Tom Doherty Associates, 2005
Hardcover , 304 pages
Robert J. Sawyer's .... back with a pulse-pounding, mind-expanding standalone novel, rich with his signature philosophical and ethical speculations, all grounded in cutting-edge science.
Jake Sullivan has cheated death: he's discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she's no longer constrained by a worn-out body either.
But suddenly Karen's son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance. Even worse, the original version of Jake, consigned to die on the far side of the moon, has taken hostages there, demanding the return of his rights of personhood. In the courtroom and on the lunar surface, the future of uploaded humanity hangs in the balance.
In Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer, Jake Sullivan lives with the knowledge that he has the same rare, hereditary disease that resulted in his father's long time vegetative state. He feels doomed until he discovers with his hereditary wealth he can be mindscanned, a process where his entire brain is scanned and downloaded into a technologically superior mechanical body that doesn't breathe, eat, or sleep and is theoretically immortal. The process, however, results in two Jake Sullivans.
March 2018: There wasn't anything special about this fight. Honest to God, there wasn't. Dad and I had argued a million times before, but nothing awful had happened. Oh, he'd thrown me out of the house a couple of times, and when I was younger he used to send me to my room or cut off my allowance. But nothing like this had ever occurred. opening
I looked at my father, and I did something I hadn't done for five years. I started to cry. My vision began to blur, and so did my mind. As the doctor continued to talk to my mother, I heard the words "severe retardation," "total aphasia," and "institutionalize." pg. 15
She nodded. "You should have an MRI, too, Jake."
"What?" I said, my heart suddenly pounding. "Why?"
Dr. Thanh lifted her delicate eyebrows, and spoke very, very softly. "Katerinsky's is hereditary." pg. 15
"Of course," he said, "we can't put the digital copy back into the original biological brain — but we can transfer it into an artificial brain, which is precisely what our process does. Our artificial brains congeal out of quantum fog, forming a nanogel that precisely duplicates the structure of the biological original. The new version is you — your mind instantiated in an artificial brain made out of durable synthetics. It won't wear out. It won't suffer strokes or aneurysms. It won't develop dementia or senility. And ..." He paused, making sure he had everyone's attention. "It won't die. The new you will live potentially forever." pg. 20
"And so," said Sugiyama, "we'll provide you with an artificial body — one that's infinitely maintainable, infinitely repairable, and infinitely upgradeable." He held up a long-fingered hand. "I won't lie to you, now or ever: as yet, these replacements aren't perfect. But they are awfully good." pg. 21
With our process, you'll have a virtually unlimited lifespan, with perfect eyesight and hearing, vitality and strength, self-sufficiency and dignity." He beamed out at his audience, and I could see people nodding to themselves, or talking in positive tones with their neighbors. It did sound good, even for someone like me, whose day-to-day troubles were nothing more irritating than acid-reflux disease and the odd migraine.
Sugiyama let the crowd chatter for a while before raising his hand again. "Of course," he said, as if it were a mere trifle, "there is one catch..." pg. 23
I knew what the one catch Sugiyama was referring to was. Despite all his salesperson's talk about transferring consciousness, Immortex couldn't really do that. At best, they were copying consciousness into a machine body. And that meant that the original still existed. pg. 24