The Postmortal: very creepy thriller about a cure for aging

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75 Responses to “The Postmortal: very creepy thriller about a cure for aging”

  1. namnezia says:

    Excellent – thanks for the recommendation, I was just wondering what to read next, and this sounds just about what I was looking for! 

    By the way, The Road was definitely crushingly depressing, but how could you put it down? My wife was mad at me for recommending it to her.

    • freshyill says:

      I didn’t have time to put it down. I picked it up in the airport on an early evening flight home from New Orleans and stayed up reading until I finished it around 2 a.m. after I got back to North Carolina. Depressing but compelling!

  2. i_prefer_yeti says:

    That’s a great cover.

    Mark, do they list the illustrator and art director inside? Care to share?

    Although, I do wonder what happened to the Reaper’s other appendage.

  3. Ant2206 says:

    If you have trouble finding the book, you might find it under its other name, “The End Specialist”. That’s where I found it when I searched the Kindle store.

  4. blissfulight says:

    Try watching ‘The Road’ the movie.  I couldn’t get out of bed for two days after watching it.  It was so depressingly brilliant that I felt like a black hole was eating me from the inside out.  

  5. Donald Petersen says:

    Man, I do dig that cover.

    But why regret taking the cure?  If life gets to be too much for you, find a comfy way to off yourself.  I can see why one would regret everyone else taking the cure, especially if everyone is so irresponsible as to keep breeding and exploiting the planet.  Seems to me that maybe people would begin to realize that you can’t just kick the can down the road indefinitely and foist humanity’s abuses of the world onto the shoulders of blameless future generations if you’re effectively immortal, but of course that realization would probably arrive way too late.

    Perhaps some of our Christian brethren and sistren might object to suicide, even after they ignored Psalm 90:10 and got themselves a piece of the cure.  Personally, my sympathies would be limited.  But I’d be all for getting on board the cure, myself.  Old age is a rude, impertinent indignity, and I’d be tickled as all hell to see it go the way of polio.

    Seems to me that this might cause an altogether helpful reorganization of humanity’s priorities.  But then I’m insufficiently dystopic by nature.

  6. Evan G. says:

    I want to read this, but I still don’t know how I’ll feel about reading something from Magary without any stories about poop, masturbation, dick jokes, or foul mouthed rants about football or his children (Magary is most well-known for writing at Deadspin, and was also one of the founders of the sports blog Kissing Suzy Kolber). 

  7. fnc says:

    It’s possible we’re watching this tale unfold in slow motion right now.

  8. Seems fair to me that sterilization should be a mandatory part of getting this treatment.  People could always be cloned as needed to prevent a population dip from accidents. That, or people could apply for licenses sterilization temporarily reversed. Maybe when you’ve decide you’ve lived long enough you could have the reverse treatment, then have kids, then raise them, then die fulfilled. You would certainly have a lot more devoted parents if their only reason for living was truly just to raise their children.

  9. CGulow says:

    So tired of people who are down on longevity and immortality. I’d rather face any problems presented by loooong life than a short life.

  10. shutz says:

    This book should make an interesting counterpart to the nearly-concluded Torchwood mini-series “Miracle Day”.

    What I’d be curious to see is if someone could imagine a plausible way of making the world work while taking care of most of the ghastly consequences.  There’s a lot of “doomsday” science fiction that presents what, on the surface, appears to be a blessing (in this case, immortality) which is quickly shown to be a curse instead, but I’ve rarely seen stories or novels that then take it one step further, and attempt to find a plausible and acceptable equilibrium condition.

    Torchwood: Miracle Day found a somewhat plausible solution to restore equilibrium, but I don’t think anyone here would consider the solution acceptable.

  11. Greg Mann says:

    Just looked it up on Amazon, it’s cheaper to buy the physical book than the kindle book.

  12. AetherWeaver says:

    John Wyndham’s “Trouble With Lichen” had a similar aging “cure” although it just slowed the aging process by a large factor with regular treatments.

