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The Measure of a Man   By: (1927-1987)

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The Measure of a Man by Randall Garrett is a thought-provoking and deeply philosophical piece of science fiction that delves into the complexities of human nature and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. Set in a futuristic society where androids have become nearly indistinguishable from humans, the story follows the life of John Davis, a renowned psychiatrist who finds himself embroiled in a moral quandary when he is appointed to evaluate an android's mental capabilities.

Garrett's writing style is engaging and captivating, seamlessly blending science fiction elements with profound philosophical reflections. He masterfully explores the theme of humanity and poses intriguing questions about the true measure of a person. Through the character of John Davis, Garrett challenges the reader to question their preconceived notions about what it means to be human, highlighting the fine line between man and machine.

The author succeeds in creating a believable and detailed futuristic world, evident in his vivid descriptions of technology advancements and the societal implications they bring. The fusion of advanced robotics and artificial intelligence is seamlessly integrated into the narrative, serving as a backdrop for deeper examinations of moral and ethical dilemmas.

The characters in The Measure of a Man are well-developed and relatable, with their internal struggles and conflicting emotions adding layers of depth to the story. John Davis, in particular, evolves throughout the book, facing personal and professional challenges that force him to confront his own biases and prejudices.

One of the book's strongest aspects is its exploration of the ethical implications of AI, as Garrett explores the consequences of creating beings that are almost indistinguishable from humans. He delves into themes of consciousness, free will, and the nature of identity, raising profound questions about the extent to which artificial beings are capable of emotions and moral decision-making.

Though the pace of the book may be slow for some readers, Garrett's meticulous attention to detail and the depth of his philosophical musings more than compensate for any minor pacing issues. The Measure of a Man is not a mere science fiction novel; it is a thought-provoking exploration of the core values that define humanity and the ethical considerations that arise as technology continues to advance.

In conclusion, The Measure of a Man by Randall Garrett is a resonant and intellectually stimulating work of science fiction that masterfully combines futuristic elements with timeless philosophical ponderings. Through its compelling narrative and well-developed characters, the book challenges readers to reevaluate their conceptions of humanity and grapple with the moral complexities of artificial intelligence. Garrett's ability to seamlessly weave together profound ideas with a captivating story makes this book a must-read for both science fiction enthusiasts and those interested in larger philosophical inquiries.

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What is desirable is not always necessary, while that which is necessary may be most undesirable. Perhaps the measure of a man is the ability to tell one from the other ... and act on it.

Alfred Pendray pushed himself along the corridor of the battleship Shane , holding the flashlight in one hand and using the other hand and his good leg to guide and propel himself by. The beam of the torch reflected queerly from the pastel green walls of the corridor, giving him the uneasy sensation that he was swimming underwater instead of moving through the blasted hulk of a battleship, a thousand light years from home.

He came to the turn in the corridor, and tried to move to the right, but his momentum was greater than he had thought, and he had to grab the corner of the wall to keep from going on by. That swung him around, and his sprained ankle slammed agonizingly against the other side of the passageway.

Pendray clenched his teeth and kept going. But as he moved down the side passage, he went more slowly, so that the friction of his palm against the wall could be used as a brake.

He wasn't used to maneuvering without gravity; he'd been taught it in Cadets, of course, but that was years ago and parsecs away... Continue reading book >>

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