22 August 2011
Post 417: The Postmortal
Well... that wasn't what I was expecting. The book blurb provided by Goodreads pegged this as "witty," and while that is not untrue, perhaps a more accurate synonym would be apt or shrewd. There wasn't anything to laugh at in Magary's novel, and so the connotations of "witty" just don't fit. Additionally, the cover is a bit misleading in my opinion. It sort of makes me wonder if anyone on the marketing side of publishing actually reads the books they try to market. Because this is a great book, but holy smokes did I have the wrong perception based on cover and blurb.
This book raises so many questions that I could probably write five lengthy posts about it. Luckily for you, I'm not going to do that. I will answer the main question it raises.
If there was a cure for aging, would I get it?
Hell no. Things are not going so great right now, why would I want to risk living through 60+ more years of this only to die of cancer anyway? Sure, I might be healthier up until I got cancer, and I would probably be ready to die at that point, but aging is a necessary part of life. And I certainly don't want to live forever, or even longer than 80 years. That's not how things work, and I'm old and cranky enough to not want to change that particular aspect of the world.
Part of this is probably because I'm in a bad place in my life right now. Okay, it's not as bad as some people, but it's almost the lowest I've been, and as far as relative suckage, this sucks worse than anything else I've personally experienced. But I also think my decision would stick if things weren't going poorly for me right now. The idea of living forever has never especially appealed to me. I like thinking about what might happen in the distant future exactly because there's no way I can know. There is no point in speculating about it if I know I will one day live to see it. That takes the fun out of it. You can be more inventive and fantastic with your musings if you never have to worry about being wrong. For this exact reason I think it's necessary that we never achieve longevity (at least not instantaneously).
In the long run though, I think I'm afraid of things getting even worse. If I die at the age of 84, and things have gotten a little better in society, I can at least pretend like things will continue to get better. And if they get even worse, I can have a little bit of hope and maybe even some relief that I went out at the lowest dip. But if I just keep living I will begin to expect the cycle. Rather than steeling myself for the next upswell, I will always be looking for the bottom to drop out, for things to come crashing down again as we circle the drain. I would rather go out hoping that things turn around some day, than live on knowing how much we've screwed the proverbial pooch.
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Review copy provided by Netgalley.