X-Message-Number: 19102
Date: Fri, 17 May 2002 11:11:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: SF writers

Damien Broderick raises the interesting possibility of trying to sell
cryonics to SF writers Niven/Pournelle. All I can say is that while I was
going through the extremely depressing Timothy Leary standby,
coincidentally the annual Nebula Awards were held on the LA area. I
attended the evening social event for some light relief, and talked to
Jerry Pournelle while I was there. When I explained the real reason why I
was on the West Coast, Jerry turned and shouted to the people nearby,
Jerry thought this was a hugely amusing, ludicrous concept, and came back
to the theme several times during the evening. If he had any willingness
to take the idea seriously and/or apply it to himself, he kept it well

Gregory Benford is closer (politically, geographically, and personally) to
Jerry Pournelle than I ever was. I feel sure he must have brought up the
subject of cryonics at some point, and Jerry must know of the pseudonymous
Benford novel on the subject. Also I feel sure that Niven and Pournelle
would have looked at Greg Bear's lovely little novel, HEADS. In fact, I
would bet that any serious old-school science-fiction writer is well
informed about cryonics, at this point. My own articles on the subject
have appeared in Omni magazine (four times), Fantasy and Science Fiction,
Science Fiction Eye, Science Fiction Guide, and Interzone. As always,
there is no shortage of information on the topic; just a shortage of
people who apply it to themselves. For more than two decades, I myself
thought of cryonics as something that "other people did." This remains one
of the two or three basic problems in promoting it. Many people will say,
"Yes, I guess it might work," but as soon as you suggest they should sign
up themselves, you get the instant-dismissal reaction: "Me? Oh, not ME."

Very few people can break through the "Oh, not ME!" reaction. I've seen
Mike Darwin doing it by terrifying people, and Brenda Peters do it by
charming people. Both techniques used emotion to force the acceptance of a
basically logical argument. Maybe that's what it takes; I don't know.

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