  13. Rick Westerman says:

    “The cure does not prevent you from dying from cancer, heart attack, alcohol-induced liver failure, or other illness.” 
    Not having read the book … what does it prevent?  I’m willing to bet that 100% of people would eventually die from cancer.  The only reason we currently don’t see 100% of people dying from cancer is that other illnesses get them first.

    Now remaining at age 29 for my “three score and 10″ would be attractive but I just can not see The Cure extending life that much.

  14. gjbloom says:

    People would still die, just not from old-age disease.  I recall reading it calculated that if ALL disease were eradicated, including cancer, atherosclerosis, etc., we’d end up having a 1800 year life-expectancy since people would still from earthquakes, floods and slipping in the tub.  If only old-age disease were cured, I suspect we’d only see life expectancy increase by 100 years or so, tops, since the current lifetime risk of dying from cancer is about 25%.  So if we imagine playing Russian roulette with a pistol having only four cylinders and we have to pull the trigger once every 75 years, you can see how cancer alone would assure a life expectancy less than 200 years.

  15. KanedaJones says:

    there is no alternate history of the near future.  there is only the near future. 

    ridiculous book cover blurb is ridiculous

    as for the torchwood category system I actually don’t mind it at all. much drama is made in miracle day about things that in truth turn out to be quite logical and quite easy to digest morally, I find.

  16. Moriarty says:

    Yeah, those grapes would probably be sour, anyway. A slow, degenerative, terminal illness is definitely better.

    I don’t buy pretty much any of that. Here’s why:

    1) You can still off yourself. If permanently leaving the workforce is that important to you, do so, and commit suicide when you run out of money. It’s the same situation as retirement, except you get to enjoy it in good health. Personally, if my job was that intolerable, I’d rather just take a few years off and then start over with something else, thereby getting my “retirement” as well as a whole world of new experiences, but that’s just me. Starting over wouldn’t be nearly so daunting if I had a whole indefinitely prolonged life in front of me.

    2) You can get divorced, too. Personally, I think it’s very sad when people who want desperately to be together can’t anymore because one of them dies. People going their separate ways because they want to seems like a better situation to me, especially if it’s mutual. “We love each other and intend to be together indefinitely, until we don’t want to anymore” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but nevertheless seems happier.

    3) Why would people feel no pressure to support themselves? Surely living in poverty is a motivation, no? If anything, more people would be working. Right now, half of us are either too young or too old to support ourselves. That ratio would fall and keep falling if we were all ageless.

    4) I don’t think the population would necessarily explode, either. If I thought I was going to live for hundreds of years, I wouldn’t want to be having kids in my 20s or 30s. There would be no biological clock. I would wait until I’d acquired a century or two of wisdom and resources to raise them in the best possible way. I can’t imagine I’d be the only one to share that opinion – it would be like an extension of the same idea of birth rates falling as quality and security of life improve.

    5) Sure, we’ll run out of gasoline, but that was going to happen anyway. With a higher proportion of workforce that is likely better educated, I imagine we’d find ways around that sooner. And we’d also be more motivated to – there’s nothing that would make people worry about future generations more than being around for them. I imagine people would be a lot more environmentally conscious (and more responsible with their money, too!).

    6) As for $5 glasses of water, that’s just silly. Again, I don’t think the population would explode anywhere near enough for those kinds of shortages, and water is 100% recyclable anyway. Unlike gasoline, it’s not something you can ever actually run out of, you can just overextend your distribution infrastructure.

    7) Ok, I can actually see anon throwing lye in people’s faces.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      As for $5 glasses of water, that’s just silly.

      You can drink straight from the sewer, if your standards are low enough. Clean water is a different story. I paid $5 for a bottle of water in the Khumbu Himal in 1990. In some places, there is no infrastructure. And no way to make contaminated water clean.

      • Moriarty says:

        I’m aware that clean water can be and is in short supply in a variety of different places, that larger populations are more likely to stress natural supplies, and that those natural supplies can potentially be reduced by climate change. That’s not the point. For one thing, we’re not limited to natural supplies. For another, it’s hard to see how New York City could become one of those places where there is no infrastructure, and still have a city exist there. Perhaps if I read the book it would make more sense.

      • Guest says:

        Antinous – this thread was just flooded with spam.

  17. nixiebunny says:

    Old age isn’t a disease. It’s the result of a process. That’s like saying that you can cure puberty.

    Fiction writers need a premise, however, and this is a fine premise for a near-future novel.

  18. TooGoodToCheck says:

    couple stray thoughts

    - i remember bruce sterling doing something sorta kinda like this in “Moral Bullet”
    - as Dinosaur Comics pointed out recently, “However, a society in which ONLY I am immortal would have none of these problems”
    - it sounds like this fiction assumes one massive change, more or less in isolation.  If we ever did solve or severely mitigate aging, it would likely happen in a context of rapid technological advancement.  I imagine such a future would be a good deal weirder than what’s described in this writeup.

  19. Mitchell Glaser says:

    Old age is neither a disease nor the “result of a process” (not sure what you mean by that, nixiebunny; I think you are suggesting that it is inevitable like a candle burning out), it is an evolutionary adaptation for the improvement of the species, like sex. There are some creatures that are effectively immortal barring accidents. Not higher creatures (nothing higher than a jellyfish to my knowledge), but that only goes to prove how much of a survival advantage from a species point of view that individual death brings to the table.

    Unfortunate victims of progeria (a disease that causes some people to die prematurely of old age, often before their teens) prove that the aging process is variable and controlled by genetics, which seriously suggests that it can be slowed as well as sped up. Since slowing it down significantly would cause all the same effects as stopping it completely, I’d say the premise of this story is far more credible than most science fiction.

    • t is an evolutionary adaptation for the improvement of the species, like sex

      In general, group selection can’t occur except under extreme circumstances. Evolution acts on individuals not species. There is an argument that aging exists to prevent already weakened members of species from competing with their own children but this only makes sense if there’s something already causing serious problems with age (granted it could just be things like chance of permanent large scale injury) but this seems difficult. 

      Unfortunate victims of progeria (a disease that cause some people to die prematurely of old age, often before their teens) prove that the aging process is variable and controlled by genetics, which seriously suggests that it can be slowed as well as sped up.

      Progeria mimics most but not all of the symptoms of aging and there are a variety of similar diseases which have slightly different results often from completely different mechanisms (such as Werner’s Syndrome)t. This suggests that this is really quite complicated. 

      There are a variety of problems with directly increasing lifespand. The Gompertz curve suggests that after a certain point the body starts to really just give up (yes I know that’s not technical but that’s the basic idea). See http://gravityandlevity.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/your-body-wasnt-built-to-last-a-lesson-from-human-mortality-rates/

      Here’s the thing, if it is unlikely that members of a species will survive beyond age L for some L (say there’s a really high chance they will get eating by a cat before then), then a mutation will gives a reproductive or survival advantage a much lower age (say around L/2) but which also makes some part of the body more likely fail at say 1.1 *L is going to have a net positive benefit. So, we should expect that we’ve evolved so that a lot of different things will start going wrong as people age, and in fact we seem to see this. Moreover, this suggests that if we somehow can make people live a really long time we should start seeing problems we’ve never encountered before. That is, there may be all sorts of new interesting diseases that show up around age 100 or so but we haven’t noticed yet because our set of people who have lived that long are really small. That means that in practice to actually get clinical immortality we would likely need to understand human bodies well enough that we could predict diseases of types before we ever encountered them in the wild to any significant amount. That implies a radically high tech level, both in terms of understanding of biochemistry, and in terms of computing power. 

      I suspect we will have functional immortality. Probably not in my lifetime. But I hope that my little nephew (who is 2 years old and is the cutest 2 year old on the planet) will be alive to remember his family a five hundred years from now as he journeys to stars. 

