Five stories about immortality--spanning hundreds of years but having a few of the nondescript characters in common--from the author of The Sudden Star and Watchstar. In the opener, biologist Merripen develops a new variety of human--hermaphrodite and not subject to emotional vagaries--who'll be better able to cope with immortality than run-of-the-mill humanity; the expected complications ensue. Then superchild Teno and a number of eschatologically preoccupied types discuss life after death. And, in two considerably more lively pieces, a couple of boys running away from their aimless, suffocative parents are captured by a psychotic old woman and her android servants--while Merripen, trying to re-establish contact with the vanished superkids, falls foul of biologist Domingo, creator of (and god to) a non-selfconscious folk with Jaynesian bicameral minds. So finally, in the title piece, Domingo wakes from suspended animation to meet the now self-aware and highly advanced descendants of his bicamerals. Drab, often dreamily unfocused work overall; and Sargent's main point--that immortality would stultify human development--is obvious enough without the talky belaboring it receives here.