9

Read a book a long time (at least 10-15 years) ago about a man (I'm pretty sure he was rich, or at least well off) in a future where teleportation was normal mode of transport. He's going to teleport when there's a power outage (due to storm?) and the teleportation fails. He soon finds out that it only partially failed and he did materialize on the receiving side, but did not dematerialize on the sending side. The receiving side is the legally viable version and the sending side version is basically a fugitive.

Other points I'm not 100% sure of:

  1. I'm pretty sure this was by a fairly famous sci-fi author
  2. The fail-safe is to not destroy the sending copy until the receiving copy is complete and the power failure happens at the exact right moment
  3. It is mentioned that there is religious protest against teleportation as they consider this to basically be murdering the sending copy.
  • How similar to Think Like a Dinosaur is the basic idea. – releseabe Dec 10 '19 at 2:13
10

This is The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

It's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We've genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure... Arrival... Delight!

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980's new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

The disruption was due to a bombing by said religious faction, not a regular power outage. Joel is being pursued by the teleportation company in part because their system does indeed work by creating a new copy and killing the old one (the titular "Punch Escrow" is their technobabble explanation of how they aren't doing this) and later because there's a government program to ensure immortality by having people encoded, cleaned up, and re-materialized. Also, while Joel, and the reader, are unaware of this initially, the transport really did fail, and it was only due to his wife's intervention, using the aforementioned government secret project, that he's reconstituted from stored data patterns.

As noted in the comments, as a 2017 novel, the date does not match, and Tal M. Klein is not exactly a prolific author. A similar tale, "Think Like a Dinosaur", was written in 1995 by fairly well known author James Patrick Kelly, and involves a similar plotline. It was later also released as an episode on The Outer Limits:

Michael Burr is the sole human who works and lives on a specialized base, the Tuulen station, on the moon. The purpose of the Tuulen station is to transport interstellar travelers to distant locations in the universe using teleportation. The problem is that the mechanism for teleportation involves creating an exact copy of the individual on the destination planet and then exterminating the original version of the traveler while he or she is still unconscious. Other than Michael, everyone else who works at the Tuulen station is a member of a cold-blooded race of dinosaur-like humans called the Hanen. The Hanen are cold-blooded in many ways; they have no empathy for the original copies of the people who enter the station for “migration,” eradicating them without regard for the value of human life.

Humans know what they’re signing up for when they agree to be “migrated,” and so there are few significant arguments about how the system works. That changes, however, when Kamala Shastri arrives at the station with the intent of jumping to the planet Gend. During her migration procedure, the machine malfunctions; the duplicate copy of Kamala doesn’t arrive at its destination. Thinking that the procedure failed, the migration process is suspended, meaning Kamala’s body won’t be eradicated at the Tuulen station as it normally would. Then it appears that a mistake was made and Kamala was duplicated on the planet Gend.

The Hanen, meanwhile, are worried about the scourge of human over-population causing so many of them to escape the Solar System. That, combined with the unknown cosmic implications of allowing two copies of the same being to exist in the universe, prompts them to want to kill the original Kamala, even though she has already awakened. However, because they don’t want to cause an intergalactic conflict with the human race, they ask Michael to kill Kamala.

I had read The Punch Escrow previously. The religious group behind the bombing was the key detail for me. I refound the book by remembering another side-detail, that mosquitoes had been genetically engineered to eat pollution, and searched for science fiction novel mosquitos process pollution

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Hmm, this is odd. The description sounds spot on, but this seems to have only come out two years ago and the story I read was more like 10-15 years ago – Kevin Dec 9 '19 at 19:28
  • Synchronization! I only downloaded that same book this morning, then looked in here and there's a question about it....not spoilers btw because all the blurb is online anyways – DannyMcG Dec 9 '19 at 19:36
  • 1
    @Kevin: This isn't the only book with this premise. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DestructiveTeleportation lists a few more. – FuzzyBoots Dec 9 '19 at 19:42
  • 1
    @FuzzyBoots It's not just the general premise, but the details, other than the author and the release date, are exactly it. – Kevin Dec 9 '19 at 19:48
  • It’s also extremely similar to an Outer Limits episode - en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Moo Dec 10 '19 at 9:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.