Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seven books that weigh the pros & cons of immortality

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at One of seven books that weigh the pros and cons of immortality that he tagged at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Stubs, The Skill of Our Hands by Steven Brust and Skyler White

For thousands of years, a small group of dedicated individuals have been making our world a better place. While they move slowly, and change things in increments, they’re responsible for bringing humanity into the 21st century and clearing the way for incredible progress, both technologically and socially. When one of these “Incrementalists” dies, their soul and memories are stored in a “stub,” a kind of mystical receptacle for consciousness that allows them to be rehoused in a new body when the remaining Incrementalists find a willing candidate. The candidate then resumes helping to change the world in whatever ways they can…after a period of adjustment.

Pros: This is a pretty cool one. For the price of a hangover and weird dreams, you’re given the ability to influence people and change the world with just a few words. You’re also given your own backdoor into a dimension that functions as a collective subconscious, the guarantee of immortality, and a support network to help you adjust. On top of money, connections, and anything else you could think of…
Cons: …provided you win a mental coin toss that means your consciousness doesn’t get overwritten by the host body your friends decide to put you into. And provided you won the same coin flip when it was your turn to play host. Otherwise, chances are you just got overwritten, either by the host body, or by the incoming stub. On top of which, I cannot emphasize this enough, it’s not particularly fun to have a nightmare-causing piece of wood stabbed into your brain, regardless of how awesome the rewards are.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue