X-Message-Number: 2074
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Re: cryonics: #2060-#2064
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 93 0:46:12 PDT

Dear Charles Platt:

I personally can recall cryonics being in science fiction for many years.
Unfortunately it was treated almost uniformly in a negative way; always some-
thing went wrong, or the revived suspendee had severe problems with the 
society he/she was revived in, or ..... This went on so much that eventually
it soured me on almost the whole of science fiction. I won't say it soured
me on everything, but certainly on a good deal of it. It's very easy to
work up disasters which, when examined in the context given by the story 
itself, look very highly implausible.

Do you know of any science fiction in which cryonic suspension IS NOT the
main plot element, but which uses it as background for other things: the
main character, for instance, might have been frozen for hundreds of years,
revived, and now has lived for a century afterwards, and meets with some OTHER
plot problem?

It is also difficult to find books in which even longevity becomes a background
element: not a main issue, but one of the features of the society (which need
not be a paradise, but is also not a hell merely because everyone lives for
a long time). I do recall Vance's novel TO LIVE FOREVER, which ends with a
kind of declaration of immortality for everyone, and Simak's CITY, which 
along the way presents characters as thousands of years old. But surely there
must be more ...

You may not be aware of it because it came before your time, but there was
actually a quasi-science fiction magazine for CRYONICISTS, put out by the
Chamberlains. Various people, I included, wrote for it; at least for my own
stories, there were problems and conflicts, and they were very much affected
by the background that everyone lived for a very long time ... but that fact
did not in itself cause those problems. The Chamberlains ceased to publish
it and that entire subject has lain fallow since. But even with the faults
of the stories it contained, it did not present either cryonics or longevity
merely as a source for cheap thrills.

To Ms Wells:

The problem with mechanical refrigeration has, I believe, been hashed out
in the discussion of a freezer that would maintain -130C. Cost. I won't go
into that more. I do hope, though, that the reasons behind a desire to keep
patients at that temperature are clear to you. Personally I have only one
problem with the discussion on the net of this subject, and I do not feel
this to be a serious problem. But it does seem to me that any storage
system for patients should be as modular as possible; that is, it should
be possible to construct independent modules to store some relatively
small number of patients. 

My reasons come from a sense of practicality and not from design issues.
If we can build smaller modules, changing over can be done more slowly,
which will probably help deal with the cost of doing that changeover.
Furthermore, some of the mobility of current neuropreservation would be
preserved by smaller modules: as the Dora Kent case showed, it may be
useful or even essential to quickly move some or even all patients 
elsewhere. That ability has already saved the life of one patient, and
we may very well need it again. The plans so far described seem to be
oriented toward storage of large numbers of patients in a situation 
where political or governmental attack is out of the question. I doubt
that we are so secure as all that, or will be for at least 50 years.
			Best and long long life to all,

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