X-Message-Number: 7642
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS Feedback requested on SF short story
Date: Tue, 04 Feb 1997 22:03:07 -0600
From: Will Dye <>

I've been asked by Lance Chambers to write a short fictional 
story about molecular nanotechnology, to be included in his 
upcoming book.  I'm only in the first draft stage.  I'd like 
feedback on a potential scene that involves cryonics, in 
particular the technologies described in the warmup sequence.  
Please note that this is a draft _description_ of the scene, 
not a draft of the scene as it will be written, but you 
should still be able to get the idea...

------- begin included text -------

vitrification researchers had sucessfully revived small mammals 
from cryosuspension, but the problems with larger-mass animals 
were so great that the experiences with tiny masses were considered 
all but irrelevant to reviving a human-sized creature.  new 
approaches were tried, but so far had failed miserably...

demo of experimental technique to revive a large mammal from liquid 
nitrogen temperatures.  a test cow, covered in probes and surrounded 
by hectic researchers, lays on a custom-made operating table on the 
seminar stage.  skeptical investors & hopeful enthusiasts in the 
audience.  caveats about how much progress would actually be made.  
launch-control scene, nothing left to chance.  calibration runs are 
made on test materials just before every major equipment performance.  
sensors, displays & checklists abound.  countdowns & communication 
like a rocket launch.  several stages of warming up, each marked by 
probe changes, recalibrations, and procedure adjustments.  the final 
heatup will include (among many other things) a very large burst of 
several wavelengths of EM radiation, from multiple carefully-
calibrated angles, to concentrate the right amount of energy at each 
3-d point in the cow's body.  some of the energy will activate tiny 
probes that are strategically latticed within the subject, releasing 
energy and chemicals at critical junctures.  

final countdown sequence.  a malfunction.  then another.  but it's 
too late to back out at this high of a temperature.  tensions high.  
the researchers back away momentarily as the EM emission panels are 
lowered into place for their final, most powerful burst.  a flash 
of light, and the panels are quickly raised.  the stench of some 
singed hairs is immediately evident.  the researchers look to the 
monitors for a heartbeat, then... 

A now-live cow, mooing in anger & confusion, scrambles up, loudly 
smashing the equipment & scattering the researchers.  she stumbles 
off the seminar stage, out the door & into the city streets.  back 
in the auditorium, the researchers & crowd sit in stunned silence 
as mooing, screams, and honking fade into the distance.  a computer 
calmly voices that a rectal temperature sensor might be improperly 
inserted.  as some remaining pieces of equipment break off & fall, 
a dazed researcher finally stammers: 


(the deeper point is that we made all these preps & meticulous 
scientific controls for doing the feat, but the consequences 
involved important things that were obvious only in retrospect.  
i want to make the point subtly without stating it outright.)

addendum (i'll probably cut this) 

the cow soon died from complications (just outside a McDonalds?), 
but the test was considered a stunning achievement.  a big legal 
landmark was set when the researchers got a ticket for bringing a 
live stock animal into the downtown area.  the researchers' defense 
was that the cow was dead when they brought it in, but the court 
dismissed the argument, stating that properly-vitrified bodies are 
no longer legally dead.  the researchers gleefully paid the fine.  
the precedent held and was quickly extended to vitrified humans, 
and later to humans frozen by earlier techniques, even though 
revival of humans had not yet been fully developed.   

continuing advances in MNT are hampered by legal constraints on how 
smart & fast computers are allowed to be.  despite the constraints, 
progress continues rapidly, and only eight years later the first 
human is successfully revived.  He was selected because he was only 
recently vitrified, with the most recent techniques, and also because 
he had expressed a strong desire to be revived ASAP so that he could 
be around while his kids grew up.  because techniques are still 
relatively crude, he suffered significant memory loss and some liver 
& bone damage, but he's clearly alive and happy about it.  

-------- end included text -------- 

Right now it looks like i will have to cut back or eliminate this 
scene, but i'm reluctant to do so because i kind of like it.  

Comments?  Most importantly, is it technically plausible?  Also 
of importance, is it _funny_?  Did you laugh, and if so, where?  

Thanks in advance,


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