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A Borrowed Man por Gene Wolfe
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A Borrowed Man (edição 2015)

por Gene Wolfe

Séries: Reclones (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
230688,703 (3.61)14
"A Borrowed Man: a new science fiction novel, from Gene Wolf, 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"--… (mais)
Membro:dstephenc759
Título:A Borrowed Man
Autores:Gene Wolfe
Informação:Tor Books, Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:to-read

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A Borrowed Man por Gene Wolfe

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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 more 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 [b:Kiln People|96478|Kiln People|David Brin|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1287261951s/96478.jpg|2300358], and even a pretty cool jaunt into a different world, but mainly it was all mystery-times following all normal conventions. It was entertaining and standard, with even reveals and a solid end.

On the other hand, if you're reading the novel from a slightly deeper perspective, you'll be pleased to note the over and undertones of the book publishing industry, including shelf-life for novels, reprints, and expectations for new works. Read this way, it's a very entertaining novel and extremely tongue-in-cheek.

If you don't care about that kind of thing, however, you might not really connect with the character concept too much. Maybe. It just feels a bit odd with a few major logical gaps. In other words, this is genuine Gene Wolfe. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
3.75 stars!
Clearly, Gene Wolfe wrote many works of depth and breadth and of inestimable worth to genre fiction, if we deign to call it that.

A Borrowed Man was his final published novel, from 2015, published 45 years after his first one. In this slightly futuristic tale, he adopts an unaccustomed voice and tells an unpredictable tale with a wacky conceit. I can see how the narrator, Ern A. Smithe, will fluster a lot of fans, but since this character was a mystery writer - before his 'recloning' - I found the somewhat average to sub-par word choice strangely appropriate. What is more likely, that Gene Wolfe wrote all of these mediocre sentences in order to construct the illusion of reality around his pulp concoction world building and further obfuscate his satire and sleights of symbolism, or he suddenly lost his writing ability after 45 years? You can believe the reviewers who bash the book if you want, but you'd be missing out on another absorbing, fast-paced, layered Wolfian creation.

In this version of the future, libraries have other uses, 'bots, and clones intrude into the lives of jaded aristocrats, and murder is an act as cliched as it is serious. What better way to poke fun at the mystery genre than to write a mystery with a mystery writer as the main character, and put this character through the ringer in ways that he could not predict or extricate himself from?

Aside from the subtle comments on publishing, genres, and the subliminal library puns there is an underlying sadness to Smithe's less-than-human life, his lost love, and the tired tropes he embodies. Like Wolfe's An Evil Guest, what might have been a clever, light reading experience is complicated by contortions of reality and the slow-burn surprise of the ending. Relish the hidden clues in minor details, and even if you don't read between the lines, you will be entertained. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
I fell through too many plot holes and couldn't continue. ( )
  GigaClon | Mar 21, 2020 |
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 won't be deaccessioned and disposed of.

Calling this a nicely intricate tale will be recognized as an understatement by anyone familiar with Wolfe's work, and his use of the English language remains as beautiful as ever. The plot moves, and the characters, not just Smithe himself but Colette, the friends Smithe finds, and others along the way are developed and interesting. You'll be confused until the end, and you'll enjoy the ride.

Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of the audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Another strange little tale from the mind of Gene Wolfe. This one is more straight-forward than most of his work but is still twisty and weird in places. The conceit, (clones as public property in a post-modern era), is nicely rendered via the fist-person narration of one such clone. On loan from the library to a wealthy and beautiful young heiress, our protagonist quickly finds himself in too deep in a double-homicide investigation that leads to strange out-of-this-world discoveries. A short, fast, and entertaining read that moves from detective noir to interplanetary science-fiction and back again with deceptive ease. ( )
  ScoLgo | Jan 4, 2017 |
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Gene Wolfeautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Collins, Kevin T.Narradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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For my British friend, Nigel Price.
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Murder is not always such a terrible thing.
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"A Borrowed Man: a new science fiction novel, from Gene Wolf, 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"--

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