Editorial – November 2018: Seeking The Long Life.

November 4, 2018 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone

It is said that there might already be a human born who could reach 150 or even 200 years of age already alive today. After all, centenarians are likely to become ever more common in our generation, so more people should exceed that age as well. Likewise, someone who could be hale and hearty and not look their age isn’t beyond the reach of possibility and is probably what they are referring to. More so, when you look at some people and are guessing when it comes to their ages, older people are looking less their ages. In other words, our long-lifer is likely to never look that old.

When I was young, older people really did look their age. Changes in diet and a broader gene pool has also meant more human variants are present. Of course, it’s noted when people reach an old age who also, alas, look their age. However, would you want to be revealed you’re an older age and look young become public knowledge?

After all, people would want to study and see what makes you tick as well as a spot of envy. Of course, that assumes there is only one long-lifer and when has that ever happened? Once one happens, more will be revealed. Mind you, if you one of these lucky long-lifers, would you really want to be a celebrity or be known? Just because you had extended life, doesn’t mean you can’t be killed and someone is bound to think they can cut your life short.

In some respects this is something Robert Heinlein looked at in his twin books, ‘Methuselah’s Children’ (1941) and ‘Time Enough For Love’ (1973) with his Howard families selected because of their long lives who were then cross-bred for extended life until medical science further enhanced them. They invariably moved around and changed names so no one would question why they didn’t grow old although there would be a lot of them after many generations. I’m less sure the mobility would be the issue these days. People are getting more insular and their neighbours more likely to move themselves before worrying about how young you might look or remain to ask. I suspect it would be just as easy to hide your real age as so much information about you is computerised that other humans wouldn’t be scrutinise the data. Well, they might under certain pension schemes, no doubt looking for fraud than long-lifers. Even so, if you found you were a long-lifer early enough, you would just as likely not get a pension and arrange for an updated birth certificate or new identity from time to time and just blend in than reveal yourself. You would learn to work the system of any country you live in. Pensions wouldn’t be needed and you would certainly benefit from any short term insurance policy benefit. Of course, people can disappear into the system and who knows at retirement age that you’re going to double that age?

As I said above, there would be more than one long-life person around. I did have a ponder on finding such people in our current reality where more people have their genetic code looked at. You wouldn’t be looking for unusual genes but whether or not the telomeres at the ends of genes had eroded. If they haven’t then your body would continue to repair aging damage and avoiding cancer. Even so, there would likely to be a significant mutant gene to let that happen and identifying that would be tricky without a long-lifer’s DNA to examine.

Having a long life is nothing if you’re accident prone. Getting seriously injured with no hope of a genuine recovery is likely to make having a long life a less than enjoyable experience. There is a need to protect your health as much as anyone, probably more so. Of course, if what makes them long-lived has other side-benefits, even injury might not be insurmountable.

Something else to consider on this is once its established that can be done by nature, how far behind would Man be in coming up with doing this but would we want a society of long-lifers? I doubt that would happen in any way but for space travel where there are extended periods between planets or stars, this would be a useful trait for any astronaut. The only real problem then would be boredom unless we can come up with a hibernation technique.

Science Fiction has indicated that if you have a long-lived population and they still have children then you are going to have far too many people to feed. You can afford a few long-lifers but that would be it. Far better to let nature take its course and just accept a few people will live to a long age than worry about looking for them. Based on the standard Mexican hat statistical curve, it is inevitable that if we have people with progeria who age quickly at one end, then there must be some people with indefinite life-spans at the other end. You’ll only know if you’re amongst the average in the middle if you have the normal tropes of aging. We all can’t live forever.

There is an added problem of will there be a world around to live long into. We’re seeing the affects of global warming on a seasonal basis now. It would need more than long life to survive that. I think the attitude that we’re looking for the long-lifers should extend to other positive genetic anomalies. It seems a shame that with our greater understanding of the sapien genetic code, that the world won’t be here to see it.

From a psychological point-of-view, I suspect the worse thing will be seeing family and friends dying but the brain is awfully good at putting the dead behind them. Providing there is no dementia or other mental instabilities, it would be easier to accept your lot and get on with your life. Humans can be fickle and make new friends on a regular basis so that wouldn’t be a problem.

