THE FIRST IMMORTAL:In his astonishing first novel, James L. Halperin wrote of humanity's epoch-making barter at the dawn of the twenty-first century: privacies sacrificed in favor of justice and prosperity. Now Halperin takes his luminous vision a leap further into the future as he unfolds this magnificent saga of our triumph over death itself.
At the age of sixty-three, Benjamin Smith, accomplished physician and original thinker, succumbs to the heart attack that overwhelms his system on a rain-soaked spring day in 1988.
But Ben Smith does not believe in death. A pioneering advocate of the infant science of cryonics, Ben has arranged to have his body frozen until the day when humanity will possess the knowledge, the technology, and the courage to revive him.
That day arrives far more quickly, and far more strangely, than Ben ever imagined. For when he resumes life after a frozen interval of eighty-three years, the world is altered beyond recognition. Thanks to cutting-edge sciences such as molecular technology, artificial intelligence, nano-neuroscience, and cloning, as practiced by Ben's brilliant great-grandson, Trip Crane III, humanity has been endowed with nearly godlike powers. Eternal youth, beauty, and good health are universally available.
As one by one--and with varying amounts of their original identities preserved--Ben's beloved wife, mother, children, and grandchildren return to life in the mid-twenty-first century, the Smiths experience a complex reunion that reaches across and through generations. But as they marvel at the miracles of future science, Ben and his family will come to realize that the deepest ethical and emotional dilemmas of humankind--and of their own entangled lives--remain unsolved.
A novel about relationships, inheritance, human nature, and the true meaning of mortality, The First Immortal is so real, so convincing, so powerful, it will have you wondering if James Halperin hasn't discovered the secret of time travel and is bringing us news of a future he has seen himself.