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The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan
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The Transhumanist Wager

by Zoltan Istvan

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Showing 5 of 5
The author emailed me a copy on the condition that I rate it on Goodreads, so slogged through it. A few interesting ideas, but yeah, pretty bad. A science-fictional Ayn Rand could be awesome, but doesn't work here. There's so much better transhumanist fiction out there: Greg Egan, Nancy Kress, Charles Stross, Paul Di Filippo, Bruce Sterling, etc. ( )
  ZoneSeek | Mar 3, 2017 |
Although, this book is much more extropian than I would like. I did find it very enjoyable and a great change of pace in my reading. ( )
  jfranks9 | Jun 11, 2015 |
In order for me to fully comprehend this book, I am forced to look at it from different angles. As a work of fiction, it is a thought provoking story- One where the heroes and the villains are hard to define. On the one hand, there is an increasingly growing group of futuristic thinkers, called Transhumanists, led by radical philosopher Jethro Knight, that believe the world should embrace scientific life enhancement procedures, such as stem cell therapy, artificial intelligence, and cryogenics etc., with the goal of humanity reaching omnipotence.

On the other, there are the Fanatical ultra-religious groups, and the government which declares these scientific procedures, and the Transhumanist philosophy evil, and against all that God stands for. The Transhumanists wish to be left alone to further their experiments, with the goal of lengthening life-spans until death is a thing of the past, with the new “super-humans” combining their consciousness with machines in order to live forever as “Omnipotenders”!

I will call this Science-Fiction, or even a Philosophical Thriller, although Transhumanist Philosophy is a real philosophy, with a combination of scientists, philosophers and artists who essentially wish to live forever, and believe that science is the answer. I can see how religious people, and governments would become alarmed by the Transhumanist philosophy, which brings me to the second lens that I must view this through. That would be from the viewpoint of one who is afraid of any group that puts forth an elitist, classist, totalitarian manifesto.

In the story, the Transhumanists, a great majority of them the brightest scientific minds in the world, leave their host countries and build a floating city outside of the jurisdiction of any meddling governmental forces. While the frightened religious groups and the Governments of the world have attempted to stifle the Transhumanists by force, in turn, the Transhumanists, through scientific military advances unseen to this point destroy the armed forces of the world and proceed to strip world leaders of all wealth, and imprison or kill them using robotic killing machines and highly evolved weaponry. The new Transhumanist movement then takes over the world’s governments, and proceeds to tell the world's population essentially that they can live if they follow the line of the new government of Transhumania.

I can honestly say that this is one of a very few books that I have read, where I found most of the characters to be lacking any traits that would coerce me into taking their side. Simply put, this was a story of one oppressive leadership destroying, and then supplanting another oppressive leadership. While the ending is decidedly a happy one from the author’s viewpoint, I am inclined to believe that it is at the cost of the free will of billions of people. This was an interesting read, yet controversial and depressing as well.

Please read the full review on The Thugbrarian Review @ http://wp.me/p4pAFB-cd ( )
  Archivist13 | Jun 18, 2014 |
Istvan’s speculative action novel explores the philosophical implications of attempting to live forever, putting it into the framework of a utopian novel ala Ayn Rand. Two scenes early in the book, Jethro and the wave, and Jethro and Zoe on the mountaintop, were excellent, the most powerful scenes I’ve read in the last year or so! The blend of action, symbolism, and philosophy had me eagerly anticipating what was next, making this a very interesting read. My only complaints with the book stem from reading an early copy, and I’m sure that with a little polishing it will shine. ( )
  drardavis | Nov 22, 2013 |
I loved this novel. If you are a proponent of transhumanism, or interested in it, you will too. Zoltan Istvan has written a very engaging novel that manages to be both interesting, and educational, simultaneously. The novel is really an introduction and explanation of transhumanist philosophy couched in a captivating fictional story line. That being said, I do have a few minor complaints, the second half of the novel moved way too fast. I think that the novel should have been twice as long, or perhaps even two books. And a few of the speeches were way too long. That being said, a few minor quirks in a first novel are easily overlooked, and I really hope to see more in the future. ( )
  icadams | Jul 28, 2013 |
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