Read this in UK maybe 2010, but it was a library book heavily stamped, no doubt a few years older. A reasonable-sized book of maybe 400 pages.

World building implied there were teleportation cabinets everywhere of importance, the protagonist was (I think!) some kind of artist and also an investigator with a cabinet beside his studio.

The last impression of a teleportation was saved in the system so if you got really ill or badly injured your friends/family could 'save' you by putting you into cabinet and sending you to a nearby destination. You arrived healthy and then beamed back again.

However it stated in the story that it actually murdered you at the outgoing side and kept your tissues there. At any incoming side there was always kept a reserve of tissue for people beaming in.

Protagonist was investigating some crime (I think with his girlfriend) and he went to beam somewhere and master criminal hacked the beam and created a copy of main character in his dungeon lab complex. New copy was like “you’ve got to be kidding” as evil henchmen seize him.

A few years later and hero inadvertently gets the copy back but it had been tortured and brainwashed for years. Covered in festive tattoos (that’s what it stated in the book....”festive tattoos”) and dressed in ragged and filthy jester clothes, he spent most of his time whimpering and cringing in a Gollum manner while they tried to get his backstory.

One thing they learned about master criminal (as witnessed many times by the jester) was he liked to sport with himself by “double beaming” across his lab. He entered the cabinet and two of him exited but a randomiser ensured it was a couple of minutes apart.

This ensured one bad guy was always ready to capture himself and chain him to the floor to kill him by torture. Lots of screams every time “No! No! This is wrong, it’s not meant to be you, it’s meant to be me!”

The triumphant bad guy would snigger at his hapless double and give it “Ha! Stupid!” as he commenced his lethal torture for the day.


2 Answers 2


I believe this is The Collapsium by Wil McCarthy.

Set in a future society spanning our solar system (not galaxy), thanks to fax technology that allows anyone to fax themselves (or anything else) anywhere (at light speed) (and of course make copies). The protagonist Bruno is a scientist who invented the fax technology and is unbelievably rich (he gets drunk at a charity function full of rich people and makes a donation that is vastly more than anyone else can afford) because of the royalty contracts his lawyers set up for use of the fax technology. Another very rich person invented 'morbidity filters' that fix anything wrong with you as you go through the fax.

The antagonist Marlon Sykes is another scientist, as smart as Bruno, but jealous of him. He did intercept a fax transmission of Bruno and made copies that he tortured, and later allowed one of these to escape to send a message to Bruno. This copy also describes Sykes making copies of himself and torturing them.

Plot involves three pending disasters involving massive engineering work managed by Sykes, and the Queen calls Bruno in to solve them. Eventually it is determined that Sykes had sabotaged the projects.

The third major character is the Queen, appointed to the role when she was 16 as the "Eternal Virgin Queen". Her first act was to censure the council that appointed her as "eternal virgin". Her second act was to get the scientists to work out how she could be "eternal virgin" and have sex. Her third act was to call for applications to be the Queen's Philander.

Sykes had won and been appointed First Philander. Later the queen dumped him and made Bruno Second Philander. Even though Bruno has also been dumped, this is one reason for Sykes's jealousy.


Could this be The Resurrected Man by Sean Williams?

The protagonist is a one-time private eye named Jonah whose former lover and colleague Marylin, now a cop, he must work with to track down a serial killer known as the Twinmaker. Since all of the victims resemble Marylin, he is maybe a suspect, but because he was found damaged, and was in suspension for 3 years, it's possible he is instead a victim.

The Twinmaker does what it sounds like, he makes copies of people in transit in order to torture and kill them. But if the "original" (intended clone, at least) isn't harmed, and has no memories of it, is it even a crime?

I haven't read it, but I found a likely-sounding reference to it on the Destructive Teleportation page on TVTropes. (TVTropes warning!) From there I found a blurb and a couple of reviews.


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