      • Mitchell Glaser says:

        Aging as an adaptation is one of the more interesting and vigorously debated theories in evolutionary biology at the moment. I personally find merit in the argument that if beneficial mutation is at the heart of evolution, then it makes sense that shorter lifespans (with the accompanying shorter span of fertility) should amplify the effect. Basically saying that if you are born with a new and beneficial trait, the chance that you will survive and out-breed the competition increases as the number of children from previous generations decreases. It sounds logical to me, but of course that doesn’t make it true.

        As to the speculation about diseases that show up as the average lifespan increases, that is pretty much a given isn’t it? Cancer, Alzheimer’s, that sort of thing?

      • Chris Wright says:

        You might want to check out Aubrey de Grey’s work, if you haven’t already. He lists out seven-ish general problems to solve in order to fix aging. Doesn’t actually give you immortality, but if you can dodge various diseases, his plans should keep you going indefinitely.

        • Brainspore says:

          Aubrey de Grey will make a believer out of me the day that he breaks the record for oldest living human (assuming I’m still around by then). But I’ve seen how he lives, and even if his approach is proven to work I’m not sure I’d give up all the vices that make my life enjoyable just to stretch it out a little longer.

          • Your vices or his vices? From what I’ve heard, de Grey drinks like Christopher Hitchens. Though he might have a detailed life extension regimen that says that’s okay (and I’ve heard plenty of doctors say that the negative health effects of alcohol are often outweighed by the positive effects it has as a stress killer, at least in measured amounts.)

          • Brainspore says:

            Oh, definitely my vices. Which in addition to alcohol include things like caffeine, rare steaks*, and desserts that have more calories than an apple wedge. Plus I never had the self-discipline to log every nutrient that passes through my system, let alone spend decades living on the brink of starvation.

            *I do recognize that as a meat-eater it’s probably karmic retribution that my love for the taste of death will likely hasten my own.

  20. KanedaJones says:

    chatting here with gimpwii as she reads your comments she suggests I reccomend Methuselah’s Children by Robert A Heinlein for a more reasonable look at such things.

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah%27s_Children

    • Donald Petersen says:

      Certainly a less-depressing look, at any rate.  The Howard families tend to have remarkably civilized attitudes toward mortality, productivity, boredom, and serial (or parallel) relationships when a few decades of monogamy with the same person begin to pall… usually without recrimination for the relationship’s “failure” to provide eternal monogamous satisfaction and joy.

      Always sounded like a healthy way forward to me.

  21. I’m not at all sure this is at all a realistic premise. If we are going to have technology that is that effective at preventing aging, then it shouldn’t take that long to figure out how to use it to make the really old people younger. Moreover, without such technology the non-aging elderly people will die off a lot faster since they are in less healthy bodies.

    Also, the risk of overpopulation and resource consumption would likely go down not up in this sort of situation. The primary cause of overpopulation is high reproduction rates, not high life expectancy. In most of the world, fertility goes down as lifespan goes up. One might think that this is due to the fact that longer life expectancies now are due in a large part to reduced infant mortality (which massively brings down the average), but this is still true if one looks at the life expectancy of people who have survived at least three years of age. So it is likely that having near immortals would make people reproduce even less.

    So what would be the immediate results? Well, you all know how if a mathematician hasn’t done great work by *really young age* then they won’t ever do great work? And how in a lot of the sciences this is true for *slightly older age”? No longer a problem. All those great minds will stay young and healthy making new discoveries. And if anyone gets too bored in one science they’ll see how well they can do in another one. 

    What about direct resource consumption? Well, there won’t be anyone who is really, really elderly. The vast majority of medical resources that go into life go into two parts: when you are really young, and when you are really old. Even if the octogenarians take the cure they won’t live long. After that, this will never be a problem again. So within a decade or two equivalent medical resources required per a person will go down a lot.

    What about the consumption of gasoline? Well, that’s certainly a problem, but that’s a general problem that’s really disconnected from the population problem. To some extent that’s due in part to overpopulation, but even that’s only part of the problem. Much more of that problem is due to American lifestyles and a lot of the world following on American lifestyles. That would need to change, but the truth is that society won’t collapse if we need to add lots more public transit. A lot of Europe does that already (equivalent gas prices are much higher due to taxes) and they get along just fine. If anything, the scientists who now won’t become old farts will have far more time to figure out replacements. I’m pretty sure that an immortal Steven Chu and an immortal Terry Tao can probably solve a lot of the world’s problems given enough time. 

