Thursday, 11 May 2017

Against Ageing

Sf writers imagine ways to:

travel faster than light;
travel through time;
negate gravity;
read minds;
prevent aging;

In this post, we consider anti-aging processes in the works of four American future historians and one British sf writer.

In Robert Heinlein's Future History, the Howard Families, having secretly bred themselves for longevity, then revealed their existence to the world, flee from persecution in the Solar System. During their absence, new rejuvenation processes are discovered:

replacing poison-clogged blood with new blood grown outside the body;
tooth budding;
growth inhibiting;
hormone therapy;
cosmetic processes;

In James Blish's Cities In Flight, there are several anitiagathics, e.g.:

one shot of ascomycin gives immunity to infectious diseases for the next seventy years;
triacetyltriparanol, taken every day, inhibits cholestrol;
another antiagathic prevents sleep.

In Poul Anderson's World Without Stars, the antithantic prevents age and disease but memories must be artificially edited. In Anderson's The Boat Of A Million Years, eight mutant immortals survive through history until the athanatics are developed.

In Larry Niven's Known Space future history, boosterspice extends life indefinitely and protectors, who have eaten "tree of life," live until killed. In Niven's A World Out Of Time, the chemicals associated with aging can be selectively teleported out of the body. Thus, the instant-elsewhere is the young-forever.

For John Wyndham's Antigerone, see here.

Addendum: For further discussion of these issues, see the next post here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm reminded of how there is real world research in using telomerase for extending human life spans. With the caveat that this also increases the risk of cancers developing. So, it is not yet known how useful telomerase will be for extending life spans.