There are other benefits. You would know that long term investments will be the better choice. There would be enough time to go and see wherever you want so you might well turn into an adventurer. I guess it would be personal preferences as to what you would do with your long life and depending what talents you have and can remember.

It’s an interesting prospect, even more so that one or more of you reading this month’s editorial might actually be a long-lifer. The odds of a geek being a long-lifer are actually good and we are only limited by our imagination.

The real test of being a long-lifer is how you look after each decade has passed. I don’t think you will cease to age, just do it a lot slower. It makes for a good argument to stay alive and see if you can make a grand age, just to prove you do belong to this small minority.

Thank you, take care, good night and what do you think are the odds that you might be among the long-lifers?

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info


A Zen thought: Life needs meaning if it is to be appreciated.


What Qualities Does A Geek Have: The thought that being a geek is a genetic anomaly.


The Reveal: For those who get this far, you might have noticed with some reviews, the month written does not necessarily match the month of review release. We get a lot of books in advance of the release date and can sometimes even get them read and reviewed way in advance as well.

As my General Semantics background has a tendency to time-binding, where things are locked down to when you might say or write something and might not necessarily reflect a later opinion or even a secondary polish, I prefer to keep the correct date of writing in there. All you need remember is we held back the review until the release date.


The Reveal: The wow! feeling: 6EQUJ5


Is This A Problem?: Something I am getting worried about is being asked to give confirmation details about my background when talking to the utility companies when they don’t have to prove who they are. You would think spammers would use a similar tact to get information. Maybe there should be a receptacle asking for detail to prove who they are back.


Observation: Watching ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ again recently, I wonder why Arthur Clarke and Stanley Kubrick didn’t repeat the theme from the Dawn Of Mankind’ of Man forever being up his rivals to achieve his aims?


Observation: An odd thing about Venom. Eddie Brock or whoever is being possessed and covered by this sentient is almost skin deep. Granted Venom’s head extends when it wants to take a bite but what is its tongue actually attached to?


Observation: If you want to present an argument to use your mobile phones less, watch the film ‘Cell; (2014). Stephen King’s nightmare makes most of you vulnerable.


Observation: Just because a country’s leader says all the right things doesn’t mean they won’t do this to deceive on an international front. After all, it’s all about timing and in poker, you don’t show your hand until you have all the aces.


Feeling Stressed: Only two more months before another year replaces this one.


Missed Opportunity:

            I’m always on the lookout for new writers, especially that rare breed called ‘reviewer’. Can’t get enough of them. Don’t feel because we are the top of the tree, that I don’t want new talent. I just want people who can write and improve with practice and a little coaching.

            What you have below are two choices. Send me a sample review and let me pass comment. The second choice is to read all the info below, just in case you want to understand more about the protocols.

            Some things are put in bold, not so much because they are any more important but more to add a little more emphasis. Welcome to my mind and be grateful you don’t have to live it in your ability to self-express.

            If you regularly read 50-100 pages of a book a day, then you might be reviewer material.


            If you aren’t seeing the types of book or authors here you would want to read, chances are that I don’t have any reviewers who do them. I’m stocking up on reviewers right now. The extended info is below but essentially, if you can write and breathe and make good observations, you stand a chance. If you make grammatical errors, then I have your back. Email me at: gfwillmetts at hotmail.com

NOTE: Although there are details below are for the geeks who want every detail, please observe the bigger message elsewhere on site. I’m always recruiting reviewers and this is the time of year to recruit as the nights are shorter and so you might be sleeping less If you’re living in the UK, love books and feel a bit geeky then read the notes below. You have to love reading anyway. You might be what I’m looking for and I do train people up and it’s good for your writer’s CVs and books to feed your reading habit. As some of my team are discovering, they can also interview writers and write articles as well. You can do that without reviewing as well but reading and reviewing is a good discipline. We’re a good team to belong to.

Polls And Opinions: We did have them for a time but the new version was causing a mess in WordPress so until a new version that doesn’t cause conflicts comes around, we’ll have to do without them but please use the answer option at the end of any material to express comments because we do read them.

