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Book Note: Steven Brust, The Incrementalists

I read this book about 5-Jul-2013. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2013. This note was last modified Friday, 23-Aug-2013 18:11:27 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


By Steven Brust and Skyler White. It's coming out next month as I write this.


This is the beginning of a new series, a new universe, with a fascinating premise: some people, going back pretty much to the dawn of humanity, have the ability to do a few special things. These things include leaving their memories around in a virtual "memory garden" that's shared between them, influencing the decisions of others, and having their personality and memories implanted after they're dead into a new person (the personality of the new person is a toss-up, but it has access to the implanted memories and its own memories in either case). (Other than these people, it's contemporary.) I remember brainstorming some of the setup for this when them at a Fourth Street a year or so ago.

The current incarnation of this loose organization strongly favors making changes carefully and incrementally, hence the name. They make things a little bit better now and then when they can. I hypothesize that there may have been some experiences in the past leading them to this choice.

So, the story starts with Phil being chosen to find a person to implant the "stub" of Celeste, who has recently died (and has been a long-term interest and sometime lover of Phil's). He picks Ren (stubs go into people not already members of the group). She throws him off by agreeing much faster than he plans for, and ends up getting the stub without the usual amount of preparation. This leads to some moments of unusual interest.

Plus, Celeste has been clever and somewhat selfish.

Plus, there is long-term politicing within the group that somewhat comes to a head over all of this.

Quite enough is resolved to make this a satisfactory book, but the universe and characters allow scope for large numbers of additional stories. That could be a very good thing!

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David Dyer-Bennet