    Overall, this book might sound fun, but I don’t think anyone should take away any sort of lesson about the dangers of immortality from it. 

  22. nanuq says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the Struldbrugs from Gulliver’s Travels.  Jonathan Swift descripton of the horrors that can go with immortality has never really been topped.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struldbrug

  23. Skye MacLeod says:

    Have you read “Death with Interruptions” by Jose Saramago? He has an interesting take on the political ramifications of not dying as well, especially as it concerns funeral parlors. It’s pretty funny actually.

  24. Jack Myers says:

    If you consider birth rates and fertility in general, plus the fact that the world will soon predominantly be over 65; our eventual extinction is what faces us.  Something like the “Cure” would be a possible long run solution to that issue.  And by long run I mean 200 + years hence.  Hey, it’s worth considering anyway. 

  25. Chip Andre says:

    You could fix the population issues with two conditions to “the cure”.  First, in order to be eligible, you cannot have had any children.  Second, if you get the cure, you also get sterilized.  World population shouldn’t go up much faster than it’s doing now.  It would even go down for a few decades while the first generation of immortals suddenly isn’t having many babies and the last generation of breeders is still dying off.  There will always be enough people who want children more than they want immortality to compensate for accident/disease/suicide of immortals, and there will be plenty of childless immortals to raise any unwanted/orphaned kids.  Problem solved.

  26. animwriter says:

    A longer lifespan could open up space travel opportunities for those with patience…

  27. eeyore says:

    Resource over usage is the least of the social challenges of clinical immorality.  Thought patterns ossify with age.  The progress of society relies on the death of old ideas and attitudes to make room for new values and understanding.  

    It’s 5 generations to peace.  How long do you think it would be if nobody died?  Many of the effects of clinical immortality on society are literally unimaginable.  Would “the cure” prevent mental ossification – is that a biological failing, or just an accumulation of experience that erodes mental flexibility and openness to new ideas.

  28. Rayonic says:

    So it’s a new twist on a typical Malthusian fantasy. No thanks.

  29. Chris Barrus says:

    Sharon Webb’s short story “Variations On A Theme From Beethoven” also looks at the side effects of near-immortality. If memory serves even though society was technologically utopian, the elimination of mortality had halted cultural production as older artists never made way for newer ones and the impetus to create eventually stopped materializing.

  30. DrPlokta says:

    Around three quarters of all deaths in developed countries are from cancer or heart disease, which apparently (I’ve not read the book) the Cure doesn’t fix. So the “Cure” is preventing a relatively small percentage of deaths, and extending those people’s lives for a few years until cancer or heart disease get them anyway. It doesn’t sound like a big demographic change, more a continuation of the current trend for life expectancy to increase by 2-3 years per decade.

    Also, we can’t ever run out of gasoline. All that can happen is that the price goes up.

  31. Donna Kat says:

    Too many flaws in the concepts here.  For one thing reproduction would drop and suicides would rise drastically if life were extended (and it is just that – extended and not made indefinite because as one person mentioned cancer or an accident is going to get you sooner or later).  Also there are few people my age and older that would want to extend being that age forever.  It would mostly be the young who would want this process and hopefully it does not stop brain development as well as aging.  That would be a disaster – think Rodney Downey Jr  or Charlie Sheen multiplied by millions.

  32. Donna Kat says:

    Brain development – when the human reaches pruberty the brain gets rewired and the frontal cortex (that part of the brain that makes rational decisions) goes off for a big nap.  In the mid-twenties it starts waking up again.  That is why the young (teenagers to thirty) rightfully say “trust no one over 30!”  Of course there are those individuals that never get back on the track but that is a different story.

  33. george57l says:

    Mark – what does “ala” mean? As in “ala Cormac McCarthy’s The Road”.

