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The Transhumanist Wager [Kindle Edition]

Zoltan Istvan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (331 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: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,922 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
139 of 173 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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Thought-Provoking Story.... June 15, 2014
By Angel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Refreshingly thought-provoking, The Transhumanist Wager tells the tale of Jethro Knights, a defiant young man with great ambition and determination. He envisions a world where humans are replaced by transhumans (super humans, in effect, able to live longer, healthier, higher-quality lives). During his final year at the university, Jethro writes a senior thesis describing a radical new philosophy he calls TEF--Teleological Egocentric Functionalism. Basically, he urges people to work tirelessly toward scientific advancement so that they will ultimately achieve immortality. Jethro becomes an omnipotender, an individual who strives for as much power as possible and surpasses biological limitations to evolve into an indestructible life form.

Needless to say, Jethro's vision is highly criticized as insane, immoral and evil, particularly by Reverand Belinas, the Christian leader of the powerful Redeem Church in America. With a vast following and strong ties to government and financial leaders, Belinas is an influential man who declares a war against Jethro and the Transhumanist movement.

Terrorist attacks, at the behest of the "righteous" Reverand Belinas, ultimately cause Jethro and thousands of other loyal Transhumanists to leave America for life in Transhumania, a seastead (floating community) where scientists, futurists and technologists can conduct unhindered research in state-of-the-art laboratories.

With so many brilliant scientists concentrated in one isolated place, not subject to any scrutiny or regulations, leaders of advanced nations begin to grow concerned about the possibility that they will acquire greater nuclear capabilities. These new Transhumanians just want to be left in peace so that they can work on defying death and attaining immortality.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for transhumanists July 16, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading the book. I was told that I should read the book - and I'm glad I listened. As an aspiring transhumanist the book has reaffirmed, refreshed and strengthened some of my core beliefs and principles. All of this while being a digital page-turner. This was a story that made me stay up at night to read more of it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Zoltan Istvan has crafted a thrilling work of science- fiction that provides insights into what could become future science-fact. In reality, our species is at a turning point right now... marvelous new technologies brought on by scientific thought have the potential to provide for an unprecedented level of abundance and an incredible standard of living. The Transhumanist Wager examines this fork in the road we as a species currently find ourselves at by telling the story of protagonist Jethro Knights, a driven transhumanist philosopher intent on doing everything he can to gain power and live forever, becoming an "Omnipotender". The obstacles he faces in his struggle to forge a new world based on reason and science are the same struggles that hinder the movers and shakers in our reality; namely, archaic conservative institutions of government, religion, and culture, that hinder progress by instilling fear in the populace.

The story is packed with insight into the workings of corrupt institutions and the thoughts of the people that populate them. It also provides a vision of the antithesis of these corrupt institutions: Educated peoples working together towards a shared goal. The novel has a great deal of action, adventure, and intriguing philosophy to keep you turning the pages. I finished it in two nights of nonstop reading. It's inspired me to keep working to become a more valuable individual, and so I'd give it 5 stars, despite some minor differences in my personal philosophy and politics.

I would (and have) recommend it to friends, and am happy to have read the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I finished the book but did not enjoy it. The story plot seemed odd...
I finished the book but did not enjoy it. The story plot seemed odd and not very plausable.
Published 2 hours ago by Leroy M. Buchholdt
2.0 out of 5 stars where is science fiction?
It's there but starts say about 75% into the book. And it's not a particularly exciting variety - along the lines of "good times will be had by all". Read more
Published 1 day ago by Igor Shnaper
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
Good premise and a fairly decent read but got dragged in middle and really slowed down in last third. Could do without the author's personal opinions of God and atheism. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting and thought provoking.
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nicely paced, a good read on my phablet.
Published 4 days ago by JJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent sci-fi. Excellent writing. Characters all believable. Recommended highly.
Published 4 days ago by elinor crocker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best book I've ever read
Published 5 days ago by Jake
4.0 out of 5 stars If he existed in real life he would be a pretty serious threat
The book was interesting and generally kept my interest. There were some parts that took a while and seemed to drag on in my opinion. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Jim Gamboe
1.0 out of 5 stars 'Atlas Shrugged' for Nerds
Interesting plot. Interesting ideas. Interesting characters. God AWFUL writing! I have never before read a book more in need of an editor. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story bogged down by a transhumanist screed; ...
An interesting story bogged down by a transhumanist screed;. An entire chapter is devoted to the protagonist's speech on the subject.
Published 8 days ago by Ken Hafer
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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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