World getting weirder

Editorial – November 2018: Seeking The Long Life.

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



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.




Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 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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