Robert J. Sawyer Mindscan

ISBN 13: 9780765329905

Mindscan

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9780765329905: Mindscan
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Hugo Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer is back with Mindscan, a pulse-pounding, mind-expanding standalone novel, rich with his signature philosophical and ethical speculations, all grounded in cutting-edge science.

Jake Sullivan has cheated death: he's discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she's no longer constrained by a worn-out body either.

But suddenly Karen's son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance. Even worse, the original version of Jake, consigned to die on the far side of the moon, has taken hostages there, demanding the return of his rights of personhood. In the courtroom and on the lunar surface, the future of uploaded humanity hangs in the balance.

Mindscan is vintage Sawyer -- a feast for the mind and the heart.

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About the Author:

Robert J. Sawyer is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hominids, the Nebula Award-winning author of The Terminal Experiment, and the Aurora Award-winning author of FlashForward, basis for the ABC TV series. He is also the author of the WWW series―Wake, Watch and Wonder―and many other books. He was born in Ottawa and lives in Toronto.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER 1
Twenty-Seven Years Later: August 2045There were perhaps a hundred people in the ballroom of Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel, and at least half of them had only a short time left to live.Of course, being rich, those who were near death had mostly availed themselves of the best cosmetic treatments: face-lifts, physiognomic rebuilds, even a few facial transplants. I found it unsettling to see twenty-year-old visages attached to stooped bodies, but at least the transplants looked better than the ghastly tautness of one face-lift too many.Still, I reminded myself, these were indeed cosmetic treatments. The faux-youthful faces were attached to old, decaying bodies—bodies thoroughly worn out. Of the elderly who were present, most were standing, a few were in motorized wheelchairs, some had walkers, and one had his legs encased in powered armatures while another wore a full-body exoskeleton.Being old isn’t what it used to be, I thought, shaking my head. Not that I was old myself: I was just forty-four. Sadly, though, I’d used up my fifteen minutes of fame right at the beginning, without even being aware of it. I’d been the first baby born in Toronto on I January 2001—the first child of the new millennium. A much bigger fuss had been made over the girl who had popped out just after midnight on 1 January 2000, a year that had no significance save for ending in three zeros. But that was okay: the last thing I wanted to be was a year older, because a year from now, I might very well be dead. The old joke ran through my mind again:“I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news,” said the doctor. “You don’t have long to live.”The young man swallowed. “How much time have I got left?”The doctor shook his head sadly. “Ten.”“Ten what? Ten years? Ten months? Ten—?”“Nine ... Eight ...”I shook my head to dispel the thought and looked around some more. The Fairmont Royal York was a grand hotel, dating from the first glory days of rail travel, and it was enjoying a revival now that magnetic-levitation trains were flying along the old tracks. The hotel was across the street from Union Station, just north of Toronto’s lakeshore—and a good twenty-five kilometers east of where my parents’ house still stood. Chandeliers hung from the ballroom ceiling, and original oil paintings adorned the flock-papered walls. Tuxedoed servers were milling about offering glasses of wine. I went to the open bar and ordered a tomato juice heavily spiked with Worcestershire; I wanted a clear head this evening.When I stepped away from the bar with my drink, I found myself standing next to an honest-to-goodness old lady: wrinkled face, white hair. Amid the surrounding denial and fakery, she was quite refreshing.The woman smiled at me, although it was a lopsided smile—she’d clearly suffered a stroke at some point. “Here alone?” she asked. Her pleasant voice was attenuated into a Southern drawl, and it was also tinged by the quaver often found in the elderly.I nodded.“Me, too,” she said. She was wearing a dark jacket over a lighter blouse, and matching dark slacks. “My son refused to bring me.” Most of the other old folks had companions with them: middle-aged children, or lawyers, or paid caregivers. I glanced down, noted that she was wearing a wedding band. She apparently followed my gaze. “I’m a widow,” she said.“Ah.”“So,” she said, “are you checking out the process for a loved one?”I felt my face quirk. “You might say that.”She looked at me with an odd expression; I sensed that she’d seen through my comment, but, although curious, was too polite to press further. After a moment, she said, “My name’s Karen.” She held out her hand.“Jake,” I said, taking it. The skin on her hand was loose and liver-spotted, and her knuckles were swollen. I squeezed very gently.“Where are you from, Jake?”“Here. Toronto. You?”“Detroit.”I nodded. Many of tonight’s potential customers were probably Americans. Immortex had found a much more congenial legal climate for its services in increasingly liberal Canada than in ever-more-conservative America. When I’d been a kid, college students used to come over to Ontario from Michigan and New York because the drinking age was lower here and the strippers could go further. Now, people from those two states crossed the border for legal pot, legal hookers, legal abortions, same-sex marriages, physician-assisted suicide, and other things the religious right frowned upon.