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Machine Man

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Scientist Charles Neumann loses a leg in an industrial accident. It's not a tragedy. It's an opportunity. Charlie always thought his body could be better. He begins to explore a few ideas. To build parts. Better parts.

Prosthetist Lola Shanks loves a good artificial limb. In Charlie, she sees a man on his way to becoming artificial everything. But others see a madman. Or a product. Or a weapon.

A story for the age of pervasive technology, Machine Man is a gruesomely funny unraveling of one man's quest for ultimate self-improvement.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 13, 2011 – RoboCop meets Nathanael West's A Cool Million in Barry's cautionary satire of the future of bio-augmentation. Dr. Charlie Neumann (get it?), an employee at the bioengineering company Better Future, loses his leg in an industrial accident and has it replaced with a prosthesis. After tinkering with and improving his artificial leg, Charlie loses his remaining good leg, but this time it's no accident; he likes being able to make artificial upgrades to his body. So do his employers, who see the military applications of Charlie's fixation and put him in charge of a project to modify the human body with mil-spec prostheses. When one of the other test subjects, a security guard who has had his arms replaced, goes rogue and kidnaps Lola Shanks, the prosthetics expert who has become the object of Charlie's affection, Charlie sets off to hunt down the monster he has helped to create. Like Mary Shelley's famous creation, this story and character are rather stitched together, and doesn't achieve a life or identity of its own. The result is a pastiche that, like Charlie, stays too wrapped up in its own head to grip the reader on a more emotional level.

Customer Reviews

More Than The Sum

I received this book last night after I'd pre-ordered it. I was so excited. I popped onto the author's Twitter page to voice my excitement. I compared my joy for books to that of drugs. He replied, kindly advising me not to inhale the book.

I might as well have. Less than 24 hours later I'd already finished the work and begun anticipating how much I'd enjoy reading it a second time.

Maybe I'm biased. After coming back from Afghanistan with friends wired with the latest prosthetics, or perhaps just as someone fascinated with my own mortality in the face of my next deployment, I was already obsessed with prosthetics. I, myself, thought the current models were silly trifling things, only primitively trying to recreate forward motion.

We have powerful computers smaller than the size of a deck of cards. Couldn't we do more with something the size of a leg?

Read Max Barry's book. Perhaps to find out what it means to be human. Perhaps to find out what it means to be machine. More than likely, you'll discover what it means to be more than the sum of one's parts.

Am. I. Wrong?

There are many books, fictitious and otherwise, where you start with a flawed protagonist who, by the end, has overcome his or her barriers to a predictable happy ending.
This is not one of those books.
Max does a great job, via writing style, conveying a thought process both foreign and familiar - The author presses on concerns about the web between research, development, and politics in a way starkly valid to today's technological climate.
With well thought out technologies and a good grasp of what could be possible, while "out there", this novel strikes closer to home than some may think.
One of the best books I've read - in which, by far, the most unique protagonist I've identified with has come to light through these pages.
I have to wonder, by the end: Am I wrong?

Great book

Another great and unique read by Barry - he never disappoints! A real page turner, couldn't put it down!

Machine Man
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Aug 09, 2011
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings