Machine Man by Max Berry

This is a story about a scientist who loses a leg in an accident, and then gets caught up. The story was a fairly fun romp, but the moral felt obvious and overdone. The first chapter leading up to the initial accident is fantastic. The scientist can’t find his cellphone, and his continued distraction is captured perfectly. I suspect that I would have enjoyed this chapter standing alone as a short story. The rest of the book doesn’t have the same momentum. It gets caught up in big ideas that feel clumsy. The question of cyborg bodies is fascinating, and an increasingly inescapable part of our daily lives. We are attached to our phones in weird, possibly harmful ways. But it isn’t all bad. I don’t think Berry is saying that, but his take on the topic seem too simplistic. The novel is mostly enjoyable because it’s well plotted and uses humor well, but it never really sparks, and ultimately it felt unsatisfying.

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