Getting old gracefully? – Joe Haldeman’s Old Twentieth

I’ve just read Old Twentieth by Joe Haldeman which is an interesting read. In the future, death has pretty much been banished but what replaces it?
Whilst travelling through space, Jacob, a virtual reality engineer, is involved with an emergent AI which effects its presence through the scenarios of the twentieth century. In the philosophical discussions of whether life is worth living now it is near endless, Jacob comes to an intriguing conclusion.

Whilst in awe of the ideas around him, Haldeman brings the human side of the story out. He discusses the human side of the medical and biological work going on to extend life and imagines a cold society which has had to lose its modes of feeling to survive.  His scenarios are interesting and always place an extreme emotion onto the participant as if the humans need greater fixes of pain/pleasure to know what it is to really be alive and his close observation of behaviour is a marvel.
Generational voyages and virtual reality simulations need never be the same again. This is a gently cutting tale of our obsession with living longer rather than living itself.

This entry was posted in Books. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *