The Modular Man

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The Modular Man
The Modular Man.jpg
AuthorRoger MacBride Allen
Cover artistBruce Jensen [1]
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherBantam Books
Publication date
Media typePrint

The Modular Man is a science fiction novel by American writer Roger MacBride Allen. It is the fourth in the Next Wave series.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel concerns the issue of personhood and what it takes to be considered a member of the moral universe. There are three main characters: Herbert the vacuum cleaner, who is modified by his owner, David Bailey, a scientist who specializes in figuring out how to "mindload". Mindloading is the act of a human downloading his mind into a machine. A successful mindload entails the death of the human. It is a way for humans to become immortal, if only in the form of vacuum cleaner.[2]

The book begins with the arrest of Herbert, the vacuum cleaner, for David's murder. David's wife, Suzanne Jantille, is a trial attorney who is a quadriplegic as a result of a car crash that also paralyzed her husband. She lives through a "Remote person" who has all human senses except for the ability to feel by touch. She can guide the remote person through a helmet attached to her "bio body" and retrieves all "video and audio" signals through the remote. She can function as a whole human being, but the outside world notices that she is a remote—and does not approve.

Suzanne defends Herbie, with the help of an astute journalist and a police officer who has access to documents that she wouldn't otherwise. The book ends with a recognition of David’s humanity due to the ultimate confusion in the courtroom. It also ends with the death of Suzanne’s bio-body, and in turn, her ultimate death.


  1. ^ Copyright page The Modular Man by Roger MacBride Allen, Bantam Books, Copyright 1996.
  2. ^ The Modular Man by Roger MacBride Allen, Bantam Books, Copyright 1996.