''Kiln People'' is a 2002 science fiction novel by author Creator/DavidBrin. The book is set in the near-future, where technology allows people to place a copy of their consciousness into a life-size model of their body made of clay, completely revolutionising society. The story follows private detective Albert Morris and his duplicates, or 'dittos', as he chases the criminal Beta and investigates the disappearance of Yosil Maharal, the creator of the ditto technology.
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!! This work provides examples of:
* AceCustom: Maharal's platinum dittos and Beta's plaids.
* AffablyEvil: Beta.
* AmazingTechnicolorPopulation: It's actually illegal to have dittos walking around in public with realistic skin tones. So the basic models are colour-coded based on their model, then they are recolored based on personal preference.
* ApocalypticLog: Several of the disposable clones of Albert Morris get to describe their own demise in first person. As a lampshade/justification, Albert is used to them being unable to return to him for inloading, so he deliberately orders blanks fitted with voice recorders and a compulsion to recite so he can still find out what they've discovered.
* ArchEnemy: Averted -- One of Albert's dittos notes that he thinks of himself as Sherlock to Beta's Moriarty, but Beta is far too clever for him. Beta is more irritated than threatened by Albert's crusade to bring him down.
* ArtificialHuman: The dittos. Their organs, bones, flesh etc. are all made of clay. Subverted however with the golems with a non-human form, such as the battle dittos, which have a human mind but often monstrous forms.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: [[spoiler: The ultimate goal of ditto!Maharal, and a possible fate of Albert.]]
* BecomeARealBoy: [[spoiler: Once Albert becomes half-ascended at the end of the novel, he agrees to let his failed copy Frankie upload his memories and mind into Albert's body, taking it over, fulfilling Frankie's dream of becoming human. The trope's title is even used.]]
* BittersweetEnding: More sweet than bitter. [[spoiler: Frankie gets to become a real boy with Clara, and all the villains get either defeated or severely restricted. Archie gets a more ambiguous ending, with only the chance to explore the soulscape.]]
* BloodSport: Played with. It's common for humans to hunt dittos, or to create dittos to fight each other in combat and then absorb their memories. Although the dittos can be brutally maimed or killed, the original humans are perfectly safe, so there is no blood spilt.
* CardCarryingVillain: Beta is "the last of the master criminals" and gleefully lives up to his role.
* CloneDegeneration: Dittos (also called golems) [[EverythingFades disintegrate]] after their small amount of artificial life force is used up. There are however some ways to slow the process.
** Copying a ditto's mind into another ditto generally results in a drooling idiot rather than a functional golem; Albert's got a minor quirk, in that his dittos of dittos work perfectly.
** Making dittos when distracted or emotional results in frankensteins/"frankies": copies that deviate from their original. This can range from shambling monsters to simply identifying as new, original individuals. Archie's green ditto on Tuesday morning is his first frankie, identified as Frank/Frankie/Gumby.
* ClonesArePeopleToo: Some treat dittos as individual beings worthy of the same rights as humans. A Ditto hospital even exists, even though Dittos' lifespans are only a couple of days.
* CloningBlues: Averted and played straight. Most of Albert's dittos are happy with their short lot in life, believing that by using the machine to return their memories to Albert, they get a kind of afterlife and meaning in existence. Frankie however, a flawed copy of Albert who doesn't follow his will, does complain a bit about his situation.
** Clones who know they're not going to rejoin the archetype tend to despair; society has adapted to this, and some volunteers organize the Temple of the Ditsenfranchised to provide some comfort for the dittos who aren't getting an afterlife.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Green dittos are the cheapest, with slightly reduced intelligence, the least physical ability and are more suitable for menial and simpler tasks. A grey ditto is superior quality and higher price. Ebonies have increased intelligence, and can absorb and analyse large amounts of data quickly. Ivory dittos are sexbots, with more pleasure receptors. Purples are combat models, with no pain receptors. Red and yellow versions are also mentioned but don't appear much. Platinums are the highest quality, superior in their realism to greys, and can pass for human if not for their skin tone- only the rick like Kaolin can afford them.
