Forever is Too Long

John Posner

Publisher: Golden Echo Books Pages: 616 Price: (paperback) $22.95 ISBN: 9798989335404 Reviewed: January, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Author John Posner’s shelf-bending novel is a thought-provoking science fiction story that deals with the increasing utilization of artificial intelligence in the future and its impact on the potential for humans to live forever. A question raised in the novel sums up the storyline perfectly: “What the hell had humanity created?”

Set in the 25th century, the story revolves largely around Jake Sullivan, a man nearing his 110th birthday. Sullivan is a senior vice president of a revolutionary company that has built a massive digital multiverse run by artificial intelligence to house the minds and memories of billions of people who have uploaded them before dying.

These digital copies of humanity are called Mindars, but their creation hasn’t created the utopia that Sullivan and others had envisioned. Technology has made it possible for these Mindars to temporarily live in bioforms to return to the physical world, and their existence in society is bringing civilization to the brink. Financially powerful Mindars, for example, are pushing for voting rights, although they’re legally dead.

The story goes off the rails a bit with the introduction of Noah Carter, a 12-year-old boy whose abnormal genes have given him seemingly supernatural powers. His plot thread, which pits him against the Four Energies of evil feels tangential and unnecessary, and detracts from the main storyline. Additionally, some of the overall content is repetitive, and the story could have easily been tightened.

These issues notwithstanding, the novel’s power is in its speculative content. Readers will be prompted to look at their lives and their potential futures with a healthy dose of distrust: What if death becomes optional? Is immortality a blessing or a curse? Do we trust AI to run our daily lives? If technology gives humankind the ability to manipulate our genetics, should we?

Overall, this is a fascinating, albeit overly long, cautionary tale of the future that should appeal to readers who enjoy provocative narratives.

Also available as an ebook.

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