“It’s funny,” said Karen, glancing at the aged crowd. “When I was ten, I once said to my grandmother, ‘Who the heck wants to be ninety?’ And she looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Anyone who is eighty-nine.’” Karen shook her head. “How right she was.”I smiled wanly.“Ladies and gentlemen,” called a male voice, just then. “Would you all please take seats?”Doubtless no one here was hard of hearing; implants easily rectified that sign of aging, too. There were rows of folding chairs at the back of the ballroom, facing a podium. “Shall we?” said Karen. Something about her was charming—the Southern accent, maybe (Detroit certainly wasn’t where she’d grown up)—and there were, of course, the connotations that went with being in a ballroom. I found myself offering my arm, and Karen took it. We walked over slowly—I let her set the pace—and found a pair of seats near the back at one side, an A. Y. Jackson landscape hanging under glass on the wall next to us.“Thank you,” said the same man who’d spoken before. He was standing at the dark wooden podium. There was no light directly on him; just a little illumination spilling up from a reading lamp attached to the lectern. A gangling Asian of perhaps thirty-five, his black hair was combed straight back above a forehead that would have done Professor Moriarty proud. A surprisingly large, old-fashioned microphone covered his mouth. “My name is John Sugiyama,” he said, “and I’m a vice-president at Immortex. Thank you all for coming tonight. I hope you’ve enjoyed the hospitality so far.”He looked out at the crowd. Karen, I noticed, was one of those who murmured appreciatively, which seemed to be what Sugiyama wanted. “Good, good,” he said. “In everything we do, we strive for absolute customer satisfaction. After all, as we like to say, ‘Once an Immortex client, always an Immortex client.’”He smiled broadly, and again waited for appreciative chuckles before going on. “Now, I’m sure you’ve all got questions, so let’s get started. I know what we’re selling costs a lot of money—”Somebody near me muttered, “Damn right,” but if Sugiyama heard, he gave no sign. He continued: “But we won’t ask you for a cent until you’re satisfied that what we’re offering is right for you.” He let his gaze wander over the crowd, smiling reassuringly and making lots of eye contact. He looked directly at Karen but skipped over me; presumably he felt I couldn’t possibly be a potential customer, and so wasn’t worth wasting his charm on.“Most of you,” Sugiyama said, “have had MRIs. Our patented and exclusive Mindscan process is nothing more daunting than that, although our resolution is much finer. It gives us a complete, perfect map of the structure of your brain: every neuron, every dendrite, every synaptic cleft, every interconnection. It also notes neurotransmitter levels at each synapse. There is no part of what makes you you that we fail to record.”That much was certainly true. Back in 1990, a philanthropist named Hugh Loebner promised to award a solid gold medal—not just gold-plated like those cheap Olympic ones—plus $100,000 in cash to the first team to build a machine that passed the Turing Test, that old chestnut that said a computer should be declared truly intelligent if its responses to questions were indistinguishable from those of a human being. Loebner had expected it would be only a few years before he’d have to cough up—but that’s not how things turned out. It wasn’t until three years ago that the prize had been awarded.I’d watched the whole thing on TV: a panel of five inquisitors—a priest, a philosopher, a cognitive scientist, a woman who ran a small business, and a stand-up comic—were presented with two entities behind black curtains. The questioners were allowed to ask both entities anything at all: moral posers, general-knowledge trivia, even things about romance and child-rearing; in addition, the comic did his best to crack the entities up, and to quiz them about why certain jokes were or weren’t funny. Not only that, but the two entities engaged in a dialogue between themselves, asking each other questions while the little jury looked on. At the end, the jurors voted, and they unanimously agreed they could not tell which curtain hid the real human being and which hid the machine.After the commercial break, the curtains were raised. On the left was a fiftyish, balding, bearded black man named Sampson Wainwright. And on the right was a very simple, boxy robot. The group collected their hundred grand—pa...

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Book Description Tor Books. Paperback. Condition: New. 304 pages. Dimensions: 8.1in. x 5.4in. x 1.0in.Jake Sullivan has cheated death: hes discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she too is no longer constrained by a worn-out body. Karens son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance. Even worse, the original version of Jake, consigned to die on the far side of the moon, has taken hostages there, demanding the return of his rights of personhood. In the courtroom and on the lunar surface, the future of uploaded humanity hangs in the balance. Mindscan is vintage Sawyer--a feast for the mind and the heart. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780765329905

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