Less Than Human by Maxine McArthur

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Book Information  
AuthorMaxine McArthur
TitleLess Than Human
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Grace O\'Malley 
(Jun 03, 2005)

This book is a combination science fiction and mystery. It's set in a near future Japan with a gaijin (foreighner) as the protagonist. Married to a Japanese husband, Eleanor McGuire is an engineer working on a project to create a robot that can move like a human. McArthur uses a, by now, familiar theme of an engineer who believes he has found a way for people to exist only in cyber space thus cheating death, disease and old age. It is tough to create a new approach to this theme and McArthur has done it by developing a mystery that relies on the advances in robotics and computer science that are either in the works (the SONY development of a walking robot) or are predicted as possible futures (human consciousness existing inside a computer or network). The characters are interesting and appealing. The danger and mystery are real. McArthur uses the backdrop of Japanese society to good advantage. It is a different mystery than one assuming US society would be. This is true especially in the way that the characters interact. As crisis builds this book is one that kept me reading well past midnight. McArthur has created a gritty, realistic world and posed an interesting answer to the "what if" of a mystery.

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