LIVING LONGER, GROWING YOUNGER by Paul Segall

LIVING LONGER, GROWING YOUNGER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Human heads frozen in liquid nitrogen for future resuscitation; brainless full-body clones grown for cannibalization of parts: these are only two of the unintentionally nightmarish images that leading cryobiologist Segall (aided by science-writer Kahn, Beyond the Helix, 1985) conjures up in this fascinating, messianic, and downright chilling look at biotechnology's encroachment on aging and death. Given the freeze-dried-people movement's recent bad press--e.g., the arrest of leading cryonicist Saul Kent (Segall's mentor), who cut off and iced his ailing mom's head--it's no wonder that Segall devotes many pages to debating the numerous objections to the more outrÇ aspects of "life extension." Despite his assurance that "Rabbis have presided over frozen funeral capsules," however, most readers will likely shiver as they read through his autobiographical, self-promoting (lots of plugs for his Trans Time people-freezing company here), ecstatic rundown on recent and predicted life-extension breakthroughs. It's not just that the pervasive true-believer's air--beginning with Segall's confession that he has "spent his entire adult life. . .trying to answer two questions: Why do we grow old, and how can we stop it from happening?"--gives pause; it's also that his well-articulated and informative brief on developments--including aging-retardation through diet, low-temperature surgery, organ transplants, cloning, and cryonics--finally betrays a reductionist mind-set ("death is [not] something other than a loss of specific organization of physiochemical matter") that renders humanity as little more than intelligent, lovable meat. An otherwise clear and compact round-up of high-tech wonders made forbidding--thanks to the author's fervid Brave New World embrace of life-extension at seemingly any cost.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1989
ISBN: 8129-1803-7
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
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