To Live Forever Mass Market Paperback – May 1993
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''The works of Jack Vance have boasted an ardent following…The remarkable high consistency of Vance's poetic writing, coupled with his extraordinary visions of exotic planets, is one of the treasures of speculative fiction.'' --Washington Post Book World, praise for the author
''There is a flavor to [Vance's] work that you can't find elsewhere, an underlying current of good humor and quick-wittedness that makes you reluctant to turn that last page and return to a far less interesting reality.'' --Science Fiction Chronicle, praise for the author
''You can't possibly pass up any book by Jack Vance…He has perfected the trick of creating new worlds so deceptively real that after a while your own home seems imaginary.'' --Jerry Pournelle, Hugo Award-winning author, praise for the author --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Jack Vance (1916-2013) published his first story, ''The World Thinker,'' in 1945 and has since written over sixty books. Best known as a science fiction and fantasy writer, Vance has won several awards in those genres, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement and a number of Hugo Awards. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Ellery Queen, Peter Held, John Holbrook, John van See, and Alan Wade.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book's different though. Instead of his cynically detached storytelling, here we have the explication of social theory. This is real science fiction in that it deals with the human implications of a future technology, in this case immortality treatments.
Everyone want to live forever. But on a finite world with finite resources, not everyone can. So how does society choose who gets to live? By rewarding those deemed to have contributed most to society. Each citizen's achievements are graphed in relation to his lifespan thus determining his 'slope'. He has a finite amount of time for his slope to bring him up to the next level of life extension (with the immortals being at the top level), but if his slope doesn't rise quickly enough, one day the assassins will come knocking on his door to make way for more adept strivers.
The pressure is enormous. Mental illness is reaching epidemic proportions. The need to excel or die--though seemingly as fair and rational a system as could be devised and a proven engine of technological progress and wealth--is in reality a desperate rat race which is slowly driving everyone insane.
The parallels to our own lifestyle should be obvious. This is thoughtful, intelligent work as well as an entertaining page-turner. Highly recommended.
The "hero" of this book is a man who attained the status of Amaranth, but because he murdered one of the clones of another Amaranth he looses everything. To Live Forever follows this protagonist as he tries to gain back his station in society and again become an Amaranth, this is laced with an amazing presentation of this rather dark future world, some murder plots and lots of other goodies.
The characters of his book is excellent, they have personality and soul. The main character is neither good, nor evil, he is a decent man who is willing to go to extreme lengths to get what he wants, and all the supporting characters to are amazing, nothing in this book is black and white. If I where to complain about anything in this book it is that at times the language is a bit clumsy and some sections get a bit slow. But all in all this is an adult, intelligent and different science fiction book discussing a very interesting topic. It is well worth a read.
It is written in what I would call a literary fashion, as opposed to an action-oriented fashion. The book starts off with a couple of pages of narrative to describe the location and set the context. This is in contrast to much science fiction which, by intention, starts off with action or snappy dialogue to "hook" the reader. Vance's approach is more literary.
One note: I believe that Silverberg's, "To Live Again" may be a tribute novel to this one. Just a thought, but there are parallels. That one is really good too.