The Long-Term View: Talking to the Younger Folk

Advocates and scientists supportive of healthy life extension research, like the nanotechnologists, are looking ahead to a timeline of development that spans decades, the time between now and the first meaningful waypoints on the road to defeating age-related frailty, suffering and death. Given the length of planning, just how important is it to direct some efforts towards talking to the younger folk - those who may be embarking upon scientific careers in the late 2010s and early 2020s, or themselves decide, as did I, that advocacy and support is vital?

WIth that in mind, I note that Shannon Vyff recently asked me, a couple of times, to point out her new children's book. Vyff and her family generously support the present Methuselah Foundation initiatives, so I see no issue with a little extra pro quo. Take a look and see what you think:

The main characters in the story are a brother and sister, Avryn and Avianna, who are ‘killed’ in a car accident in the year 2008. But their bodies and minds have been preserved through cryonics and they are ‘re-animated’ in the year 2189. And WOW - has the world changed during the nearly 200 years that they were in preservation.

They discover that while they were ‘resting,’ ideas that were the subject of great debate in their day have now become reality. Humans no longer age, they can be re-animated if they were cryonically preserved and thanks to nanotechnology, the human body can repair itself.


21st Century Kids also explores the controversial subject of cryonics, or the frozen preservation of a person’s body after legal death occurs, in a positive way. The characters all share their viewpoints on cryonics and the impact it could have on families and the world in general.

Interestingly, this isn't the only fiction aimed at younger folk in which cryonics features prominently; I seem to recall that Anne C. found such a book in the teen literature section.

The book's overall tone is one that assumes that being alive is inherently good, and that freezing -- er, vitrifying -- people is a compassionate and proper thing to do in the event of fatal illness. ... It is more than refreshing to read a book, albeit one aimed at teen girls, that not only presents life extension technology in a positive light, but that is completely devoid of annoying, moralizing messages about how death is somehow 'natural'and that cryonics is some kind of abomination.

I rather hope that the new young adults of the 2020s look back and wonder what the big deal was with all the advocacy and persusion. Why were people running around trying to convice the world that extending healthy life span is a good thing, and that cryonics is a responsible attempt to save as many people as possible. Isn't it obvious? Aren't a raft of scientists working on it? Why all the fuss? The mark of success in a hard-fought endeavor is the utter failure of the next generation to understand why you had to expend all that effort - to them, it is normal and unremarkable to work towards longer, healthier lives.

We can hope, in any case, and work hard to make it so.

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Didn't Heinlein write a teen novel about cryonics, before there even was such a thing? It didn't have a teen protagonist though, as I recall.

Posted by: Jim T at March 6th, 2007 11:35 AM
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