Jameson Satellite first appeared in July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories. The hero, Professor Jameson, was obsessed with the idea of perfectly preserving his body after death and succeeded by having it launched into space in a satellite.
Jameson's cryopreserved body survived in suspended animation for 40,000,000 years, when it was found orbiting planet Earth by a passing cyborg exploration ship. The cyborgs, who descended from a race of biological beings achieved immortality by transferring their brains to neural-net circuitry inside machine bodies, like the Borg of the Star Trek series.
The cyborgs discovered that Jameson's body had been so well preserved that they were able to repair his brain, incorporate it into a machine body and restart it. Jameson Satellite proved so popular with readers that later installments became some of the most popular and well-known of the 1930s pulps.
Being cryopreserved and revived is an idea that would recur in hundreds of science fiction novels, movies, and television shows. One young science fiction fan who read Jameson Satellite and drew inspiration from the idea of cryonics was Robert Ettinger, who founded the Cryonics Institute and the related Immortalist Society. Ettinger, who once said “By working hard and saving my money, I intend to become an immortal superman.” became cryopreserved after his death in July 2011.
Jameson Satellite also inspired Woody Allen's “Sleeper” futuristic science fiction comedy. The plot involves the adventures of Miles Monroe who goes into the hospital for an ulcer in 1973 but when the surgery goes awry he is cryogenically frozen and defrosted 200 years later in an ineptly led police state.
Isaac Asimov also read the story and cites Jameson Cyborgs as the "spiritual ancestors" of his positronic robot series and credits them as the origin of his attraction to the idea of benevolent robots. Masamune Shirow's cyborg-populated Ghost in the Shell saga where named Jameson-type cyborgs.
Today we either bury dead brains or burn them which result in irreversible loss of personhood information due to the destruction of the brain tissue that houses a person's unique neural-net circuitry. So far the only practical alternative is to vitrify or cryopreserve the brain and store it indefinitely at -196 °C using liquid nitrogen.
Even the best vitrification techniques still produce massive cell damage that no current or even medium-term technology can likely reverse. But the shortcomings of early twenty-first century science and engineering hardly foreclose the technology options that will be available in a century and far less so in a millennium.
Some future biocomputing technology may extract and thus back-up this defining neural information or wetware. Currently, there are more than 250 brains suspended in liquid nitrogen in the US and more than 3,000 people have already signed up to have their brains, or whole bodies, cryopreserved in suspended animation.
Stanley Kubrick, director of "2001: A Space Odyssey" film hailed the promise of cryonic suspension in his 1968 Playboy interview. Kubrick cast death as a problem of bioengineering: "Death is no more natural or inevitable than smallpox or diphtheria. Death is a disease and as susceptible to cure as any other disease."
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