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[This is the Audiobook Cassette Library Edition in vinyl case.]
Want to be immortal? You can be in AD 2110. Just go to the Hereafter Insurance Corporation and hook yourself up to the Machine. There's nothing to fear. That is, if it happens to be working right, and if nobody slips another mind into your body when you're not looking, and if you're not on a poltergeist hate-list . . .
First published in 1959 as a startling, revolutionary novel of the future--then pushed to new cinematic limits as the feature film adaptation Freejack in 1992--Robert Sheckley's unsettling vision of tomorrow is a trenchantly witty novel of a future where everything has improved except the bumbling human race, which just can't let itself enjoy a good thing when it finally gets it.
Thomas Blaine awoke in a white bed in a white room and heard someone say, ''He's alive now.'' Then they asked him his name, age, and marital status. Yes, that seemed normal enough--but what was this talk about ''death trauma''?
Thus was Thomas Blaine introduced to the year 2110, when science had discovered the technique of transferring a man's consciousness from one body to another, when a man's mind could be snatched from the past, as his body was at the point of death, and brought forward into a ''host body'' in this fantastic future world.
But that was only a small part of it, for the future had proved the reality of life after death and discovered worlds beyond or simultaneous with our own--worlds where, through scientific techniques, a man could live again, in another body, when he died here--and had in the process established the reality of ghosts, poltergeists, and zombies.
What did it all mean? How had this discovery of what they called the ''hereafter'' shaped the world of 2110?
Thomas Blaine found himself living in a future where the discoveries and techniques imagined by people of his time, though realized, were completely overwhelmed by discoveries no one had ever dreamed of.
powerful aura of superstition surrounding it, comparable to the aura generated by such diseases as epilepsy, leprosy, or St. Vitus’ Dance. The spiritualizing tendency is a common one. Schizophrenia, you know, was once thought to mean possession by devils, and hydrocephalic idiots were considered peculiarly blessed. Similar fantasies attach to zombieism.” They walked in silence for a few moments. Mr. Kean said, “The superstition of the zombie is essentially Haitian; the disease of the zombie is
reached under the counter and pressed a button. Blaine turned and ran out of the store. It was growing dark. But his location had been revealed. The hunters would be closing in now. He thought he heard someone calling his name. He pushed through the crowds, not looking back, trying to think of something to do. He couldn't die like this, could he? He couldn't have come 152 years through time to be shot before a million people! It just wasn't fair! He noticed a man following close behind him,
skiff moved easily on the light summer breeze, and water gurgled merrily beneath the forefoot. Thompson-Blaine rearranged his lanky, tanned body on the planks, squirming around until he had succeeded in propping his feet against the mast. He had been home just a week, after a two year work and study program on Mars. It had sure been interesting, especially the archaeology and speleology. The sand-farming had gotten dull sometimes, but he had enjoyed driving the harvesting machines. Now he was
ineffectual Ed Tyler, prayed for the best for pretty Janice Mariner. They were with him still. Good or bad, he wished them all well. They were his family now. Distant relatives, cousins and uncles he would never meet again, nieces and nephews upon whose destiny he would brood. Like all families they were a mixed lot; but they were his, and he could never forget them. “Nuku Hiva in sight!” the captain called. Blaine saw, on the edge of the horizon, a tiny black dot capped by a white cumulus
you?” “I must,” Blaine said. He looked around once more at the palm trees whispering under the sun, the blue expanse of the sea, and the great dark mountain above him cut with silver waterfalls. Then he turned and entered the Suicide Booth, and closed the door behind him. There were no windows, no furniture except a single chair. The instructions posted on one wall were very simple. You just sat down, and, at your leisure, closed the switch upon the right arm. You would then die, quickly and