The Man in Two Bodies by Stanley Salmons

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Rating 6.0/10
I admired this book for the twists in perspective as well as in the story.

Shunned by the scientific establishment, brilliant maverick Rodge Dukas works in a damp basement surrounded by outlandish equipment. His discovery could propel humanity to a new Golden Age. But his student friend Mike Barrett has other ideas - they can use it to make themselves incredibly rich. The ensuing crime spree has the police baffled.

So why do we find Mike attending a memorial service for Rodge? And where is Suzy, Mike's girlfriend, who showed rather too much affection for their 'mad scientist' housemate?

The Man in Two Bodies is an interesting novel, part sci-fi, part crime. We are led into the lives of two university students Mike and Rodge, who have always had a symbiotic relationship with Mike the adoring acolyte and Rodge the shining genius who allows Mike to tag along, explaining the undergraduate physics course they are taking in an instructive manner. Although throughout these years they cannot be called friends they gravitate towards each other.

The book itself is split between 3 characters. In the first section we see the world from Mike’s perspective and characteristically he is an easy going bloke still finding his place in the world. He decides once he has experience of the real world to find out what Rodge is up to and from there we head into the more fantastic areas of the story. As previously mentioned Rodge is a genius and he has constructed what I can only describe as a mass resonance machine, a way to transport matter from a starting point to an end destination, although you end up in two places at the same time. This is quite similar to a transporter in Star Trek, but in actuality has more in common with the machine used in The Prestige by Christopher Priest.

After a quarter of the book we switch from Mike’s perspective to that of Rodge which was slightly jarring as Mike is quite puppyish, although always practical while Rodge is clinical in his genius, always wanting to prove himself. At this point Mike has been hanging out with a young woman named Suze, and Mike, Rodge and Suze have become a small social group. Rodge’s perspective is socially aloof, for all his smarts he doesn’t understand what friendship really is and seems to be moved more by power. After Mike and he work out what his invention could do for the world he is given a short reality check before coming to the realisation that his invention could be used for his own satisfaction. Rodge is quite a sociopathic character, who takes without giving and although he has knee-jerk reactions to his actions does not seem to think through them in certain situations.

Suze starts out as a bit part character revelling in the attentions and non-attentions of Mike and Rodge, but once we get to see her perspective in her chapters she is the moderate character where Rodge is cold and Mike is warm, she is drawn as quite a selfish character, who seems to be only looking out for herself, like a trainee femme fatale. Each time we are given one of the main characters perspectives we learn more about each of them and it works as a good dynamic, as no one is too good or bad and each has their own personal failings.

So the questions really are, if you had the opportunity to be in two places at the same time, what would you choose to do? Who would you be willing to trust with this epic secret? And best of all how far would you push the limits of your friendships? I admired this book for the twists in perspective as well as in the story, it is intriguing and I enjoyed the ending for reasons that will have to remain hidden until you read this yourself.

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The Man in Two Bodies reader reviews

from United Kingdom

10-stars

I truly enjoyed reading this book. Once you start reading it, you become so involved that you do not want to stop. What I like is the combination of true science with fiction and thriller followed by an insight into human nature. The scientific background is very well explained: physics and engineering have always attracted my attention despite me practising a different profession. Reading the book from the perspective of each character is original because it gives a clear idea of what they think about each other and themselves. Finally, it is a test for friendship and science at the same time: what would you really do if you were to make such a discovery? Should science be free to progress regardless of the potential negative consequences or is it human nature the potential danger? Definitely, a book not to be missed.

8/10 from 2 reviews

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