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Son Of Man by Robert Silverberg

01/10/2008. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Son Of Man in the USA - or Buy Son Of Man in the UK

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pub: Pyr/Prometheus Books. 224 page enlarged paperback. Price: $15.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59102-646-4).

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When I started reading this novel, there was an immediate impression of Larry Niven's 'Ringworld' Louis Wu character who would have sex with anything and Robert Heinlein for its explicitness. Oddly enough, author Robert Silverberg seems to have some middle-ground between the two types with maybe a taste of 1920s author David Lindsay if you've read 'Voyage To Arcturus'.

'Son Of Man' tells the story of Clay, a man from contemporary Earth thrown into the future where with six future beings called skimmers who can change sex with a thought. They aren't from this time, neither. Nor are the other five versions of Man that are around. If anything, Clay is one of a kind from the 20th century. The world itself is pretty odd and Clay is encouraged to explore, learn about it and make his own self-discovery.

Silverberg wrote this book in a very tactile way, exploring sensation as much as anything. Clay is very much a person of where he is and little is revealed about his past although various elements he reflects on appear to be late 1960s, which considering when it was written is hardly surprising. In many respects, this is more a story of discovery of re-affirming self-identity.

Set in the future, there is no defining age for who reads this book. However, if you want to study how to get tactile into a novel then this book would certainly be of interest to you. Silverberg has always written well and knows how to keep a reader interested right to the end.

GF Willmetts

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