    Did you perhaps mean “à la Cormac…” etc, as in “à la carte”?.

    Maybe just “as in Cormac…” etc, might be better usage in future.

  34. hnice says:

    how excellent is it Big Daddy Drew’s being taken seriously as a writer? he of the Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo? it’s a little surreal. i’m going to read this, it looks great, but man, is it weird. also, ‘ala’ guy: save it. too early in the morning for that. now hurry up and post about how it’s never too early for copy editing for grammar and spelling, and we can all get on with our day.

  35. Lobster says:

    From the summary it sounds like one big, “10 downsides to being immortal” article, albeit a well written one.  Might have to give it a look.

  36. CSBD says:

    I think the religious nuts would go all out against this sort of thing.  It falls into their struggle against things that end fear of death and judgement (everyone knows that God Wants You Dead… odd book I might add).

    No fear of death and a “crappy after life” = starving religious oligarchs.

    They would be suicide bombing clinics that performed this “procedure” or made or administered the cure.  They would also go after the immortals as being the work of Satan (or whatever).  They could not stand to have an alternative to their message of fear of “heavenly daddy”

  37. yellowlorry says:

    On the same theme check out John Haldeman’s “The Long Habit of Living” (1990). It’s a bit tricky to get hold of, Amazon seems to think it’s out of print. Well worth the read.

    The opening premise of Postmortal (as described above) seems like a very similar territory, though the Haldeman book is basically a sci-fi thriller. In the Haldeman book functional immortality has been discovered but comes at a price. Literally. The treatment is known as the Stillman process and is required every 10 years. It basically rejuvenates you to a 25-year-old but at the cost of everything you possess, or $1 million, I can’t remember which.

    It’s an interesting book.

  38. Ali says:

    Since over population is the major problem, rather than tatooing the arms of people to see if they get the cure, there should be a law that the recipient is sterilized at the same time.  No harm, no foul.

    • zombiebob says:

      A better variation on what I was about to suggest (that there would have to be strict laws about reproduction limits etc)

  39. cymk says:

    “Internet trolls, once satisfied tormenting people online, take their griefing into the physical world…”

    This already happens, not so much the lye-ing though.

  40. Cassie Richoux says:

    This reminds me of a great YA book called The Declaration which deals with an end of aging.. but their government decides you can not have children if you take the cure. The book is about one of the illegal children raised up as a servant for the ageless.

  41. monstrinho says:

    just my tuppence worth, but these problems are solved if the cure involved some sort of reversable serilisation. It is worked out what proportion of the population dies though accident and disease and those who want it can enter a lottery to have their gonads turned back on until they have a kid. if you’re going to live forever, you’d probably win it eventually. Stable population, no problems.I’d go for that society over my eventual death due to ageing every single time and i think most people would too.

  42. G.E. says:

    First, excellent review, at least from the pov of catching my interest. I’m getting it asap.

    Second, thank you for the characterization of The Road. I finished the novel, but I have had the movie for more than a year and still haven’t watched it. Probably never will.

    Third, I disagree in that I think thee would be no reason to regret the cure. One could take it, enjoy it for a lifespan of your choosing, and then check out Kevorkian Style, or Guy Fawkes-V Style if one desired to make a statement. I’m very interested in seeing how Magary makes the apparently downspiraling ramifications plausible.

  43. Nathan Hodges says:

    it seems like the really unbelievable part is that the treatment only cost $7000. i have no doubt that in the next 50 years a greatly extended lifespan will be possible but it’ll be wildy expensive and available only to the super-rich. the billions of poor people will continue to live and die just like they always have.

  44. Alma Verdejo says:

    This reminds me a lot of Saramago’s novel “Death with Interruptions.” Am definitely interested in reading this. 

  45. markar100 says:

    This sounds identical to the novel The First Immortal, by James Halperin.  Not great writing, but very readable.  Also uses news clips to summarize events.  Along with his other novel, The Truth Machine, these stories are accessible to non-sf readers, exploring how an invention (or series of inventions/therapies in the case of immortality) could change our day-to-day life and the assumptions that underlay our current society. 

