Rick Moskovitz’s A Stand-in for Dying, is a gripping science fiction novel that explores the essence of being human in a society so technologically advanced that (for a price) someone can live forever.
Young and healthy, but poor and uneducated, Marcus excels at bodybuilding and extreme sports. Conversely, Ray is old and sickly, but earned billions from his well-intended invention of synthetic HibernaTurf, a product developed to cover barren land with no need of water, thus helping solve a global water shortage. Instead, it took over healthy grass, thereby killing food for grazing cattle. Eventually there was almost no grass, vegetation or livestock, creating an environmental disaster across North America.
Ray uses his wealth to purchase immortality in an agreement that will transport his mind into an unknown man’s body at the moment of Ray’s death. The same company that provides this service offers Marcus the flipside. He can stop aging and become rich and successful, but must sacrifice his consciousness at some point in time. A risk-taker, Marcus agrees, but soon finds his life much bigger and more complicated than he ever imagined.
The author builds a fascinating alternative near future in which how people read, see, travel, die, and even bathe, have changed drastically. For instance, because HibernaTurf created a catastrophic water shortage, people now bathe with bursts of shiny cleaning solution followed by a blower—all without water. Due to the agreement, Marcus, Ray, and their wives hide secrets and grapple with issues of identity and morality.
It’s a sci-fi delight watching the story develop and characters come to awareness about their situations. The complex storyline holds together throughout the book, and may challenge readers to analyze their own opinions. Difficult medical jargon and scientific concepts are explained sufficiently, and important issues are presented in an accessible manner.
A Stand-in for Dying leads readers down a philosophical rabbit hole and helps them find their way out again—changed in the process.
Also available as an ebook.