David T. Wolf
WHEN YOU’RE A BRAIN WITHOUT A BODY, CAN YOU STILL BE CALLED HUMAN?
Marc Gregorio wakes up paralyzed. He can’t feel his own body, and he doesn’t know why. Accident? Stroke? Did someone slip him an overdose of Botox? The answer, he discovers, is much, much worse. He’s only a copy of Marc, a digital brain without a body, burdened with all Marc’s human memories, but without access to human sensual pleasures. Now he has to find a reason to keep on, um, “living.”
The Mindclone (Adam 2.0 as he dubs himself) meets the real Marc Gregorio--and Molly Schaeffer, the prickly, brilliant cellist Marc met and fell in love with just days before his brain was scanned. Adam loves her, too. But how does a digital entity experience love? He can’t even experience pizza, the aroma of fresh-baked apple pie, the burn of exercise, a plunge into an icy stream, sex. But there is one compensation: his digital brain can instantly absorb, understand and remember peta-, exa- and yettabytes of data. He keeps himself busy sulking and surfing the Internet in search of happiness. However, Adam’s existence must remain a secret while the Memento Amor lab struggles to replicate their one success. Years ago, Memento Amor launched itself on the dubious promise that by scanning the brain-waves of the soon-to-die, it would “one day” be possible to digitally resurrect them so their loved ones could bask in their warmth and wisdom through video calls. An ad-man, both enthralled and appalled by their claim, quit his job and joined the firm on the proviso that they hire real scientists and engage in serious research. Thanks to his pushing, they’ve achieved their first successful upload--Adam. Now Marc and Adam both struggle to win the heart of Molly Schaeffer. One day, feeling an excess of self-pity, Adam asks Molly why he should go on. She teases that he has the Pinocchio problem: he wants to be a real live boy--with a conscience. Why not use his astonishing digital skills to combat evil in the world? Encouraged, Adam unearths terrorist plots, aborts schoolyard mayhem, exposes congressional malfeasance and Wall Street chicanery. However, his good deeds as the mysterious “superhacker vigilante” gain publicity--and the attention of Dynasine, a military contractor. A struggle for freedom and his very survival ensues.
Mindclone, 322 pages, is a serio-comic novel about the first successful upload. It’s a book of ideas that explores looming advances in computer technology, and what it means to be human even if you don’t have a body. Plus there’s a carbon-carbon-silicon love triangle, a redeemed ad-man, adventure, humor, frustrated romance, human and digital foibles, and as an extra added bonus, the defeat of death itself.
Mindclone Video Trailer