A science fiction thriller/spy thriller from 1958 that’s kind of too goofy for words at times. It was also apparently made into a movie in the 1970s with Elliot Gould and the photos from it look hilarious to me.
Monitoring the various borders between the US and the Soviet Union in global control US command is made aware that explosion has gravely injured a US scientist who is captured by the Soviets. Years later he is returned to the US through a prisoner exchange, but he’s been heavily operated on and turned into a kind of cyborg with an amazing amount of robotic technologies replacing his human features.
The question remains is whether the person they sent back actually the US scientist, and if so, is he still loyal to the US?
So the novel mostly takes places in the few weeks or so after the return as the FBI attempts to ascertain whether the returned scientist is who he says he is by tailing him and comparing his movements to verifiable information. In the meantime, the reader also gets to learn about the life of the man leading up to his capture. We too are in on the mystery.
So the reason this is too goofy for words is that a) the robotic stuff plays almost no real role on the plot of the book, b) this whole thing could have been achieved with scarring or plastic surgery and would make for a more interesting mystery, and c) the effect of having a grotesque monster walking around NY trying to lay low — given that it rarely has any real effect on those around him except that they aren’t sure it’s him — is ridiculous.
It’s a perfectly ok novel and has made me interested in more Budrys stuff, but it’s pretty silly. Also google the movie — Roboman for a laugh.