Sunday, February 7, 2010

Book and movie review: Kiln People vs. Surrogates

A couple weeks ago, I finished reading Kiln People by David Brin.

A couple nights back, I watched Surrogates starring Bruce Willis.

Kiln People was published back in 2002. The plot can be quickly summarized as... In a future where individuals can send short-lived clones of themselves out to accomplish tasks and later reintegrate... A gumshoe detective in the midst of cornering his arch nemesis drops down a rabbit hole into a convoluted conspiracy of epic proportions.

David Brin performs his usual phenomenal job of exploring the possible effects of future technology on society. However, the story takes a back seat to world building. Kiln People is a good read, but it is not a page turner.

Surrogates was released Sept. 2009 and follows nearly the same plot (without crediting Brin). Instead of clay surrogates we have robots. The conspiracy is streamlined and simplified... but leads to the same destination. The introspection of technology and its affects on society are dumbed down to stereotypical hollywood levels: "pretty people", "personal tragedy", "love story", and "technology bad". Surrogates is a good popcorn and carbonated beverage flick. You'll probably enjoy the ride. But you won't take away much to ponder or think about.

(If you'd like to read David Brin's take on Surrogates, check out the following post on his blog.)

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