Tag Archives: Immortality

Book Review – The Mummy by Anne Rice

The Mummy coverHey look, I finished a book! It’s our first done of the year, with plans to read many more. To be fair, I cheated, by starting this book half a year or more ago… So we’ll see how I do with book number 2!

I picked up Anne Rice’s The Mummy because she’s one of those authors I figured I ought to read, but wasn’t sure where to begin. I had tried to read Interview with the Vampire but didn’t get very far… and there would have been oh-so-much to read after that! A stand-alone novel like this was a much better taste of her writing, and lets me move on to another author’s work next…

As a first thought on the novel – and as an observation that probably applies to much of the rest of Rice’s work – it’s incredibly hard to pin down its genre. The gut reaction is that it’s a monster story – like the Universal monster flicks. However, it’s not really a horror story. It has romantic elements, but isn’t a romance novel. It is placed in a historical moment, but it’s full of alternate history (you know, the living mummy). The only alternate technology is the elixir that gives long life, so not really Steampunk. Kind of fantasy with the immortality, but also like science fiction in that it must have an explanation with modern science… Modern adventure fantasy? Something.

Whatever it is, it’s good.

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Life, With Rush Lyrics

This is a bit later than we like to be finishing up our week of blogging. I had the idea for this all the other day… but have been busy. Happily, I got it together! As I’ve said before, I really like Rush, and listening to the 40th Anniversary Tour (R40) album on Apple Music, I thought of these.

So here are some things from our life lately, in pictures and with lyrics by Rush.

Work, Work, Working Man

Yep, back at work… I’m the “Working Man.”

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The Last Witch Hunter

Last weekend I got to go see the Last Witch Hunter. I had mixed feelings about seeing it because reviews had been pretty bad, but I really like Vin Diesel and know that he is actually a big fantasy fan. I also realize that there are a lot of movies that I enjoy that do not get good reviews. In the end I decided to go and see for myself.

Now it is not the greatest movie ever, but I still had a good time for a couple of hours, which in my book is a win. There were definitely some elements of the movie that I really appreciated and made it a more enjoyable experience. So I’ll try to avoid spoilers and give you a couple of reasons I enjoyed The Last Witch Hunter!

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Science Fiction Today – Health Care

HThis is actually not the first time we’ve approached Health Care in a Science Fiction Today post. So I want to try to avoid hitting all the same territory, and instead tackle one of the big health care stories recently: longevity. As in, they’re really starting to think that people are going to be able to live way into the 150+ year range.

And I’ll admit: I haven’t actually read any of the articles. I don’t feel I need to for this. We’re looking to the future – to science fiction. So what does long life look like in science fiction?


Really, it’s not often in science fiction (or fantasy) that you see really long-lived, health-repaired people. What you do see are immortals. Generally not many of them, either. Whether it’s the fountain of youth, vampirism, or body-replacing technology, generally only a few can live forever in stories. So the tension is often about how does this long-lived character deal with relationships with mortals?

And whether it’s fantasy and you’re looking at someone like Drizzt Do’Urden, who has watched all of the non-elves in his life passing away (after over 20 books), or a science fiction character like The Doctor, we get to watch the heartbreak as they move on from those closest to them. However, these are naturally long-lived or immortal characters.

So when it’s science augmenting life, we see all sorts of methods used. Cloning, cryogenic freezing, body replacement. Virtual lives like in Surrogates. And what these things seem to have in common? They’re for the rich. It’s not what everyone does. And the other thing the rich have? Enough money to afford to live for that long.

How Much Retirement Do We Need?

What scares me is not the sad, sad stories of characters living forever, watching mortals die around them. I’ve read Tuck Everlasting. It was great.  And not the thought of the rich living for ages – after all, if they live that long, it’s hard to pass on their fortunes to their heirs, right? That could get interesting.

The frightening option instead for me is that science gets us to a point where a great many of us are living to the mid-100’s. Still aging. Hey look, I’ve finally gotten to health care! Because what will life look like in this scenario?

What sorts of health devices will we need, mobility devices? New tests? And my heading is a really good point – how much money are we going to need to work and save up if we spend half of our lives or more in retirement?

Or will we be in retirement – or working? What will work look like if we’re working over 100 years old?

I genuine don’t know that I have the answers, and I’m not thinking of science fiction examples to answer the question. So I’ll ask you – what do you think we’ll do? And, do you know any science fiction stories that explore this topic? Discuss in the comments below!

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

The Purpose of Education 2 – Education in Naruto

Lately we have been watching a lot of Naruto Shippuden. This is the anime series that starts three years after the events of Naruto. Quick plot: they’re ninjas, in a society of ninjas, and they go on ninja missions and do ninja training and you can never expect what they’re going to pull off because they’re NINJAS.

It’s great.

So a while back I wrote a post about the Purpose of Education, and about what it does for the student, what it means for their life. And about why we might teach. Which also tied in, for me, to a large set of posts I wrote about how Science Fiction is important which, if I may, I will sum up in this quote from Among Others, which I am reading right now:

“One of the things I’ve always liked about science fiction is the way it makes you think about things, and look at things from angles you’d never have thought about before.”

-Jo Walton, Among Others

Okay, back to Naruto. In watching the show – especially in season 3 – there’s a lot of talk about learning, about studying Ninjutsu (ninja arts) and studying with a master. A lot about knowledge as power, which, when you’re throwing around crazy ninja powers, is a literal sort of adaptation of that concept. So let me talk through what I observed in the show, and what it tells us about the Purpose of Education!

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