Immortals Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1998
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Mass Market Paperback
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- Publisher : Ace (July 1, 1998)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 255 pages
- ISBN-10 : 044100539X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0441005390
- Item Weight : 5.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.26 x 0.74 x 6.7 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#5,310,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4,106 in Science Fiction Short Stories
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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1. The Dying Man by Damon Knight - An immortal in a world of immortals who are kept immortal by retarding their maturation into adulthood has his regeneration treatment go wrong and grows up and faces mortality.
2. Death Do Us Part by Robert Silverberg - A marriage between a 20 year old woman and a 300 year old man goes wrong when it looks like she might not share in immortality.
3. The Worm that Flies by Brian W. Aldiss - In a far distant future, when life is running out of energy, the immortals that remain remember children. This story reminded me of Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories.
4. Child of All Ages by P.J. Plauger - An immortal pre-teen deals with the problems of being immortal and pre-teen in the modern world. This is a classic and might be the best of the book.
5. Grotto of the Dancing Deer by Clifford D. Simak - The last surviving Cro Magnon shares his secret with an anthropologist.
6. Learning to Be Me by Greg Egan - If we can recreate a human mind in a artificially intelligent chip in the individual's mind, a chip that learns to be the individual, how can we ever know that the chip really thinks, feels, is human or that it is the same human? This is the most philosophical of the stories.
7. The Secret by Jack Vance - This is an odd story for Vance. People who live on an island periodically pick up and leave and go the mainland. This story lacks Vance's normal images of decadence.
8. Mortimer Gray's History of Death by Brian Stableford - An author works on a history of death in a series of books over the course of 150 years. The story is really about the phases in the life of the author, Mortimer Gray. On the whole, it was an enjoyable, entertaining read.
My two favorites are:
P. J. Plauger's "Child of All Ages" is easily the best in the collection. We meet a little girl who has lived for more than two thousand years. Despite her life experience, everyone treats her like a little girl. This is one of the few short stories that show readers what such arrested development might feel like. Compare this to the situation of Claudia the ten-year-old vampire in Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire .
Greg Egan's "Learning to Be Me" explores the implications of implanting a high-tech "jewel" that gradually learns to model everything your brain does. Eventually it can replace your brain and you can live forever. Well, somebody lives forever--but is it you? This is a far more thoughtful examination of the "total backup" of human minds assumed to be unproblematic in hard science fiction works like Iain M. Banks' Surface Detail .
This collection is worth reading through to sample the perspectives on immortality. Too many of the stories seem to make a single point quickly without exploring the theme in sufficient depth. Perhaps this is the nature of the short story--and perhaps that format is simply a poor match for this theme. I recommend exploring its treatment in longer works, such as Poul Anderson's The Boat of A Million Years or Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love .