Thursday, November 1, 2012

Found: "Multiple Man" by Ben Bova

Found: Multiple Man by Ben Bova, 1976, 0672520729.

I was weeding in adult fiction and this title was on the list.  Not cataloged as scifi.  I opened to the first page to read a bit - a risky and ill-advised action when trying to get work done - and decided to read the whole thing.  

A decent story of cloning, politics and murder.  In the future Presidential Press Secretary Meric Albano  discovers there is a dead man who is a dead ringer for the President.  Meric presses to be involved. Meric worries of assassination threat.  Meric learns of another dead clone.  Secret Service Agent secretly sleuthing slayings is slain after visiting President's father.  Meric sees conspiracy.  Meric finds out President was cloned as a child. All seven clones and real President were raised to be President by Committee with each guy having a policy focus and trading turns in public with speeches, wheeling, dealing, and fucking Laura, the wife.

Meric convinces President and President's father one of the clones is murdering off his brothers to be the only President.  Meric threatens press conference to draw out the killer.  Plan works.  Laura the wife in on the murder plan.  Meric convinces President - naturally born one - to spill beans to public.

1.  The story was decent, not great but I liked it and the story moved along smoothly without dead spots.
2.  I most enjoyed reading Bova's vision of the not-to-distant future that seems to be set about around 2010.  His vision of the future was still captive to 1976.  Bova refers to Vietnam and inflation.  Nixon fallout with worries on fraud and cheating.  Women still work office jobs and talk about chauvinism.  Waterbeds.  Pollution fretting (I guess the Clean Water Act did pretty damn good, huh?). Almost all cars are electric.  Lots of helicopters.  Lots of solar energy.
3.  Meric orders up a hooker at his St. Louis hotel.
4.  Lots of scotch.
5.  Technology guesses by Bova include computers all over but with green screens.  Typewriters still used.  No mobile phones but video phones are standard.
6.  The clone brothers were all unworried about the murders.  Very odd.  They seemed to think that murder was an internal family affair.  Not only were the men raised to be super smart, politically astute, and incredibly stupid about the law and truth.
7.  I do not much care for political novels but in many ways a read can pick Meric and assign him to their party of choice.

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