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Summer Reading

Rosalyn Story Machine Man by Max Barry has been selected for Clemson’s 2014 Freshman Summer Reading Program!

Scientist Charles Neumann loses a leg in an industrial accident. It’s not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. Charlie always thought his body could be better. He begins to explore a few ideas, build parts. Better parts.

Prosthetist Lola Shanks loves a good artificial limb. In Charlie, she sees a man on his way to becoming artificial everything. But others see a madman. Or a product. Or a weapon.

A story for the age of pervasive technology, Machine Man is a gruesomely funny unraveling of one man’s quest for ultimate self-improvement.

Max Barry is an Australian who pretended to sell high-end computer systems for Hewlett-Packard while secretly writing his first novel, Syrup (1999). In fact, he still has the laptop he wrote it on because HP forgot to ask for it back, but keep that to yourself. He put an extra "X" in his name for Syrup because he thought it would be a funny marketing joke and failed to realize everyone would assume he was pretentious. Jennifer Government, his second novel, was published in 2003 with no superfluous Xs and sold much better.

Max's third novel, Company, was published in 2006, and his fourth, Machine Man, in 2012, was based on a real-time interactive web serial written and delivered in real-time one page per day from this web site. It made more sense than it sounds.

Max also created the online political game NationStates, for which he is far more famous amongst high school students and poli-sci majors than his novels.

He was born March 18, 1973, and lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he writes full-time, the advantage being that he can do it while wearing only boxer shorts.

Wading HomerAll incoming Clemson freshmen are required to participate in the Summer Reading Program as part of their CU 1000 Course Requirements. Students will receive a complimentary copy of Machine Man when they come to Summer Orientation. On August 18, 2014, Max Barry will address the entire freshman class at 1 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum. Immediately following Mr. Barry’s address, students will discuss their thoughts and reactions in small groups across campus, led by Clemson faculty and staff.

Anyone with questions about the Freshman Summer Reading program should contact Amber Mulkey at