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The Transhumanist Wager [Kindle Edition]

Zoltan Istvan
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"WINNER" Fiction Visionary - International Book Awards

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 third 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
"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
"A controversial novel." -The Spectator
"Fascinating. It's making waves." -Good Day Sacramento, CBS TV
"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 that 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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,442 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great first book!!! March 27, 2014
The Transhumanist Wager is an exciting science fiction thriller that transports you into a world where the topic of science and religion are intermingled within the realms of immortality. The book is also partly a war story where the main character, Jethro Knights, is exiled and forced to fight for his beliefs when the world declares war on him. This book forces us to revel in our own mortality and question our own spiritual beliefs. Zoltan Istvan is an author to watch. His characters are well-developed, and the prose in which he writes is both eloquent and visionary.

His writing style is reminiscent of R.A. Heinlien who also wrote of immortality (Lazarus Long) and was able to convey a realistic story to go along with his characters, this is a very well written work and taken as pure science fiction is a very enjoyable read. I can see how there may be some that are offended by the total disregard for organized religion, but like any other work of fiction it shold not be taken too seriously. That said there is one major hiccup in this story in that there is a very dramatic beginning to the book that just dies there, it’s never mentioned again, so you are kind of left hanging.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Open minds will find "The Transhumanist Wager" entertaining, even as it challenges our views of the world. Reading it will make anyone take a hard look at their lives, and also their deaths. If you don't agree with the philosophy driving protagonist Jethro Knights, he has an infectiousness that will make you follow his journey. His struggle is as much an inner struggle, as it outward, which makes for some compelling fiction (and adds to the entertaining/thought-provoking quotient).

There is a through-line of tension, creating tons of suspense--some subtle build-up, some bombastic sensationalism. The book, like Ayn Rand's books, uses a specific philosophy as the springboard for the plot. Some Sci-Fi enthusiasts, like me, may have never heard of the decades-old movement, Transhumanism. Istvan spells it out for us effectively, putting his personal spin on the philosophy.

Despite the in-depth explication (on both sides, transhuman and anti-transhuman), the plot is constantly in motion. Real world business terms, scientific breakthroughs and culinary touches--a worthwhile crash course--pepper the speeches and action, the plot. As in Rand's plots, events are a byproduct of the protagonist's choices (the do-all-end-all of Objectivism), and Jethro chooses his destiny. Via his choices, events quickly unfold in this book: No spoilers here, but a Utopian world arises as a critical eye is trained on an economy-riddled Dystopian America.

There are also echoes of Huxley's Brave New World (The catchphrase is mentioned in Knight's keynote speech during the climax). Some of Brave New World's heavy-handed, cold-hearted characters spring to mind in certain stretches.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The Transhumanist wager is essentially a philosophical worldview that has been woven carefully into an exciting narrative. The iconoclastic lead protagonist Jethro Knights is clearly a man who cannot fit in this world as it is today. The uncompromising principles of Knights in the second half of the book seem foreign to many readers, but are logical when viewed through the lens of Teleological Egocentric Functionalism, espoused by Knights (which is scheduled to be published by Istvan as a forthcoming annex to the book).

Overall, the book is both entertaining and illuminating, though as a philosophical novel is at it's finest when the exposition leads to personal discoveries and developments within the characters.

Certainly, the 21st Century will herald a struggle between those who choose to augment their being, and those who refrain. How deep and bitter the split in society will be is unknown, and The Transhumanist Wager provides a glimpse of how painful, costly, and ultimately futile (for bio-conservatives) this struggle may be.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible story of what's possible March 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When the brightest of minds unite.

What if we enabled an incredibly focused, incredibly smart group of people to concentrate on inventing things that would move humanity forward? This book shows what can happen when you eliminate the obstructions of regulation and geography, and get people on a difficult, ambiguous and major project because you know they will find a way to make it work.

We didn't know exactly how to create the atomic bomb, but the Manhattan Project was successful in a large part because it received enough backing, was given an unobstructed setting, and had a small, free-of-distractions team. DARPA retains some of those methodologies to this day. Practical nuclear science brought humanity to a new era, and while the dangers of military use is on everyone's mind, it’s hard to argue against the achievements yielded by dedication to R&D.

The characters in Transhumanist Wager, along with their morals, are magnets for scrutiny. The possibility of creating a real-world Transhumaia might be slim, at least at present. It’s a bold vision, but a core takeaway from this book is a reminder of what is possible when we simply provide the resources to make it happen.

Technology is often a double-edged sword. But if we look at what's needed to bring humanity forward, as a whole, very few things are more scalable, more replicateable, and can change more lives more quickly.

Istvan pushes for a radical refocusing of resources towards things that matter. He calls for a pure economic meritocracy. Looking at the big picture, 10, 100, even 200 years out, inventions like artificial lungs and successful cryogenic reanimation could bring about much more social benefit, than, say, allocating those funds to welfare.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good book on this subject matter
Not really a very interesting book, difficult to care about the characters, and difficult to support the overall gist of the book's message. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read
Absolutely five stars. Not only is this book extremely enlightening on the topic of Transhumanism, but the main character, Jethro Knights, has a wit unmatched by anyone since Oscar... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Southpaw94
5.0 out of 5 stars A Game Changer
This book is a real game changer. This is a modern day Atlas Shrugged. Transhumanist philosopher Zoltan Istvan takes us on an action packed fictional journey into our future and it... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Daniel L Stickler II
3.0 out of 5 stars Transhuman Terror
Over all, it was a good read, but i was under the impression this book would explain the Transhumanist movrment in a detail, yet objective manner - boy was i wrong. Read more
Published 17 days ago by ricky obrien
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
A pleasure to read and an inspiring topic. Recommended to anyone looking for a glimpse of possibility or just looking for a good read.
Published 19 days ago by steak
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Just finished reading the book. I found it thought provoking and original thinking regarding the philosophies that guide our beliefs and actions. Highly recommended.
Published 20 days ago by dennis petkiewicz
2.0 out of 5 stars Preachy and Predictable
I quickly figured out the direction this story was heading after reading halfway through the first chapter. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Jeremy P
1.0 out of 5 stars Objectivist Fanfiction
"The Transhumanist Wager" is to "Atlas Shrugged" what "50 Shades of Grey" is to "Twilight. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Bootenant
5.0 out of 5 stars required reading
But you won't read it. You are afraid of the future, implicated in ignorance drowning in the traditions of evolution which you deny. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Giotto
1.0 out of 5 stars One star for not getting the sailing stuff right. Did not finish.
I got this one for free when it was offered for free back in April.
And I tried reading it. I really tried. I'm fascinated by the ideas that the transhumanists play with. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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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.

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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