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A Borrowed Man

A Borrowed Man In the twenty second century our civilization has retained many familiar characteristics but the population is smaller Technology has made significant advances and there are robots and clones One s

  • Title: A Borrowed Man
  • Author: Gene Wolfe
  • ISBN: 9780765381149
  • Page: 339
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the twenty second century, our civilization has retained many familiar characteristics, but the population is smaller Technology has made significant advances, and there are robots and clones.One such is E.A Smithe, a borrowed person, a clone who lives on a third tier shelf in a public library His personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writeIn the twenty second century, our civilization has retained many familiar characteristics, but the population is smaller Technology has made significant advances, and there are robots and clones.One such is E.A Smithe, a borrowed person, a clone who lives on a third tier shelf in a public library His personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer Smithe is library property, not a legal human The father of Colette Coldbrook, a wealthy library patron, has disappeared and been proclaimed dead She decides to check Smithe out of the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars A physical copy of that book was the sole item in her father s safe, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth Her brother, Conrad, turned up dead in the family home shortly after giving the book to her Colette has reached the end of her options She s afraid of the police, and there are others who might want the book s secret Smithe is her last hope Borrowing him might help her find the connection between the deaths and Murder on Mars Together they find something far beyond their expectations something almost anyone would kill for.

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      Published :2019-02-23T21:32:55+00:00

    1 thought on “A Borrowed Man

    1. 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 [...]

    2. 2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum bibliosanctum/2015/11/10/rDisappointingly, A Borrowed Man turned out to be less than I expected. I was initially drawn to the book because of the vague hints at a futuristic dystopian setting, but it was undoubtedly the description of the protagonist that sealed the deal. E.A. Smithe is a clone, created for the sole purpose of being an educational resource and made available on loan to all patrons of the public library where he sits displayed from a third-tier [...]

    3. This sci-fi/mystery novel had an intriguing premise, but sadly that did not translate into an exciting story. The story was slow paced and a little dull. E.A. Smithe is a reclone living in a dystopian society in the twenty-second century. He is a clone of the original E.A. Smithe who was a mystery writer of note in his day. The recloned E.A. Smithe is a borrowed man. He has no human rights and is not considered a real person. He belongs to the Springbrook public library and is a resource that pe [...]

    4. It's surprising to me that so many reviewers, knowing Gene Wolfe's style, still chose to take this story at face value. If you thought this was a light, easy, and uncomplicated read, then you really need to re-read it. If you thought the central mystery was solved at the end, then I strongly suspect you never even knew the central mystery in the first place. Gene Wolfe lies to his readers---never forget that. The plot of A Borrowed Man might at first seem like a standard mystery, with the major [...]

    5. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.The other books I have read by Gene Wolfe were intricate, dense books of detail and magic, books that almost required a re-read once you reached the end. This is not like those books, and I'm trying to separate my surprise at the change in writing style from the book itself. The publisher describes it best:"E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his person [...]

    6. This one is a really strange mix. It's like a detective/noir sci-fi in a dystopian society that's only occasionally mentioned. Or maybe the dystopian parts are noir-ish? At the same time there's a cheer and naivete to the narrator's telling of the story. Cheerful sci-fi noir? Whatever the case may be, it's an odd book.E.A. Smithe is a reclone, which means they grew a clone body of the real Smithe, who was an author, and downloaded a brain scan so that he would have all of his memories. Reclones [...]

    7. Reading the freely available preview, I was quite excited as this novel promised a return to the style of the wonderful recent novels (Sorcerers' House and home Fires - especially this last which I greatly enjoyed with its weirdness and twists) rather than the Ok but not great Land Across; sadly once i got and read the book, the original twist (see the blurb - clone housed in a library, available to be borrowed/consulted, discarded if not popular enough etc etc) turned out to be quite thin and n [...]

    8. 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 Ma [...]

    9. After a lot of much better light hearted pulpy novels such as Lankhmar series and Stars my Destination this was a dull read. Wolfe isn't in my experience a good writer of pulp as it's always what he makes out of it what makes him such a magnificent author. When he lays low it is very underwhelming. I'm saddened by the fact he hasn't aimed at a greater work in quite some time and read this in high hopes as the premise isn't the one which seems fitting for a mystery novel, it's far more fitting to [...]

    10. Loved the premise but found the dialog and characters flat. As another reviewer mentioned Wolf is very behind the times in his characterization of women which I found very grating. For example there were numerous generalizations about women not wanting to be considered brave or being prone to lying.

    11. With typical Wolfean-subterfuge, it is clear that A Borrowed Man is only the first chapter of a new yarn being spun by this master of tales.

    12. Gene Wolfe is one of my all-time favorite authors, the author of one of my favorite series (The Book of the New Sun, I wrote my college entrance essays about that series!) so it pains me to say this, but: I did not love this book.It was good, don't get me wrong. It's really more of a murder mystery than a science fiction novel, a murder mystery set in the future, with sci/fi elements that are part of the mystery, and it was a mystery that I didn't even come close to solving (perhaps partly becau [...]

    13. I hadn't read Gene Wolfe before now, and while people more familiar with his backlist would probably suggest better places to start, this one is pretty damn good. Strictly from a craft point of view, the first pages let me know I was in the hands of a master: the simple but not simplistic prose, the smooth unveiling of backstory and worldbuilding without infodumps, the careful and subtle ratcheting up of tension which would occasionally explode in shocking bursts, only to fall back and start cli [...]

