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The Transhumanist Wager [Kindle Edition]

Zoltan Istvan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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"WINNER" Fiction Visionary - International Book Awards

Zoltan Istvan is the founder of political organization the "Transhumanist Party" and is its 2016 US presidential candidate.

Leading futurist, philosopher, and former National Geographic journalist Zoltan Istvan presents his award-winning, bestselling visionary novel, The Transhumanist Wager, as a seminal statement of our times.

His philosophical thriller has been called "revolutionary," "life-changing," and "a masterpiece" by readers, scholars, and critics. The novel debuts a challenging original philosophy, which rebuffs modern civilization by inviting the end of the human species--and declaring the onset of something greater.

Set in the present day, the novel tells the story of transhumanist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. Fighting against him are fanatical religious groups, economically depressed governments, and mystic Zoe Bach: a dazzling trauma surgeon and the love of his life, whose belief in spirituality and the afterlife is absolute. Exiled from America and reeling from personal tragedy, Knights forges a new nation of willing scientists on the world's largest seastead, Transhumania. When the world declares war against the floating libertarian city, demanding an end to its renegade and godless transhuman experiments and ambitions, Knights strikes back, leaving the planet forever changed.

Praise for Zoltan Istvan's writing and work:

"Congratulations on an excellent story--really well written, concise, and elegant." (Editor, National Geographic News Service)

"Istvan is among the correspondents I value most for his...courage." (Senior Editor, The New York Times Syndicate)

Editorial Reviews


Man vs. machine, cryonics, mind uploading...a science fiction book that's Amazon's #1 book under the category Philosophy is The Transhumanist Wager-Fox News Channel
"This book is an edgy riveting masterpiece that will long linger with anyone who reads it." -Serious Wonder
"Protagonist Jethro Knights may become one of the grand characters of modern fiction." -Psychology Today
"Istvan, a prominent transhumanist writer...enlightens me. In The Transhumanist Wager, transhumanists manage to launch the 3rd world war." -The Telegraph
"The action sequences in the book are top notch." -New York Journal of Books
"Many say The Transhumanist Wager is the new Atlas Shrugged." -Marin Magazine
"A controversial novel." -The Spectator
"It's a page-turner. Istvan knows how to tell a compelling story."
"Transhumanism is snowballing into an international movement. The current wave of debate surrounding the concept began with The Transhumanist Wager." -Breitbart
"A marvelous work of science fiction." -IEET
"Controversial...a philosopher brings transhumanism to the world." -Wired (Germany)
"I enjoyed The Transhumanist adventurous suspense-filled semi-sci-fi about sailing, love & life extension." -The Huffington Post
"Istvan's novel has the potential to become a cult book. I hope it will be widely read & discussed." -Kurzweil AI
"Istvan demonstrates great adeptness at crafting complex characters." -San Francisco Book Review
"A philosophical manifesto." -Vice (Italy) 
" important literary work everyone must read." -Guardian Liberty Voice
"The concept of people taking a Transhumanist Wager is making a strong impact." -RT Television
"It promises to become a cult classic among futurists." -SASM Institute

From the Author

Q & A with author Zoltan Istvan:
Why did you write The Transhumanist Wager?     

My main goal was to inspire readers with a powerful artistic statement that would challenge their ideas of life and death. The rapid advancement of life extension science and technology will drastically change everything in our society far sooner than most people realize.

Your novel is quite controversial. Why is that?
The primary reason is that the novel's subject matter challenges virtually everyone. And since The Transhumanist Wager is an indie book, neither publisher nor editor was able to temper its content in the name of political correctness, religiosity, or commercialism.

Did your journalism career influence the writing of the novel?  
Yes, definitely. Many of the central characters and scenes in the book are directly taken from places I've visited and stories I've covered, especially for the National Geographic Channel.

Will there be a sequel?

Product Details

  • File Size: 920 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Futurity Imagine Media LLC (January 2, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AQQSY60
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
133 of 156 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad it makes me hate transhumanism January 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the worst book I've ever read; to address what is wrong with it in full would take more space than the book itself, so I'll just hit the highlights.

