MIND TRANSFER by Janet Asimov


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Earnest and wide-ranging but often incoherent robot-yarn that incorporates-not too rigorously--husband Isaac's famous laws of robotics. On this future Earth, roboticist Jonathan Durant is perfecting a method of transferring a person's mentality into the incorruptible body of a robot. Durant is opposed by fanatical biofundamentalists, ""bioeffers,"" who regard his work as anathema. Durant is soon murdered, but his wife Bess and newborn son Adam survive and flee to Centauria, a space habitat orbiting the Centaurus suns. The work on mind transfers continues, and a new type of robot is prepared; Jonwon turns out to be superintelligent, vaguely anti-organic, and soon vanishes in pursuit of his own concerns. Life goes on; various characters become robots. Jonwon attempts to build a robot civilization on a distant planet, Far; he fails when the planet's primitive ocean somehow comes alive. Some aliens show up on Far, imprisoning Jonwon until he's released by roboticized Adam and his newly roboticized wife Meg. The aliens seem to be hostile, but actually are peaceably studying Far's organic-sludge ocean. The first few chapters are unintentionally hilarious--a desperate escape halts while the characters chat about museum opening times, for instance--but thereafter the plotting improves somewhat. The talkiness persists. And all the main characters, poorly delineated to start with, seem to be related, or robots, or both, which doesn't help to distinguish them. Still, don't underestimate the drawing power of the Asimov name.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1988
Publisher: Walker