  46. gwailo_joe says:

    Even if somehow possible; why the hell would any sensible person take The Cure?

    First of all the hubris is immense: you think the world needs you?  Forever?  Ha!  Maybe an immortal Ray Charles or Issac Newton would be good for the planet, but not just any shlub who can pony up the 7K.

    The world needs New People freshening it up , not the same undying bozos cluttering up the place. 

    When your due date expires, that’s it: thank you for playing…NEXT!

    Besides, even if you could pause at your optimal age and endure the changing centuries; I guarantee that real young people will want nothing to do with you: “I remember when, I remember when, I remember when…”  ‘Silence you boring old fool!’

    (I guess I’d be one of the lye-carriers…)

    Still; seems like a good premise for some reading, might have to check it out…waiting for my Ready Player One in the mail.  Finding good reading material is a precious gift…yay books.

    Boo Immortality!!!

    • Brainspore says:

      Even if somehow possible; why the hell would any sensible person take The Cure? First of all the hubris is immense: you think the world needs you? Forever? Ha!

      Great job. You just made Ray Kurzweil cry.

    • Moriarty says:

      “When your due date expires, that’s it: thank you for playing…NEXT!”

      So I take it you refrain from all medical treatment? “Well, I am bleeding profusely, but it would be immense hubris to tie a tourniquet. What, the world needs me?”

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Ours is a high and lonely destiny.

        • Moriarty says:

          I’m trying to imply the opposite – that continuing to exist does not demand any special justification.

          • gwailo_joe says:

            ok, you have a point.  I will on occasion avail myself of medical science to avoid pain and improve life,

            But using drugs and machines to grasp one precious last minute of decrepit semi-existance does not compute for me.  Eventually, we all gotta go.  No one gets out alive.

            But some people want to live forever.  Go ahead then. 

            Basically: when I extend my life it’s a perfectly reasonable attempt at self preservation.

            When you (collectively) do it, it is a selfish and insubordinate crime against nature. : D

  47. Austin Morgan says:

    Another take on the same topic is Christine Amsden’s The Immortality Virus http://www.amazon.com/The-Immortality-Virus-ebook/dp/B004WOY0W4  It is also cheaper for the e-book than the physical copy as it should be.

  48. lknope says:

    The top 3 causes of death in the U.S. are 1) heart disease 2) cancer and 3) accidents, none of which “The Cure” would cure so I wonder how quickly overpopulation would really become a problem.  I assume that even if you were 25 for 100 years, it wouldn’t mean that you would have more children than you otherwise would.  Maybe for some very rich or very religious people it might.

    On the other hand, I wonder if one of the unintended consequences of “The Cure” would be that people would take better care of themselves so that they would be less likely to 1) develop heart disease 2) develop cancer or 3) get in accidents.  If you knew you could live indefinitely without the pain of aging, you might be motivated to eat better, excercise, drink less, not smoke, wear your seat belt, drive the speed limit, floss, etc.

    And I just have to add:  “Married couples start to wonder about the “till death do us part” vow they made with their spouses.”  Ummm, *start* to wonder?  I think that’s been happening for awhile now.

  49. randyman says:

    It was a one-day read for me, too… I really enjoyed it.

    I’m not getting caught up in the pro/con life extension discussion… I’m just saying it was well worth my $9.99.

    (I’m more a proponent for having a legal & painless way to snuff it, when the time comes.)

  50. AudioTherapist says:

    No one’s mentioned http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Fire_(novel) by Bruce Sterling as yet. I thought that was really thoughtful on the subject…

  51. David Anon says:

    Just from reading the synopsis, I can tell that this isn’t a story about a cure for aging – this is a story about any dramatic social change introduced too quickly for society to psychologically adapt.  All of the downsides to ‘the cure’ are external, or philosophical, to convince you that there is some advantage to dying on schedule aside from religious reasons.  I will bet that the book glosses over the hope of technological change to rejuvenate the body and spirit eventually.

    I hate one-trick-pony books.

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