Thoughts on “Crompton Divided”

So, the second book of Sheckley’s that I had bought and never read was “Crompton Divided”. Spoilers: This book does not work anywhere near as well as “Immortality, Inc” did.

The main plot here is about a man named Alistair Crompton who, as a child, developed a viral form of schizophrenia. As he was station out in the boonies of Antarctica, this wasn’t picked up in time, and so it developed to dangerous and lethal levels before he could be properly treated for it. The treatment for this is to split up the personalities by placing the other minds into temporary bodies and letting them live out their lives to a certain age, when all of the personalities are reintegrated into a complete and whole person again. Because the treatment was so late, it’s not recommended that Crompton attempt the procedure, but he decides that he dislikes his incomplete life and sets out to reintegrate himself.

Again, Sheckley’s development seems rushed here, and this really hurts the work. Unlike in “Immortality, Inc” where the details of the world carry the novel, here all we have to focus on for the most part is Crompton’s quest. While that takes us to different worlds and is set in the future, for the most part all of those details are background to Crompton’s quest. Thus, if he skims over details or resolves things too quickly that impacts our impression of the main thrust of the work and main point of interest. In short, the world building isn’t interesting enough to carry us through when the main plot stutters.

Other than that, though, it was a relatively interesting read. I might not read it again, but it was good enough to get through and, fortunately, short enough that what when it started to bug me I didn’t have much left to go.

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