First, it's a transparent plagiarism of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, starring Howard Roark and John Galt as Jethro Knights, Ellsworth Toohey as Reverend Belinas, and Peter Keating as Gregory Michaelson. In an interview on Patheos, Mr. Istvan states that, had he gone through a publishing house, “It would be difficult to get a story like The Transhumanist Wager past the lawyers...” Probably so, Mr. Istvan had better hope that Ayn Rand's estate doesn't get wind of this book.

While we're on Ayn Rand, it's fair to mention that, while she liked her Mary Sues, Jethro Knights (yes, Knights, plural. There's also a Dr. Whalefish and Mexican gentleman named Katril Bentoven) leaves all of her supermen in the dust. A college philosophy major, he's able to spend a mere four weeks in the library, plus some time chatting up an old sailor, and design a thirty five foot yacht which is capable of being sailed round the world, weathering a typhoon, and even being flipped by a 70 foot tall rogue wave, all because he, and he alone, with no help, welded it together from “six thousand dollars of rusty recycled steel”. He's also an incredible coder, capable of creating “dozens” of web pages in a four week stretch while simultaneously adding his organization to all the local phone books and internet search engines. He's largely immune from explosions. His senior thesis, which, incidentally, is the first thing his program allows him to write on his own, is so compelling it eventually forms the basis of a worldwide utopia.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Before I opened this book (and that's an anachronistic expression, given I read the ebook) I had some idea of what the "Transhumanist Wager" is/should be. Pascal's Wager was his misguided attempt to provide a rational underpinning to his belief in the Christian faith. He argued that even if there was only a tiny chance that the promise of eternal salvation was true, that tiny chance is well worth living your life by the Christian principles. The odds can be as low as they like when the payout is infinite; its still rational to make the wager. The Transhumanist Wager then should be that investing in life extension, nootropics, nanotechnology, and the likes is clearly rational, as the potential and indeed likely payout is so huge.

Its telling that the best thing I can say about this novel is that the title is pretty good. The characters are flat and, worse, unbelievable. The plot is messy, and the challenges unrealistic. The story Transhumanists vs religion, and the main problem I have with it is that it presents both of these as unified organizations. It makes me cringe whenever the author assumes that everyone working on medical technology or STEM research in general is a Transhumanist, while everyone else is a unreflected hypocrite. The second biggest problem is that for a plot based on the idea that things are changing rapidly, there's an alarming amount of time skipping forward with nothing changing.

Our designated hero follows the worst of Nietzsche's most egoistic teachings, and advocates for a every man to himself policy which seems depremental for a man destined by Mary Sue plot to lead the Transhumanist movement. He is directly unlikable.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real pain to read October 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book reads like it was written by a megalomaniacal fifth grader. The writing is without elegance or wit. The plot has holes throughout. Every third paragraph it seems has a logical contradiction embedded in it.

I really like the subject matter but this novel was just dreadful. I'm so glad to be finished with it.

Do yourself a favor: read anything but this book.
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49 of 63 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tripe - Do Not Buy September 5, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is poorly written, and, while the ideas are big, they are totally sophomoric. The characters are cardboard and inconsistent, the author's grasp on basic human nature lacks nuance, and the world is unrealistic and designed totally to facilitate what I hesitate to call the protagonist, a dual class sociopath / misanthrope empowered with the godlike abilities that only a teenage power fantasy can have. The only reason I finished this mess was that I started to think it had to be a put on and I wanted to get to the punch line.

Some gems:

Our hero, traveling around the globe on a yacht he whipped up with no training or experience, takes a break from pumping out amazing articles for National Geographic to burst into a war zone surgery. The surgeon, an improbably perfect woman, rather than telling him to beat it, is instantly sopping wet for him.

A bunch of cartoonishly buffoonish military men, having seen how our hero's 'Independance Day' inspired missile defense works by hacking into their guidance systems, decide to fire a bunch more missiles instead of firing a bunch of ballistic projectiles out else just leaving to come up with a new plan.

