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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Identity Theft by Robert J. Sawyer

Identity Theft and Other Stories by Robert J. Sawyer. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Red Deer Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-88995-411-3

Here we have another collection of short stories, in this case by Canada's preeminent Science Fiction author, Mr. Robert J. Sawyer. These are good stories, by and large, well written and entertaining. In addition to working as SciFi, some are also mysteries, some lean a bit in the horror direction, and some (at least one) are just plain jokes.

Several of the mysteries take place on Mars, a barren, desolate Mars where everyone mostly lives in one big domed city, but people go out on the regular surface hunting rare Martian fossils, from a brief period of life eons before. The other twist on these Martian stories involves transferring one's complete memory matrix into android bodies, and the complications that ensue for the private eye who has to untangle them.

In another story, the man left behind after such a transfer has a change of heart, and wants his life back. Unfortunately, he is no longer a legal entity, with no rights or standing whatsoever, beyond the right to live out his life in seclusion, in luxurious surroundings as a nonentity. He resorts to drastic action to attempt to persuade the powers that be, including his android replacement to reverse course.

Another story involves the first Catholic priest on Mars, who resorts to a miracle to enhance his status. And yet another is a sequel to H.G. Wells's The Time Machine. And yet another, “Immortality,” is from an anthology of tales by different authors based on Janis Ian songs. One brief humorous bit is a setup for classic awful pun based on the name of a very famous and prolific golden era SciFi author.

And that's just a taste of what's in store for the reader of this fine little collection. While I wouldn't probably call any of the stories here masterpieces, they are more than worth the time it takes to peruse them. Definitely recommended for all SciFi aficionados.

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