Kevin J. Anderson

Signet / 304 pages / 1st edition (July 5, 1988)

ISBN: 0451154096

You know the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.” That was never more true than it is in Resurrection, Inc.  No big surprise there, but get this: it gets worse, much worse. In Anderson’s world, you can’t even take your memories with you, but “they” can take you. And they will.

By the way, you really have no choice in the matter.

Sometime in the future, a man will decide that robots are never really going to work — too expensive, not lifelike enough, tough to maintain. Instead, why not use a relatively inexpensive product that is constantly renewing itself? No need to let all those corpses go to waste! Stick a few replacement parts in them, wipe all those inconvenient memories, and there you have it: the perfect Servant.

Sounds like a lovely luxury for the Servants’ owners, but what if you are the stiff? The idea of being trapped in a preserved carcass with just enough of your memories remaining to make the rest of your “life” a walking nightmare should scare the shit out of anyone.

Rodney Quick is one of the technicians responsible for animating. Jones is one of the dreaded and hated Enforcers, a private army formed to keep the populace under control and maintain the uneasy peace. It’s one of the few jobs left after the Servants were created. Too bad Jones’ career is on the downhill slope and getting lower all the time. But, no one is having as rough a time as Danal, who just woke up to life as a Servant. No will of his own, and no identity other than the name given him by his owner. The worst part is, just enough memories are creeping back in to torture Danal.

The whole thing sounds like one big nightmare, because it is. Anderson has taken a horrifying society and given it an additional, disturbing twist. Given a choice, most readers would probably prefer not to live to see this vision come true. No matter how bad death may seem, living death has got to be worse.

You may be thinking you’ve heard this story before, but bear in mind that this is something of a resurrection for Resurrection, Inc.  The novel first appeared in 1988, so it’s coming up on its 12th anniversary. It was Kevin J. Anderson’s first novel and a bold first step into the genre. Honestly, it doesn’t quite reach the height of his contemporary work, but that’s the way a body of work should read — getting better all the time. Servants and humans seem to share the same depth of emotion and reaction, most of the time. The rage, fury, and passion of everyday life are absent.

You know, that just might be the point: As time goes on, is the gap between man and machine slowly shrinking? Now that’s a scary thought.