Was he a barbaric superman—or a compter-created monster?
"You are an artificially constructed human being, a mobile data-gathering device."
Locked in his cell, there is no way Tanner can dispute the computer's metallic-voiced assertion, for he has no memories. The machine releases him to get facts on the present state of humanity.
Naked, without weapons, Tanner emerges into the savage world of the twenty-third century. He is prey for the bears and cannibals that roam the forested streets of Manhattan.
Struggling to stay alive, Tanner learns that it was the power-crazed computer that had destroyed civilization. If he follows its orders, the machine will again control the fate of mankind. If he rebels, he faces the brutality of a world united on only one thing—its eagerness to destroy his existence as THE SPAWN OF THE DEATH MACHINE
THE BARBARIAN WORLD
"I like you, Tanner," Rudo said. "You're the first savage I've met I could talk to." Hanging on the wall behind him were dark hanks of once-human hair.
"That's just as well, isn't it? But I'm not a true savage—not the kind you mean."
"No? You wear only a crude loinskin. You have only a scavenged knife, a bearskin, a deerskin, and a barebreasted woman... But you're not a savage, you say?"
I smiled. "Do I talk like one?"
"No. Why not? Where do you come from, Tanner?"
I couldn't tell him the truth: that I was part of what had destroyed civilization—that I was, in fact, THE SPAWN OF THE DEATH MACHINE