When our hero destroys all religious and government structures in the world using four fast airplanes, he manages to destroy Canada's Congressional Palace in Toronto but I guess he must miss the Parliament in Ontario. I mean come on: if you are trying to write a book that sounds intelligent, at least Google your fricking facts.

At all turns, real life complexity is brushed aside and minimized. All problems and constraints on progress are caused by cynical and evil political and religious authorities and the second these creatures are escaped from or destroyed everything is Hunky Dory.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story just stretched a little too far.
A long, sophomoric polemic with very few editing errors and good story just stretched a little too far.
Published 9 hours ago by jof
2.0 out of 5 stars too much philosophical dialogue
Read more like a manifesto than a novel. I would have preferred more action and less talking. The demonization of religion was also over the top. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Zoltan brings out a lot of excellent points about the problems on this...
Zoltan lives up to his Omnipotender potential for Human Kind. I am not a Transhumanist and after reading this book I am for sure not one but I was carried by his spirit through out... Read more
Published 2 days ago by katherine Brackeen
3.0 out of 5 stars includes both nuanced and 100% pure beef bad guys. Lots of thoughtful...
Captivating, "page turner", includes both nuanced and 100% pure beef bad guys. Lots of thoughtful polemics. Made me look forward to meeting Zoltan.
Published 2 days ago by William M Kaye
2.0 out of 5 stars This had some good ideas and action but got bogged down by page ...
This had some good ideas and action but got bogged down by page after page of philosophical discussions. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Michael David Vesper
3.0 out of 5 stars The speeches were way too long. I get it ...
The speeches were way too long. I get it, I get it. This read in some ways as one big political statement.
Published 4 days ago by M. Harker
1.0 out of 5 stars A philisophical treatise, not a fiction novel.
The idea of the book is interesting, but it quickly becomes just a lot of talking. This is really a philosophical treatise and not a novel. There is little plot. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Heather Waring
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time it took to read
The Transhumanist Wager is not the type of book I usually pick to read so I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. Read more
Published 9 days ago by LauraZ
4.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas about the evolution of humankind
A powerful and sometimes frightening look at the possible future of humanity...makes Ayn Rand look compassionate. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Mr. Brian
2.0 out of 5 stars humanitarian doctor because his true purpose is to love and exhalt...
It's rare that I give up on a book, but I stopped reading The Transhumanist Wager about one-third of the way through. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Bernard M. Weinraub
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More About the Author

Bestselling visionary author Zoltan Istvan, an American-Hungarian, began a solo, multi-year sailing journey around the world at the age of 21. His main cargo was 500 handpicked books, mostly classics. He's explored over 100 countries--many as a journalist for the National Geographic Channel--writing, filming, and appearing in dozens of television stories, articles, and webcasts. His work has also been featured by The New York Times, Outside, San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, Wired UK, Vice, BBC Radio, CBS, Fox News, CNN, RT, the Travel Channel, and much other media. In addition to his award-winning coverage of the war in Kashmir, he gained worldwide attention for pioneering and popularizing the extreme sport of volcano boarding. Zoltan later became a director for the international conservation group WildAid, leading armed patrol units to stop the billion-dollar illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia. Back in America, he started various successful businesses, from real estate development to filmmaking to viticulture, joining them under ZI Ventures. He is a philosophy and religious studies graduate of Columbia University and resides in San Francisco with his daughters and physician wife. Zoltan recently published "The Transhumanist Wager," a fictional thriller describing philosopher Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. Zoltan also writes columns for Vice's Motherboard (Transhumanist Future), Psychology Today (The Transhumanist Philosopher) and The Huffington Post. He is the founder of political organization the Transhumanist Party and is its 2016 US presidential candidate.

Praise for Zoltan Istvan's writing and work:

"Congratulations on an excellent story--really well written, concise, and elegant." (Editor, National Geographic News Service)

"Istvan is among the correspondents I value most for his...courage." (Senior Editor, The New York Times Syndicate)

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