Spares inhabits a very simple, but ultimately very scary, premise.

At some point in the future, 20 years before the novel begins, a company called SafetyNet is born. If you can afford it, whenever your child is conceived some extra cells are siphoned off and grown into a clone. Then, if some kind of bodily injury befalls them, replacement parts are available.

Spares was not the first Michael Marshall Smith novel I read, that goes to his debut Only Forward. But, for whatever reason, Spares is the one tends to stick with me the most. Part of that may be due to some of the feelings I had at the end of Only Forward. But I suspect timing was the greater part of it.

I first read Spares during my second year at university. I was already a good ways into some science heavy coursework, all of it with a view to specializing in genetics. That, plus my general view of humanity, seemed to make this dystopian vision tailor-made for me at the time. Sadly, looking at the world now, some of it looks even more possible.

In line with the other Michael Marshall Smith books and stories I’ve read, Spares also has a nice line in sarcastic and observational humour, something else I responded well to. The main character (actually most of MMS’s characters) has a tendency to aggrevate people as soon as he opens his mouth, even when he’s trying not to. One of my favourite lines:

Time to get out of town before I slept with God’s wife.

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