For the record: For the odd query I have about being linked to media contacts. I do not have either a personal twitter or facebook account. There’s enough of me here to not outstay my welcome. I’m also puzzled why some people see SFC as a blog site when we’re not. We were in this format long before blogs. It’s getting to the point that people can’t tell the difference between blog and butter.

Beware Of Virus Attacks: December 2012, even though I hadn’t left an active link to my email address, it got solidly attacked and then blocked from everyone, including myself. By necessity, having a form of open contact to me comes as part of the editor’s job. I’m still seeking reviewers and new material so follow the paths through the website and go where no spam-bot dares. I’ve yet to see them write anything. Humans and aliens can apply. Monsters need to prove they can read and write. We could do with some reviewers who like fantasy right now. Don’t be scared of the instructions, you’d be surprised how easy it is to learn. So, if you want to contact me, build these words into an email address: gfwillmetts at hotmail dot com I won’t bite, although that doesn’t preclude others. In fact, I’ll settle for any more willing reviewers who love to read. Did I say I was after reviewers?

NB: We do get digital books and if you live abroad and not in the UK, then this avenue could be open to you. I’m not putting it in as a link to avoid spam. Just copy and paste into your emails to contact me with my address noted in the paragraph above. I’m always recruiting and details are through a link on the top of the SFC main page articles and stories as well. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean you’re going to read any less. We could do with some more fantasy readers right now!

If you’ve on a budget, a book for a review is a good bargain and I can teach the nervous how to do it by seeing what you do when you present a sample. It’s a good deal. We get books in a variety of formats these days so all things are possible to those with the knack for putting words into sentences and saying what they think.

For potential book reviewers in the UK, it’s a good way to keep up your reading habit and show you can write. There are detail links scattered over the website and on the forum. If you don’t think you’re up to scratch, you’ll discover why I’m the dutch uncle. Repeating this several times is for those who only scan and who don’t want to wind back up the page.

Another real Zen thought but this time for potential writers: If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.

Zen for those who are scared by all the instructions below: Many of the instructions are things you should be doing automatically if you’re developing your writing skills. If you do them already then focus on the ones that you don’t get right. They are there to help you as much as me to get the best writing from you. If you think you’re 80% there then I’ll help you get the final 20%. Trust me, I’m an editor and I can get things right.

BOOK REVIEWS    – Don’t feel intimated by all the info below or linked to. If you’re any good as a writer, much of it should be second nature already. This is just the long hand version.

Do you love books? Do you like curling up and reading a book in preference to socialising, even on the Net? You might not even want to curl up, that’s only an option. Do you have a preference for fantasy, SF or horror? We really could do with some fantasy readers!!! Do you find it the greatest pastime you have next to being on your computer?

Are you very vocal about what you like and don’t like in what you read?

Would you like to share your thoughts with others about books?

Would you like an endless supply of books to do this with?

Do you live in the UK?

Can you spare an hour every day to read?

Do you think you can write about what you’ve read?

Are you finding the recession is hitting your book buying habit?

If you’ve been nodding your head up to this point then link in below and see if you have what it takes to be a reviewer at SFCrowsnest. If you have that special knack to read and write or want to develop said skill then the only way you’re going to find out is to take the plunge yourself rather than wait for others to do it first. Reading a lot of books is a requisite for any writer. Being able to say what makes them good or bad hones your own skills. Even if you’re just happy with reading with a little writing on the side then this might be for you. It’s got to be better than waiting for the sun to come out in this weird summer and now cold winter. It’s also amazing how much you can read in an hour a day.

If you’ve survived this far in the editorial, let me reiterate something from the website newsletter and the above editorial. As you can see from the main page, we have one of the biggest SF/fantasy/horror monthly reviews columns on the Net. Our success has increased the number of books that comes in and our policy is to read everything and give it a roadtest before giving a review so you have some idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. You want the bottom line about what you’re going to choose to read. That means we need people actually willing to read the book and tell others they’re opinion in reviews. For that, we’re always on the outlook for more reviewers.

