In David Brin's novel Kiln People, there is an unclear reference--once--to Ritu having a shaved head, but no explanation as to when or why or how this happened.

Did Beta, her criminal alter ego, make her do it so he/she could more easily control a bunch of giant war-golems?

This is mentioned at the point where Albert Morris has a strange, transcendent experience at the climax of the novel.

"First, look around for Ritu. An earlier version of that wounded-confused soul. You'll detect her soon, filled with self-loathing as she surrenders to an inner craving beyond her self-control, laying her shaved head between the poles of a high-capacity tetragrammatron while autokilns warm up nearby, preparing several dozen giant golems built for war."

  • Note: I had a lot of difficulty/technical problems with the formatting of this question, otherwise I would have spoiler-texted the paragraph I posted. I did rewrite the middle sentence to make it less spoilery.
    – user24353
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 18:51
  • I've spoiler texted it for you. Markdown on SE is somewhere between infuriating and straight-up incomprehensible.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


It's left over from an earlier disguise.

Earlier in the novel, Ritu needed to send a ditto of herself on a trip for which travelling in her original body would have been suspicious. Being unable to transfer her original personality into a golem body, she shaved her head so that she could disguise herself as a copy.

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