To Live Forever-Jack Vance (1956)

After the Chaos man has finally achieved the method of immortality. But…..you have to earn it. You have to do something of merit to join the Society of Amaranth. Five copies of your body will be made in case an accident wipes you out. In order to keep the population down those that can’t earn their way into the Society are done away with at eighty-two.

Gavin Waylock is a barker at Carnevalle, a huge amusement park to keep a bored populace occupied. Anything goes and one of the amusements is throwing darts at live frogs. Seven years ago Waylock accidentally pushed a rival off a high tower and was marked for death.

He’s been in hiding all this time. Coming to hear his pitch is the beautiful (what else?) woman known as The Jacynth Martin. She’s a hundred and four and a Society member. Thanks to the process she now looks nineteen. Gavin doesn’t know all that and takes her to a cafe in the Carnevalle.

Gavin was known as the Grayven Warlock. In that incident seven years ago he was a member of the Society. So was the man he killed. All this time he’s been posing as his own clone. It looks like The Jacynth is on to him. He makes arrangements to terminate her.

That sets up a vendetta of vengeance from her that stops him at every turn. He got a job at an asylum where the patients were Cattos. They go from a catatonic state to mania with out warning and have to be restrained 24/7.

His friend thinks he may have a way to cure them. He didn’t count on Gavin’s substituting water for the serum. Gavin had to. The Jacynth reported him and now he’ll undergo a memory trace that will expose what he did to her. Making the substitution allowed that part of his memory to be erased so she couldn’t prove anything.

Now she’s really out to get him. She blocks every job he tries to get until he finds a low paying drone position. But she’s not done yet.

This is society on the brink of destruction or revolution. It’s been peaceful for too long. Gavin could bring it all down. This is good early Vance and well worth checking out.

One item that’s interesting is there is a spaceship called Star Enterprise.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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2 Responses to To Live Forever-Jack Vance (1956)

  1. Joachim Boaz says:

    That’s Powers cover….. swoon….

    Vance certainly has the world-building knack — although, occasionally he doesn’t do much more than that and instead hastily rigs a plot together to inhabit such a world-scape.

  2. vintage45 says:

    I did like Ballantine’s blurb on the front cover, “Mature Science Fiction”, so readers wouldn’t think this was another pulp BEM story.

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