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The Resurrected Man
Sean Williams
Pyr, 529 pages

The Resurrected Man
Sean Williams
Sean Williams was born in Whyalla, South Australia, in 1967. He has been writing full-time since 1990. His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Aboriginal SF and Eidolon as well as anthologies such as Alien Shores, Intimate Armageddons, The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories, The Year's Best Australian SF & Fantasy 1996, Terror Australis and the World Fantasy Award-winning Dreaming Down-Under. His story, "Evermore," was selected to appear in The Year's Best Science Fiction: 17th Annual Collection. Metal Fatigue is the winner of the 1996 Aurealis award for best science fiction novel. New Adventures in Sci-Fi won the Ditmar award for best collection in 1999. In his spare time, he likes to DJ and cook curries.

Sean Williams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Echoes of Earth
SF Site Interview: Sean Williams and Shane Dix
SF Site Review: The Stone Mage and the Sea
SF Site Review: The Prodigal Sun
SF Site Review: Metal Fatigue
SF Site Review: A View Before Dying

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Greg L. Johnson

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It has taken awhile, but Sean Williams' The Resurrected Man has finally found its way to North America. Winner of the Ditmar Award in its original 1998 Australian publication, The Resurrected Man is a worthy blending of near-future high-tech, private-eye noir, and the police procedural. Along the way, Williams gives us a provocative look at a world being rapidly changed by a new technology.

That technology is personal teleportation booths, that ultimate form of transportation well-known to SF fans from Larry Niven's stories and Star Trek's special effects. In this case, the process occurs in booths, with a person being dematerialized in one place and reconstructed in another. The process is important because it amounts to copying a person. What if an extra copy is made?

That possibility becomes an issue when a body is discovered suspended in a life-sustaining bath in a locked apartment. The body belongs to Jonah McEwen, a private detective who has been missing for three years. But there are public records of him using a transporter in the recent past, and there is a serial killer on the loose.

The story proceeds as Jonah is forced to partner with Marilyn Blaylock, an ex-lover and now policewoman, in order to find the killer and manipulator of the matter transport technology known as d-mat. Many elements of the classic murder mystery are present. There's the private eye and the lady with whom he shares a past, and who has good reason not to trust him. He has also got a few reasons not to trust her. The story plays out in terms of procedure, with investigations and questioning of witnesses. There are red herrings to be chased and true motives to be obscured. The whole thing finally climaxes with a classic drawing-room scene that suddenly transforms into a locked-room mystery.

Adding spice to the mix is the presentation of a society in flux due to the new technology and its implications. Add in an artificial intelligence developing opinions of its own and there's plenty in The Resurrected Man for readers of both mysteries and science fiction. Combining the two is an art form whose standards were established in classic works like Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel and Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man. Sean Williams' The Resurrected Man is a worthy addition to this little sub-genre, and should appeal to any readers who like having their cutting-edge social speculation wilded up with a bit of serial murder mystery and gore.

Copyright © 2005 by Greg L. Johnson

A transporter accident once conveyed reviewer Greg L. Johnson to a strange alternate reality where faster-than-light travel, nanotech, artificial intelligences, bio-engineering and time travel all existed but no one had ever heard of science fiction. His reviews also appear in the The New York Review of Science Fiction.


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