Immortal Engines: Life Extension and Immortality in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Overview

These nineteen original essays seek to recontextualize the subject of immortality, examining its influence as an ancient human aspiration while at the same time considering new scientific advances and their impact on life and literature. Grouped in three broad categories, the essays provide key information about and concepts of immortality, examine science fiction stories and scientific research to consider the prospects and possible effects of achieving immortality, and discuss immortality and life extension as ...
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Overview

These nineteen original essays seek to recontextualize the subject of immortality, examining its influence as an ancient human aspiration while at the same time considering new scientific advances and their impact on life and literature. Grouped in three broad categories, the essays provide key information about and concepts of immortality, examine science fiction stories and scientific research to consider the prospects and possible effects of achieving immortality, and discuss immortality and life extension as literary themes. The topics the essays focus on, as well as the perspectives of the contributors, range widely: genetics, cryonics, Marxism, Darwinism, cyberspace, feminist writing, religion, Italian science fiction, film, children's literature, video games, and comic books.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Twenty-five selected articles trace Alaska's history from the days of Russian-American Company domination to the more recent threat of nuclear testing by the Atomic Energy Commission and the influence of oil money on inexperienced politicians. About half of the articles were included in an earlier anthology, Interpreting Alaska's History (1989), and all have appeared in print elsewhere. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"This intriguing anthology not only surveys the imagined mechanics of achieving and withstanding immortality in science fiction, but also at moments tentatively questions our culture's avoidance of that middle ground between fantasies of perpetual youth and dreams of endless life: the increasingly common reality of a greatly protracted old age."--Science-Fiction Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820317328
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Pages: 243
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author


George Slusser is a professor of comparative literature and director of the Eaton Program for Science Fiction and Fantasy Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Gary Westfahl teaches at the University of California, Riverside. Eric S. Rabkin is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English at the University of Michigan.
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Table of Contents

Prefatory Remarks
Introduction: Immortality: The Self-Defeating Fantasy
Pt. I Approaches to Immortality
Philosophical Models of Immortality in Science Fiction 3
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: Immortality and The Immortal 13
Longevity as Class Struggle 24
Pt. II Science and Immortality
The Immortality Myth and Technology 45
A Roll of the Ice: Cryonics as a Gamble 68
Living Forever or Dying in the Attempt: Mortality and Immortality in Science and Science Fiction 77
The Biopoetics of Immortality: A Darwinist Perspective on Science Fiction 90
IBMortality: Putting the Ghost in the Machine 102
How Cyberspace Signifies: Taking Immortality Literally 111
Pt. III Literature and Immortality
Alienation as the Price of Immortality: The Tithonus Syndrome in Science Fiction and Fantasy 125
"No Woman Born": Immortality and Gender in Feminist Science Fiction 135
The Science Fiction of the House of Saul: From Frankenstein's Monster to Lazarus Long 145
Cosmifantasies: Humanistic Visions of Immortality in Italian Science Fiction 158
"We Are All Kin": Relatedness, Mortality, and the Paradox of Human Immortality 170
Dual Immortality, No Kids: The Dink Link between Birthlessness and Deathlessness in Science Fiction 183
Clifford D. Simak's Way Station: The Hero as Archetypal Science Fiction Writer, the Science Fiction Writer as Seeker for Immortality 193
Living Dolls: Images of Immortality in Children's Literature 201
Zen and the Art of Mario Maintenance: Cycles of Death and Rebirth in Video Games and Children's Subliterature 211
You Bet Your Life: Death and the Storyteller 221
Contributors 231
Index 233
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