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I'm looking for a science fiction novel that I would've read from a library in the early 2010s. I'm fuzzy on the plot, but it was in a setting with space travel, and I believe the view shifted around to follow the separate characters.

I do recall two distinguishing characteristics in particular:

Some people use a brain upload/backup to restore themselves to a new body after an accidental death, maybe retrieving the recorder if possible to include memories immediately before death. However, this may not be an accessible service for everyone due to cost/coverage, and I think a large corporation handled it. People might've kept identical clones on hand or opted for a brand new body, but I think it meant very little fear of death. At least one character, maybe an investigator/reporter/mercenary, died in an explosion (?) and was restored midway through the book.

Some others chose the (less common) option of linking several bodies together to form a group consciousness, where a single unified mind inhabited all of the bodies at once. They could purchase more bodies to connect, and gained similar immortality since any body dying would not affect the whole.

I remember that at one point, a character entered a store and was irritated when the employees carried on a conversation as she moved to the right aisle, only to realize they were a group mind and thought she'd noticed. She entered into a relationship with them later and, at the end of the book, ended up buying more bodies to become a group herself.

I've googled around for this book for a while and looked through Wikipedia's Mind uploading in fiction and Group mind (science fiction), but I didn't recognize the plot anywhere. Hope a detail stands out to someone out there, I'll try to answer any more questions!

  • Although it doesn't fit exactly, a similar technology is used in Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (except in that universe, 'double sleeving' (being conscious in multiple bodies) is illegal). – Mark Rotteveel May 23 at 13:25
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Peter F Hamilton Void trilogy. Most people have 'memory cell' implants for accidental death, with download to secure stores if the body/memory cell can't be retrieved.

The multiple body is through the 'Gaiafield'- one mind through multiple bodies. The shop owner was Mr Bovey, and the customer Araminta.

Description of the first novel from Goodreads:

The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself. At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds. 

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward. . . .

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  • That's it, thank you!! – Micrometer May 23 at 0:05

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