouses of knowledge where literary works are preserved for eternity, and anyone with a library card can borrow the great works of authors long since dead However, in Smithe s world, they ve gone even further than that Actual authors and artists from the recent past have been cloned, their brains filled with information from the last saved scans of the original individuals before their de
This sci fi mystery novel had an intriguing premise, but sadly that did not translate into an exciting story The story was slow paced and a little dull E.A Smithe is a reclone living in a dystopian society in the twenty second century He is a clone of the original E.A Smithe who was a mystery writer of note in his day The recloned E.A Smithe is a borrowed man He has no human rights and is not considered a real person He belongs to the Springbrook public library and is a resource that people can check out as they would a regular book Colette Coldbrook does just that as one of the original E.A Smithe s books, Murder on Mars, was the only thing found in the safe of her missing father and she believes the secret of the book is also connected to the recent murder of her brother She hopes the reclone E.A Smithe might be able to shed some light on the situation The mystery of the book and the deaths is mildly interesting, but nothing The world building is so vague that it is tough to get a real feel for life in this dystopian twenty second century, even if the few glimpses we do get seem pretty interesting Ern Smithe was an interesting protagonist despite some of his inbuilt limitations Another slight irritation wa
It s surprising to me that so many reviewers, knowing Gene Wolfe s style, still chose to take this story at face value If you thought this was a light, easy, and uncomplicated read, then you really need to re read it If you thought the central mystery was solved at the end, then I strongly suspect you never even knew the central mystery in the first place Gene Wolfe lies to his readers never forget that The plot of A Borrowed Man might at first seem like a standard mystery, with the major plot points wrapped up at the end but pay attention Look at what elements make no sense Hint quite a lot of the ending makes no sense at all if you actually think about it Look at what elements the author doesn t even pretend to explain Pay attention, and don t let yourself be fooled If you do that, and don t just take the story at face value, I think you ll be surprised at w
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.The other books I have read by Gene Wolfe were intricate, dense books of detail and magic, books that almost required a re read once you reached the end This is not like those books, and I m trying to separate my surprise at the change in writing style from the book itself The publisher describes it best E A Smithe is a borrowed person He is a clone who lives on a third tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer Smithe is a piece of property, not a legal human.A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth It is lost, and Colette is afraid of the
Wolfe is, by far, my favorite writer He probably is the finest living American author A borrowed man is simply one of his best stand alone novels It is a book about writers and books Books that can literally open passages to other green worlds.It is a Gene Wolfe novel and like any Gene Wolfe novel it demands your full attention.A borrowed man is about the author and the immortality that the author can achieve through his work One by one
I read A Borrowed Man honor of Gene Wolfe s passing last month.If anyone else had written this novel, I d commend them for nicely mixing together two genres A Borrowed Man is one part mystery, one part science fiction We follow a mystery writer well, his clone as he is hired actually, borrowed, hence the title to solve one mystery, which then yields others This draws from classic American private eye stories, complete with wisecracking thugs, interrogations, beat downs, escapes, a Macguffin, and the plots ultimately explained in a very satisfactory way At the same time we follow our clone narrator into the future, a high tech world with flying cars, ubiquitous screens, plenty of robots, consumer grade atomic power plants, underpopulation 143 , public pornography, a new calendar system 232 , and, of course, cloning Cloned authors can be checked out of libraries The United States is now the Continental Government And yet enough of our present world persists to make things credible bus stations, inter library loan, bad famil
This one is a really strange mix It s like a detective noir sci fi in a dystopian society that s only occasionally mentioned Or maybe the dystopian parts are noir ish At the same time there s a cheer and naivete to the narrator s telling of the story Cheerful sci fi noir Whatever the case may be, it s an odd book.E.A Smithe is a reclone, which means they grew a clone body of the real Smithe, who was an author, and downloaded a brain scan so that he would have all of his memories Reclones can be checked out of the library, or just called up for an hour s chat, which does indeed mean they sleep on library shelves, or something like that that is man sized.Colette s brother was murdered shortly after their father s death and the only clue she has is a copy of a book that Smithe wrote She checks him out of the library so he can help her try to figure out what s going on But like all good dames, the lady s got a lot of secrets Solving these secrets along the way is what makes up the story We have the reclone of a writer of mystery novels that is using his research and knowledge gained through writing to solve a real life mystery.I ve seen a couple of complaints about this book One is that sexism is alive and well in this society It s set 100 or so years in the future and women are pretty much back to being patted on the head and told not to worry their pretty little heads I thought th
E.A Smithe is a reclone a clone of, in his case, a dead mystery writer, with the writer s recorded personality and memories uploaded to him He s not a legal person, but a piece of property, specifically the property of a local library He lives on a shelf a three walled room at the library, and patrons can consult or borrow him.Which is what Colette Coldbrook does.She s trying to find the secret she believes must be hidden in the book her brother found in their father s safe Murder on Mars by the original E.A Smithe Her father had gone from midlevel executive to widely respected financial genius but where his original capital came from remains mysterious Now he s dead, and her brother was murdered, apparently for the book, and Colette wants to find answers.The story she tells is confusing, but she really is being pursued by quite dangerous people The current E.A Smithe has lived a very sheltered life, but he has his original s memories of writing and researching murder mysteries, and despite a mild, professorial manner, he s not easily intimidated or confused.And he s very, very observant.He also has his own agenda remaining valuable enough that he