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Son Of Man by Robert Silverberg (Gollancz Collector’s Editions)

01/05/2003. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

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Pub: Gollancz. 192 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK), $14.95 (US) and $21.95 (CAN). ISBN: 0-575-07501-58.

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A modern-day man called Clay arrives in the distant future by means of the time-flux and finds himself in the company of the descendants of Man.

The first group of these live an idyllic existence, mixing and having sex while maintaining their world. There are also a variety of other beings around who also can put claim to being the future and recent past of Man, often drawn into its barbarity or just lounging around in the water.

Son Of Man by Robert SilverbergNothing is known about Man’s current history and Clay doesn’t dwell much on that after a while as between sexual episodes, he wants to understand what he sees about him.

This is hardly standard SF fare as it is more a debate of what makes a human human. No doubt there is a lot of deep metaphor that will keep a lot of you discussing for hours. Silverberg kept the story very much in Clay’s eyes and observation.

These descendants might as well be alien than human as their motivation and drives are far removed from ourselves. It also provides these people an attempt to explore what it’s like to be ... well, us is a good way to look at it.

The only problem is that our concepts of life, death and staying in one shape is equally alien to them.

The prose is deep but not turgid. If you like the heavier type of SF, you should be reading this book.

GF Willmetts

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