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Immortal Engines: Life Extension and Immortality in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Proceedings of the J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Science Fict) [Paperback]

Gary Westfahl , etc. , George Slusser , Eric S. Rabkin

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Book Description

31 July 1996 Proceedings of the J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Science Fict
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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"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"

About 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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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covering the Bases 31 May 2011
By Saxen49 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Contains many different takes on the topic with variable readability. Some papers are hard going, others in a conversational style. I was somewhat disappointed that much of the analysis relies on classic science fiction ideas with very little discussion about anything more recent than the 1980s; seemed odd and retrospective for an idea tied to recent advances in cellular biology and other technologies. It provides a good grounding in early and iconic sci-fi though. The paper containing the taxonomy of models for immortality is well worth reading - excellent overview of tropes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Variously interesting 24 Oct 2002
By Julia - Published on Amazon.com
A variety of articles of criticism show up here, of various length and dryness, but most are rather interseting, drawing on ancient mythology or even biblical mythology to prove a point. Some articles are easier to get than others, depending on what the reader has read. Anyone who's read Neuromancer by William Gibson might want to take a peek.
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