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Cyborg, by Martin Caidin

By Martin Caidin, this book was the basis for a TV movie and then the TV show "The Six Million Dollar Man".

This was an odd read, and it's become slightly more strange now that I've read a couple of the reviews that were left for it over on Amazon. All the reviews there were these glowing "best book ever" "amazing sci-fi" things, which was really not my experience at all.

The story itself isn't bad and there's some mildly interesting cybernetics/bionics bits. Maybe at the time it was written (early 70's) it would have been more revolutionary as far as that particular subject goes. But the issues I had weren't really to do with the science at all.

First issue is that it's incredibly sexist. Yes I'm sure part of that is because of when it was written, but I've read lots of sci-fi "classics" that were written decades ago that don't have that problem. The women all do that "damsel in distress/I just want the big strong man to love me" thing, which is just weird. And the guys do that "I'm going to make the decisions for your own good" thing. The characters in general, but the women in particular are very two-dimensional.

Moving on from that, the attitudes after the main character gets hurt (which allows him to become the bionic man and all that) struck me as really off. Again, maybe it's because at the time it was written there weren't as many options for people with serious injuries. But even so, they seemed extreme. It was just assumed that of course he'll want to kill himself, who wouldn't? And then it took forever for the dude to start interacting with the world again. All the characters' baseline attitudes seemed very out of wack to me. If it were one or two of them, fine. But this was all of them. It would have been more realistic to have a range of attitudes and reactions.

Also, it took quite a long time for anything to happen. Both in terms of time within the story and pages for the reader. I found myself thinking "get on with it already!" more than once! A lot of the science and explanations took a lot longer than seemed necessary, and rather dry on top of it. It just seemed overly elaborate for no real reason.

There are a couple more books that were written (I think there's four total in the series) but I'm not at all sure I'll try any of them. Maybe I'll hunt up the next one and skim it to see if it gets any better before committing to the whole thing.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 15, 2008 12:04 PM.

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