Wouldn’t it be Great if There Was a Cure for Getting Old? Maybe Not After Reading This!
The End Specialist by Drew Magary (also published under the title The Postmortal) is one of those books where a perfect world scenario is played out and you have to seriously contemplate if that dream was really a good one after all. If you’ve read Arthur C. Clarke’s The Trigger, which tackles a world where guns blow up if near a new device thereby making the world pretty much gun free, or even H.F. Saint’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man where the childhood dream of many when played out is no longer something you’d wish for, you’ll know the type of reading experience The End Specialist is going to be.
I wish I could stay young forever, is a common wish of many. Well in Drew Magary’s The End Specialist, a scientist while trying to fight Alzheimer’s, unwittingly discovers the gene for aging and comes up with that very cure. If you take three painful injections (which starts of illegal in this novel), you can still die by being stabbed, shot, poisoned, hit by a car or even by something like cancer, but your body will never age and wear out, so if you are cautious and look after yourself, you could well still be around for hundreds of years. The End Specialist is the cautionary tale of the way humanity could change if the Fountain of Youth is ever really discovered. What will happen to marriage when the commitment is no longer for 50 years or so at the most? What about religion? How will the world deal with its already overcrowded prisons and will a life sentence still only mean getting out when someone approaches 80 or so? What will this mean to armies, the police and other emergency services, would anyone risk their lives for others if instead of just risking around 50 more years, if you’re now risking possibly a thousand?
What age would society see as having the perfect body to get the injection? Then what happens to those already past that when the cure was discovered, (well made available to the masses), how will society treat these older bodied people who will fast become the minority? What about those who choose not to take the cure and grow old naturally? With the death rate plummeting how will this affect the earth’s population and what effects will that have? Welfare, professional sports and many other things will change and Drew Magary outlines them all as we follow the discovered blog entries of a John Farrell who has documented 60 years of his and the world’s experiences since getting the cure.
The first half of the book was one of those don’t want to stop reading, can’t put down brilliant novels and this is worth picking up for that reason alone. I thought it slowed down and wasn’t as interesting once John takes up the profession of End Specialist (I’ll let you read and discover what that is). But Drew Magary has joined the ranks of authors who have played out dreams with the positives and the negatives through a fictional novel that makes you think, maybe I don’t want to live forever after all. Well at least not if everyone else is going to as well!