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To Live Forever Mass Market Paperback – May 1993

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Mass Market Paperback, May 1993
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Tor Books (May 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879977876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879977870
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Product Description


''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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On of the first science-fiction books for grownups Nov. 18 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Written in 1956, it was the first scifi novel ( at least that I read) that seemed to deal with adult themes. I don't mean erotics, I mean the kinds of issues that are beyond the sort of juveile space-opera that seemed to be the standard fare of the 40s and 50s. Without giving away the plot, it describes a civilization that, although decadent, has discovered the secret of immortality. But: it cant be given to everyone. A complex system of merit and accomplishment is set up. Advance up the ladder fast enough & you are given immortality. Fail, and you are euthanized. Of course, one strong individual challenges the system, etc. etc.


--Michael Reynolds
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vance at his most thoughtful. Nov. 22 2009
By Jasperodus - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't get me wrong. I love Jack Vance. But usually the delight of reading his books comes from his use of language, his dry wit, his engaging stories, and the prodigious imagination he harnesses in the development of his favorite theme: cultural diversity--or rather, his rueful fascination with the human propensity for splintering into a myriad of diverse, mutually antagonistic cultures, each with their own convoluted and apparently arbitrary values, customs, laws, rituals, hierarchies, and religions. In a sense, you could say that Vance's science fiction, isn't really science fiction; for in lieu of extrapolating the effects of future science and technology on man and society, he writes assuming that man's nature is fixed. Thus, except for being premised on the existence of spaceships that (somehow) have allowed man to spread to the stars, Vance ignores science in his novels of the future, choosing instead to exercise his imagination in extrapolations of the ever-more bizarre and disparate cultures he feels it is man's nature to divide into given the lebensraum in which to manifest his perversity.

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.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic Sci-Fi Dec 8 1999
By E. Talvola - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wonderful book in the "Man vs. Society" vein. Will never be out of date because it is really a character book and does not dwell on technology. Just read it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inteligent but slow moving science fiction. Jan. 14 2011
By Anja Rebekka Schultze - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book have a very interesting premise. Some years from now science discovers how to stop the aging process, as a result no one ever dies and the world quickly becomes overpopulated. The following far for resources have devastated society and only one city is left, a huge, enormous metropolis where everything anyone thinks about is attaining immortality. You see the government found a way to solve the overpopulation issue, when they turn eighteen most people in this setting enters a race where they are given treatments to stop their aging, but they are also given a certain number of years to live, when those years are spent they are killed, now advancing in ones chosen profession, gaining a higher and higher social standing or creating things like celebrated works of art or breakthroughs in science will great a person more years, and the most successful gets granted the right to live forever and also have clones made of themselves so that if they die their consciousness is downloaded to a copy.

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, literary science fiction... Jan. 4 2009
By John Robinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love this book. At about 185 paperback pages, it is not long, but Vance develops a world that is completely convincing and involving, at least for me. I hated to come up for air and have happily re-read it.

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.

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