** Although colour customization of dittos covers up these categories, some characters prefer certain designs which mark their dittos, such as Beta's preference for yellows, [[spoiler: then tartan then spiral designs. Kaolin takes advantage of these to pass of his dittos has Beta.]]
* {{Cyborg}}: Most humans possess tiny, cyborg additions by the time the novel is set. Albert himself has a camera fitted in his eye and a phone fitted in his head, among other gadgets. It is common to fit similar, though cheaper and simpler devices in dittos too. Albert makes it common practise to fit his dittos with voice recorders, providing most of the narration of the book.
* DeityOfHumanOrigin: [[spoiler: ditMaharal's plan. Unfortunately Albert and his dittos sabotage it, resulting in instead Albert becoming an extradimensional explorer of human origin.]]
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: PlayedForLaughs when Albert has to walk across a desert, and assumes his grandfather would have laughed as such a dangerous task, given that he risked his life every day driving to work.
* DoppelgangerReplacementLoveInterest: [[spoiler: Frankie takes over Albert's body with the latter's permission, partly to allow their mutual love Clara a proper and happy life, instead of being stuck with two half men.]]
* EarnYourHappyEnding: After going through hell, worrying about his place in life and expecting to not survive beyond a couple of days, Frankie [[spoiler: gets to upload his mind into Albert's semi-comatose body. Frankie gets a real body, a real lifespan and a chance to be with the woman he loves, Clara, Albert's fiancee.]]
* EnemyWithout: [[spoiler: Beta]]
* ExpendableClone: How most people treat their dittos. Some however treat them with varying levels of respect, including Albert.
* FirstPersonSmartass: Apart from one chapter which is in the second person.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: If one has a knowledge of Jewish mythology and a close attention to detail, then [[spoiler: Beta's instructions to Albert at the beginning of the novel reveal a good part of the plot.]]
* FutureSlang: Mostly related to the revolutionary ditto technology. A clay duplicate is a "golem" or a "ditto". A human a ditto is based off is called a "rig" (from "original") or an "archie" (from "archetype"). A "frankie" (from Literature/{{Frankenstein}}) is a poorly made ditto who is not a perfect copy of the original's personality, and as such is much less likely to follow orders. A "ghost" is a ditto that still exists after the original has died.
* GentlemanThief: Beta likes to cultivate this image, and scrupulously refrains from damaging real people. The latter is, however, because if he did actually hurt someone, he would be crossing the MoralEventHorizon, [[PragmaticVillainy and that's bad for business.]]
* {{Golem}}: The essential premise of the book is that this is a world where technology has allowed the creation of golems, giving life to clay.
* ImmortalLifeIsCheap: Played straight and subverted. The short-lived clay golems into which people download their personalities are regarded as totally expendable, but no-one risks their real self any more, and for someone to suffer even minor injury is quite a scandal.
* InTheFutureHumansWillBeOneRace: Played with. After the creation of clones, "brown" becomes the term used for all human skin tones, even Caucasians.
* JekyllAndHyde: Beta turns out to be [[spoiler: Ritu Maharal. She suffers from a rare mental condition similar to a split personality, where at random dittos she creates are formed from a second personality which is a ruthless criminal.]]
* KillAndReplace: Averted. [[spoiler: Maharal is replaced by his duplicate, but it doesn't hide the fact that it is a ditto.]]
* {{LARP}}: A very common pastime is LARP using dittos; the slang is "[[JustForPun role-claying game]]." At one point, Albert's conflict with Beta is referred to as a very childish one. Beta agrees, but notes that it's [[SeriousBusiness one with serious money at stake]].
* LiteralSplitPersonality: [[spoiler: Beta is a split personality of Ritu Maharal which takes over all of her dittos. It is suggested by Beta that their father Yohil Maharal may have a more subdued version.]]
* MadScientist: Diagnosed as Smersh-Foxleitner Syndrome. Arrogance, sociopathy, mood-swings, self-delusion are some of its many symptoms, and [[spoiler: ditMaharal]] is a text-book case.
* MarketBasedTitle: Known as ''[[http://www.flickr.com/photos/57037724@N03/5452451599/ Kil'n People]]'' in the UK.
* MegaCorp: United Kilns
* MesACrowd: Core to life in the book's setting. The plot essentially follows Archie and three dittos he creates on a Tuesday morning (one to investigate a new case, one to close an old one, one to do the chores). From there events spiral out of control as he/they investigate the mysteries he/they encounter.
* [[MySiblingWillLiveThroughMe My Original Will Live Through Me]]: When [[spoiler: original Albert]] becomes near-comatose, [[spoiler: his copy Frankie]] takes over his life for him, with his permission [[spoiler: by overwriting Albert's mind with Frankie's by uploading]].
* MySkullRunnethOver: It is standard practise to use a machine to absorb a ditto's memories back into the original before it dies. The problem is that the human brain only has space for a few hundred years' worth of memories, which is normally not a problem even for most ditto users. One character, however, has become a "queen bee" she stays in one place and sends out dozens of dittoes at a time to live her life for her and arranges for an elaborate suicide when she realizes she's almost out of room.
* OurSoulsAreDifferent: The "Standing Wave" is the scientific term for the soul; essentially, the software and data of the mind. It's independent of the physical brain, and can be freely copied (thus allowing for dittos), but can only run ''on'' wetware identical to the original's brain, and copies can merge back with the original (under normal circumstances).
* PinocchioSyndrome: Frankie would much rather be human than a ditto.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Key to [[spoiler: ditto!Maharal's]] villainous scheme. They intend to [[spoiler: release biological weapons into densely populated urban areas while using ditto technology to empower and release their own soul. The resulting deaths would boost ditto!Maharal's soul, allowing it to transcend to godhood.]]
* PrivateDetective: Albert Morris (and by extension his dittos).
* RightHandVersusLeftHand: One of Albert's dittoes mentions that it's indeed possible for the right hand not to know what the left hand is doing, and goes under a confidentiality seal to keep the details of his work private even from the original Albert, because there's a possibility that two of Albert's dittoes are working at cross purposes, and it's only a conflict of interest if they report back home.
* SecondPersonNarration: Used to demonstrate to the reader how the characters' consciousness changes when exposed to [[spoiler: ditto!Maharal's soul machine.]] It also increases the tension during the climax of the story.
* {{Sexbot}}: Ivory dittos are designed to feel greater sexual pleasure, the experiences of which the originals will later absorb.
* ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder: By the time of the novel's events, mad science has been diagnosed as caused by one of several psychological complexes. Albert Morris listens to the villain [[spoiler: ditto!Maharal]] ramble and mentally goes down a list of symptoms, eventually diagnosing him with a textbook case of one of the complexes.
* SharingABody: [[spoiler: Beta is Ritu Maharal's split personality, a result of Maharal attempting to imprint his own genius into her as a child.]]
* ShoutOut:
** Literature/{{Frankenstein}}: The slang for a renegade ditto is a "Frankenstein duplicate" or "frankie."
** Literature/{{Pinocchio}} is referenced at one point when talking about Frankie: [[spoiler: "She's all yours, Pinocchio."]]
* StrappedToAnOperatingTable: [[spoiler: Tuesday's first grey, and the red that is duplicated from it.]]
* SuperSoldier: Ditto soldiers, all with superhuman abilities, fight all wars now, as humans cannot compete with their abilities and disposable nature. So now all wars are treated as sport: competition where incredible soldiers fight for a week, while their human originals meditate and train.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Dittos have no rights to speak of; if a ditto is killed, it's not murder, but a civil tort for destruction of the original's property. This is despite dittos possessing all of their originals consciousness and personality, if copied correctly.
* WeWillUseManualLabourInTheFuture: Dittos are often built in non-human forms, such as greater physical strength for in factories, or titanic dinosaur-like dittoes as buses.
* WorkingTheSameCase: Part of what makes the novel interesting is that four copies of the same man are investigating different matters relating to the same case. [[spoiler: Frankie comes the closest to figuring out the whole story.]]
* ZombieAdvocate: Individuals of varying extremism compete for ditto rights as persons rather than property. The Ephemeral Church are more moderate, giving dittos support and healthcare despite only lasting for a day, while Lum's extremists want to make dittos equivalent to people. Reactions range from sympathy to contempt.
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