Book review – The Postmortal

[Ahem. Yep. Once a week and all.]

So, to bring back a feature of the blog long since vanished, I’d like to talk briefly today about a book that I recently finished for the second time – The Postmortal by Drew Magary.

Lots of books contemplate a society where there’s a formula or some description of the potential for human immortality. As best as I can recall, these books are usually set in the far-future, where humanity is spread across dozens of worlds and galaxies and there’s plenty of room for all to live and let live.

But what if the formula for immortality came when we were all still Earthbound?

This book (pub’ed in 2011), contemplates (in black hilarity) such a cure being found in 2019. The story follows main character John Farrell, who starts off the story illegally getting the cure from a black market doctor. After considerable bloodshed, the cure is finally legalized.

Over the next sixty years, society slowly stagnates and decays, and Farrell makes the transformation from a lawyer who specializes in “cycle marriages” to a nomad to an “end specialist”, all the while haunted by the memories of the two women that the Cure has taken away from him and searching for a meaning in a world that has absolved itself of it.

Not only is the main narrative exceedingly darkly funny and well-written, but it has something I really enjoy in novels if pulled-off well (and it is here). The main narrative is written in close first person, but it is interspersed with vignettes from newspapers, tv shows, interviews, and the like, that turn what would otherwise be a narrative of one man’s journey into a global tale of caution.

[Going on vacation this coming week, so if you don’t see another post, that’s totally why.]


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