Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seven books that weigh the pros and cons of immortality

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at One of seven books that weigh the pros and cons of immortality that he tagged at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Ashlan Ley’s Curse, Viscera by Gabriel Squailia

Whatever happened to Ashlan Ley before the events of Viscera, it wasn’t pretty. By the novel start, she has been alive for centuries, unable to age or be killed, eking out a living as an apothecary using her alchemist training. She’s unsure why she’s been alive this long, or indeed what it is that makes her completely unkillable, but it’s so dire that when the first dubious offer to make it stop comes along, she jumps at it. Still, being completely immortal is a benefit at least some of the time, right?

Pros: When we say “completely immortal” what we mean is “more immortal than anyone else on this list.” Ley grows back organs, is able to keep going when impaled, and takes damage throughout the book that begins at mortal wounds and disembowelment. While she might not be able to get up right away, she will get up eventually. Plus, she never ages, which is something that’s always a boon when it comes to immortality. You can’t really get a much better combination than that.
Cons: Again, imagine having to be awake while your lungs reform. Or feeling your guts grow back. Also, being able to shake off any traumatic injury doesn’t mean you don’t still feel the pain from those traumatic injuries, so while swan-diving off of Niagara Falls may seem like a fun thing to do with your unkillable body, it’ll still be incredibly painful. Complicating matters, there is a reason Ley is unkillable, and while the resolution of her story arc (no spoilers) is a relief, the cost really isn’t worth the perks.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue