Jun 282011

Machine Man by Max Barry
Rating: 3/5
Source: Review copy from Vintage Books via Netgalley
Links: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads, Author’s website

Charlie Neumann loses a leg in an industrial accident. He sees it as an opportunity. Charlie has always thought his body could be better. Stronger. With built-in wi-fi. The next leg to go is no accident. Neither is the hand. No one understands his love of upgrades, except for prosthetics expert Lola Shanks. She’s always admired a good artificial leg, and Charlie’s on his way to being artificial everything. His employer, military contractor Better Future, sees potential in the bioaugmentations. Charlie, however, never wanted to be a weapon, so now he’s locked in a mind-bending battle for control of his artificial body. (from Goodreads)

I couldn’t write my own summary. Everything I wanted to say was already in the existing one, and couldn’t be phrased any better. Very rare to find.

This was a surprisingly humourous book. I did not expect it to be funny. The subject matter is definitely not funny, but the writing made it so.

The subject is definitely one for discussions. Serious discussions surrounding morals, ethics, and potential. If you could replace body parts with “better”, artificial ones, would you? Should you? Where do you stop? At what point do you stop being human and become just a machine? Should replacements be done on voluntary basis only?

This was definitely an interesting book. The technical descriptions were kept to a minimum, and yet were detailed enough that someone without engineering education could follow and understand what was being done. I was intrigued at the various inventions produced, and was confused and slightly disgusted by Charlie’s behaviour. But it was overall enjoyable.

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