X-Message-Number: 13490
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 15:54:23 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Cryonics Community, Publications

It's encouraging that Dave Pizer has now acquired land for a possible
cryonics community, and of course is also intent on promoting our cause more
generally, as he has been for many years. The Venturist organization was
formed in 1986 for this purpose (principal founder, Dave Pizer, with myself
as co-founder), but up to now our options have been rather limited by our
meager resources. Thinking about the possibilities of really doing something
is exciting--I have to keep reminding myself not to get too carried away too
soon. I do hope we can get a cryonics community started, and especially in a
beautiful setting like this is supposed to be. (I haven't seen it yet but
intend to soon.) I hope also and expect that, if things do get going we will
focus significant energies on dealing with last-minute and other difficult
cryonics cases. This will involve trying to help them find an organization,
trying to get the cryonics word out to funeral directors (especially through
the Web), trying to get funding where needed, etc. 

One part of "getting the word out" is publications, and this has become more
feasible through modern, computer-controlled printers. Fancier printers can
now produce a nice, bound book for you at the touch of a button or two.
Something like this is what Dave has in mind (it could also turn out
high-quality newsletters). We'll hopefully have our own on-demand
publications department, and a number of hard-to-find titles should get
easier to find, not to mention books yet to be written. 

Speaking of books, you were recently informed about Dave's novel, *Ralph's
Journey*, which has now been published by iUniverse.com and can also be
ordered on the Web through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Its first version was
finished in 1986 but afterward it was edited by me and Steve Harris, so I am
in a position to offer some comments. (I have a short review of the book at
the Amazon site too, pitched at the general, s.f.-oriented reader.)

As many will know, Ralph's "journey" concerns, first, his mortal life in the
20th century, and then, his eventual reanimation after cryonic suspension.
Basically, the new version is the same story as before but with a lot of
rephrasing, a few cuts and some additions. What we hope are enhancing
details are added, particularly toward the end. (Dave had gotten some
criticism about that before, that the book flagged after a certain point.)
The book has also been criticized because it's based around the used car
business in Arizona in the 1950's, and it isn't that thrilling a subject.
Ralph, I've heard, is somewhat boring, his talents limited to salesmanship
and piling up bucks. To balance that, though, I found the excursion to the
'50s nostalgic (at my age, now 53) and Ralph seems to have enough challenges
and matching personality to make an interesting story. The real story too is
not about getting rich and selling automobiles-clearly that's just a means
to an end, and has long served its purpose by the "end" of the story, which
is really just another beginning, as it should be. (I found the car business
presented in an interesting way too, with a ring of authenticity that I
understand incorporates many autobiographical details.)

There are other cryonics novels, a notable example being Jim Halperin's *The
First Immortal*, a very well-written and exciting story about a family of
people who are more or less preserved and saved through cryonics. *Ralph's
Journey* is a different sort of book, focusing more on one individual who is
childless throughout, and a "family" of associates who are not blood
relatives. But I see in that a philosophical point of departure too, for if
the future develops as it should, and we transition from mortal to immortal,
creating offspring will lose its urgency too. (And in fact many cryonicists
today, as if anticipating this, are childless too, though there are notable
exceptions.) *Ralph's Journey* raises a question it can't answer, which is
what should we do with our life, given we *do* become immortal, which means
inevitably that we will transcend our humanity and leave it behind, like we
do with childhood today. But at the end it offers a world that seems a good
starting point, and also, by reasonable projections, something that is
actually achievable.

Another book to mention in passing is my own, *Forever for All*, which is
now, I hope, in final retouching stages (I'm having it professionally
edited, and meanwhile am adding some illustrations). It will, I hope, very
soon be sent off to a publisher, my tentative choice being Universal
Publishers, another Web-based, on-demand operation. 

Mike Perry

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