by Jack Williamson
Reviewed date: 2005 Sep 29
Rating: 2
217 pages
cover art

Fearing the destruction of the human race, a group of visionaries send seedships throughout the galaxy to populate other planets with mankind. They programmed artificial life forms called Defenders to protect the seedships en route and to help the colonists set up a new civilization.

The Defenders are not purely machine, though: they are partly human and have memories of the people whose personalities were used to create them. One Defender finds himself falling in love with the memory of Megan, the woman scientist who was the driving force behind the seedship project. When one of the first colonist turns out to be a clone of Megan, the Defender is hopelessly in love. (The plot complication is that the colonized planet is under attack by some aliens, except the aliens sent their robots and machines on ahead, and the robots and machines are waiting for the aliens to arrive before destroying the fledgling human colony.)

Manseed is not a great book. The entire back story is told as a collage of flashbacks as the Defender relives memories from the people whose personalities were stitched together to make him. It was fun to read, but I only give Manseed a rating of two out of five.

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