    14. This is another book that's a nice read by one of the industry's top writers, but nothing special beyond that. The premise of the story, that the protagonist is a living book, the reincarnated memory of a writer in a human body, is a great one. It had the possibility to touch upon issues of memory and self that have been very important to Wolfe's writing, particularly the Books of the New and Short Sun but it's not actually used to very good effect here. There's almost nothing about who the cha [...]

    15. A murder mystery as only Gene Wolfe could tell it. Although he tells you the ending in the first chapter, you're not sure whose murder is being investigated (or if there has really been a murder) until the end. The borrowed man of the title is the protagonist, a clone of a deceased author who can be checked out of the public library like a book in this not too distant future. As always with Wolfe, figuring out the rules of the world is half the fun.

    16. Easily one of Gene Wolfe's best recent novels. In a future in which popular authors are cloned and kept in storage at libraries for people to check out, one such re-cloned mystery writer who has been gathering dust on the library's shelves for far too long is checked out to help solve a murder. It's a thought-provoking and enjoyable read and very accessible for Wolfe.

    17. This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three- [...]

    18. A Borrowed Man (2015) is an SF/mystery by Gene Wolfe. The clone of a mystery writer is borrowed from a library from a desperate and beautiful woman trying to deduce why a book is valuable.As Gene Wolfe books go, this one is fairly readable, makes sense most of the way through, and wraps up fairly reasonably. Gene's often weak with his endings, but as this is a mystery, the ending will be the reveal, so that saves him from too much wandering. I found most of the characters plausible most of the w [...]

    19. Conspiracy theory: the approximately 37392974 tall dark violet-eyed women found throughout Gene Wolfe’s books are actually all the same person.

    20. Actual rating: 3.5 stars.My first experience of Gene Wolfe was reading his brilliant 1972 novella The Fifth Head of Cerberus. As I recall, the narrator was a young man who had been raised in, and still lived in, a brothel on another planet. I was struck by Wolfe's world-building. The narrator didn't explain his world; rather, he alluded to its customs, and the way it functioned, in the context of the story. It was up to the reader to put it together. This approach to world-building is what staye [...]

    21. Gene Wolfe is a conundrum to me. I've really loved some of his work - The Book of the New Sun tetralogy especially - but have been totally unable to get into others (e.g the Soldier of the Mist series). One thing I have noticed as a common thread through his works I've read or tried to read is that his protagonists always seem to have some kind of memory-related quirk. In The Book of the New Sun, Severian's 100% total eidetic recall effectively erases the line between recent and distant memories [...]

    22. A Borrowed Man is a sci-fi mystery book. The book is set in a future where the population of earth has reduced to about a billion. The sci-fi part comes in immediately with the narrator- a reclone of an early twenty-first century mystery author. A woman checks him out from the library, where he lives, seeking his help in solving a mystery surrounding the death of her father and brother a mystery that the one of the reclone's novel may hold the secret to. There are other sci-fi elements like self [...]

    23. In this novel, the near-future population of the world has been controlled and wrangled down to a billion, with plans to halve that in the next generations. Robotics and cloning have been functionally perfected, and libraries are stocked with "reclones" of popular authors impregnated with all recorded thoughts and knowledge of their source material. Patrons can check out these living, feeling, soulless replications; those that don't see much borrowing get incinerated.Wolfe effectively addresses, [...]

    24. A nice Maltese Falcon kind of book. Collette is a spot-on Miss Wonderly/O'Shaughnessy, lovely and unreliable and her eyes welling up with tears. Smithe is no Sam Spade though, more like Silk. Bruised, limping. Constrained by his background to talk all buttoned-up, and frustrated by it. An indoor cat learning the outside. The character feels most complete when he's acting like Silk—maybe just because I like and know Silk—but then you run into these stray threads. A fit of unexplained violence [...]

    25. Who better to solve a mystery you don’t want official investigated than a mystery writer? A mystery writer, who has spent their whole life studying crime, is perfect—especially when that writer is a cloned version that can be “checked out” from a library and threatened with all kinds of things to keep them from talking. When E.A. Smithe is checked out by Colette Coldbrook in Gene Wolfe’s A Borrowed Man, he has no idea that he’s going to land right in the middle of a huge conspiracy. [...]

    26. OK, first off, it was good. Let's get that out of the way. I certainly liked it as much as I liked Sorcerer's House, certainly more than A Land Between and Home Fires. But too many of Wolfe's recent books feel small - an exploration of a small sequence of events from an unreliable narrator. There's a lot going on under the surface in terms of world building and setting and themes, but I'd like to see him go a little bigger in his framing than he has been. That being said there's a lot to unpack [...]

    27. An intriguing beginning and quite poor ending. The mystery have been solved, but what do we have in the end? The main hero, our lovely reclone Mr. Smithe, turned out to be a blackmailer and an egocentric conformist (not very heroic, hah), who sees all the iniquity of the world he is currently living in, but would not dare even to think about fixing it. It's maybe wise to do so, it's what people actually do, but it makes the whole ending somewhat shallow.The plot's background is good. Not too spe [...]

    28. Consistently enjoyable. Unexpected violence, genre bending and interesting worldbuilding contribute to the feeling of lots going on under the surface, but on the whole a lot more straightforward than usual for Gene Wolfe.Reminded me a bit of There Are Doors.Narrator's voice was very similar to The Land Across and The Knight.

    29. I don't read many mysteries and certainly not classic mysteries. So I can't tell if this is supposed to be a Sam Spade knockoff with science-fictional elements or whatever. What I can say is that it was written in an intentionally irritatingly sexist put-upon style which kind of had a back-to-the-future feel of the way books set in the future were written in the 50's. The story itself had some interest and potential even if the idea of clones you could check out of the library was basically ludi [...]

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