109. Mindscan (Robert J. Sawyer)

Mindscan is one of the best Sawyer books I've read — an intellectual courtroom drama that examines complex issues surrounding personhood, concerns which become material after Jacob Sullivan has his consciousness copied into a mechanical body (called a mindscan). Sawyer writes cleanly and explains difficult, heady concepts in a down-to-earth manner, like the best popular science writers — but marries these ideas to simple but intriguing plots. Although the book is less of a page-turner than some of Sawyer's others, it's an engrossing read and a good primer on the growing legal relevance of problems that previously only concerned science fiction writers — with Ohio passing laws banning human-animal hybrids, we've officially crafted a world where the legal ramifications of formerly absurd notions need to be explored.

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at www.jonathanball.com.

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