Do you think you have what it takes to review a book? It’s a skill that can be easily mastered and we need a few more. If you love fantasy, we have more than enough to keep you busy for instance.

Apart from the ability to put words into sentences, you also need to know how to précis, do a little research on associated subjects and can express opinions constructively about the good and bad points about the books you read. We even let you choose from our pile of received books rather than foster something on you that you wouldn’t normally read. You’ll even get a little editorial help in how to write good copy and that can always lead to other things. I’m not as scary as I sound editorially and it’s better to do the test review and see how you fare than not attempt to see how well you did. I did say you have to love books and willing to read beyond your favourite authors, didn’t I?

If you like reading books in the genre and can average two or maybe three a month, can really think and show you can write a decent review and, most importantly, live in the British Isles (sorry, expense, time and distance travelled mostly prohibits elsewhere), then use the link below and see our requirements. We can’t pay you but writing a review has to be cheaper than buying a book and a good incentive to see if you have what it takes to develop your writing skills.

Do you think you’re up to writing a review? If you think you can, then you’re really going to think you’ve landed your hands in the biscuit tin. It won’t hurt to try and see if you have the right stuff by sending me a sample review to show me you can write. If you want an added incentive, it can also be good for your CV.

Look up the Review Guidelines by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_reviews.php”></a> with a press of a mouse button.


We always have an interest in running short stories which can be anything from one to thirty or so pages long. We’re always willing to give short story writers a chance to be seen if they can withstand my scrutiny even if we can’t pay for their efforts, your material will be seen by a lot of people if it’s shown on the SFCrownest website. If you can get a short story written well then it’ll make it easier to move up to novel-length.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse.


We’ve also a teaching ground of one page stories, so check out the rules elsewhere on the website. It’s a lot tougher than it looks and far too easy to just write and write and hope something good comes out of it. What writing a one page story does is test your ability to control your word count and still tell a story in a concise way. This doesn’t mean we don’t accept stories of different lengths – a short story can be anything up to 30-40 pages long after all – but opens up the means for really short stories from ideas that don’t need as much space.

Flash fiction stories by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_flashfic.php”></a> with your mouse.


For those keeping track, I’m actually now caught up but don’t tell everyone as I’m undecided as to whether to keep looking at novel-length story samples, move over specifically to short stories – which we do anyway for the website – or get a couple of my own book projects completed. The latter, I still intend to do anyway and now actually working on but don’t let that put you off too much. If you want me to look over a sample, you can contact me through the links on this website.

Before you submit, study the next section below as it’s there to help you do some of the right things and reduce the number of times I’m repeating myself over silly grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that you shouldn’t be making if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It makes editing a lot easier if any editor has less work pointing out poor English which you should have been sorted out in the first place and more focused on other areas of your work that deal with plot and the other serious elements of storywriting. As a writer, it is your command of the English language and its grammar that will show how serious you are about writing.

There might not be much of a wait unless I get a deluge, however those sending in ebook samples, please read the Guidelines by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse here or through the bottom line menu on the opening page of the SFC website.


General advice for those who want to become writers of any sort: There’s an old editorial adage: If you can’t aim for perfection why should an editor nurse-maid you to that state? Nominally, my job is to catch minor glitches not total mishaps. If you’re a writer, then you should understand the words, sentences and grammar of the job you’re supposed to be writing or are you considering it as mundane and boring as any other job to get right? Fall in love with making every sentence the best you’re ever written, read up and understand the rules of grammar. Put the time in researching any subject you’re using in the story. Be prepared to put a story away for a few weeks and go back to it for a self-edit until it’s as good as you can make it. Even I do that. You look good. I make you look better but you have to start off with good.

A lot of the time, errors will just stare you in the face when you didn’t see them the first time round. Once you know where your weaknesses are, they can be sorted out and allow you to move a little higher up the ladder towards making your material look its best and more importantly, getting your material seen by readers.

The link here will show you the Common Problems Link page and what I see mostly <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_commonprobs.php”></a>

with your mouse. It’s the smart writer who doesn’t get caught out with these.

Good luck.


Category: World getting weirder


About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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