fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIdentity Theft by Robert J. SawyerIdentity Theft by Robert J. Sawyer

Alex Lomax, a private detective on Mars, has been hired by Cassandra Wilkins to find her missing husband, Joshua Wilkins. At first the solution to the mystery seems obvious, but Lomax soon discovers that it’s a lot more unusual, complicated, and dangerous, than he originally thought. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins are Transfers — they’ve had their consciousnesses uploaded to artificial bodies. But that’s not the only reason the Wilkins case isn’t routine — it also involves a paleontologist who has discovered a large cache of valuable Martian fossils. Can Lomax solve the crime without getting himself killed?

Identity Theft is fast, fun, exciting, and peopled with interesting characters in an original setting. The idea of uploaded consciousnesses isn’t new for Robert J. Sawyer, but he asks some intriguing questions about that idea here. I’m looking forward to reading “Biding Time,” another story featuring the clever detective Alex Lomax.

Identity Theft has been published in print in Down These Dark Spaceways, The Nebula Awards Showcase 2007, and Identity Theft and Other Stories. It was a finalist for the 2005 Hugo and Nebula Awards and won the top SF award in Spain in 2004. I listened to the audio version which is 2½ hours long. It was produced by Blackstone Audio and read by Anthony Heald who is excellent. If you purchase the audio version, pay attention to the prices. I purchased mine at Audible for significantly less than the CD version. It currently lists at $6, but I got it on sale for less.

2010. Identity Theft is a hard-boiled detective novella set on Mars. Cassandra and Joshua Wilkins are fossil hunters who have both recently transferred their minds into artificial bodies, but now Joshua has mysteriously disappeared. Cassandra must hire Alex Lomax, the only private detective on the red planet, to locate Joshua before sinister forces get to him. Robert J. Sawyer has written 18 novels, and his short fiction has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. He has won 41 national and international awards, most prominently the 1995 Nebula Award, the 2003 Hugo Award, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.