Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Postmortal by Drew Magary

The Postmortal has been sitting on my needs-to-be-reviewed list for a long time, as it was a selection for the sci-fi/fantasy book club I belong to sometime last year.  It's actually something of a parody of a futuristic, dystopian novel, but it's not so much funny as in ha-ha.  There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, but mainly it's making fun of the genre and even humanity itself with its horribleness.

Basically, scientists accidentally discover a cure for aging, and so everyone starts getting it.  Pretty soon everyone is locked into the age they were when they got the cure, and the human population is skyrocketing.  It's not a cure for dying, though, which explains why portmortals (those who have had the cure) are more likely than uncured people to have liver problems due to too much drinking, and that sort of thing.  Once people get the cure, they start acting like they are invincible, and they're not.

The cure affects other things, too.  For instance, what happens to your marriage vows once there is the potential that you could live forever?  Do you really want to spend forever with that person?  And what happens to retiring -- no company is going to want to pay you a pension for the rest of your life when you might live forever, and since you will never actually grow old, does that mean you have to continue working forever?

The book addresses all sorts of very real issues to consider if a "cure" for aging is ever discovered, and because you can see these sorts of things actually happening, it makes the book extra creepy.  It's written as an archive of the main character's diaries, interspersed with news stories about current events caused by the cure.  Because of the introduction to the book, you know that the cure is now illegal because of the near-collapse of society that it produced.

Definitely recommended to anyone who likes dystopian fiction!

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