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Man Over Mind
Dean S. Warren
Xlibris, 247 pages

Man Over Mind
Dean S. Warren
Before college, Dean S. Warren served in the U.S. Navy, where he acted as a radiological safety monitor at the Bikini atom bomb tests. Afterwards, he attended the University of California at Los Angeles, the London School of Economics, and Harvard. He started his career working for Lockheed, soon specialized in selling aircraft to Southwest Asia. Later, he moved to Martin Marietta as Director of Aerospace Market Research. Now retired, Dean S. Warren lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife.

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Xlibris Corporation

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

In the 33rd century, rule by a man/computer hybrid has become a nightmare. Billions seethe, waiting for the slightest chance to overthrow the Minds that control them and have made life unbearable for centuries. Until now, no one has come along who has presented any hope for destroying these human brains who join with the computers to become all-powerful and monstrous in their appetites.

Out of these billions comes one man, the sole survivor of an ancient and honoured family, daring to take on the vast power of the Minds. Tol is determined to break the Minds' crushing hold on humanity or die in the attempt. Looking at the situation in a coldly logical light, the latter appears the most likely conclusion. Tol knows the risks, but he simply isn't willing to give up on the plan.

Actually, plan might be a bit inaccurate; most of the time, Tol is operating with less of a plan than a determination. Much of the time, he even seems to be working against the people who are ostensibly on his side. If nothing else, Tol is a man with an exceptionally strong will and an amazingly thick skull.

Man Over Mind plays out as a contest of wills as much as it is a test of mental dexterity. Tol's war against the Minds is a fascinating learning process with a deadly consequence for failure. How he discovers paths into and around the defenses of the Minds is like a maze with occasional rewards, but always more labyrinth ahead. The process is taut and unpredictable every time. It is this uncertainty that keeps the plot driving forward.

Perhaps, as to be expected in a novel focussing on computers and human beings who have lost their humanity, the characters are the least interesting aspect of Man Over Mind. The story's requisite beautiful, young woman rarely rises above cut-out status, swinging from one extreme emotion to another. Tol's friends and supporters fill the necessary roles of an army of rebellion, but progress no further. Even the villainous Minds lack dimension to give them more than Snidely Whiplash style evil.

Obviously, the hard work here went into the complicated plot. Tol's battles with the Minds are complex and taut, revealing more about the human brain with every encounter. The questions raised about computer logic and the process of the human mind are enough to halt the reader in mid-sentence at times.

Man Over Mind will definitely set your own brain thinking and wondering. You can't help but wonder though, if it couldn't have been so much more.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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