A stand-alone thoughtful science fiction book about what could happen if, when, people’s personalities are digitized.
Publication year: 2016
Page count: 248
LiveAfter is a firm that specializes in digitalizing people’s minds. It’s a new concept and technology. So they’re giving incentives for people to sign up and advertising planned benefits even before their programmers make them. Of course, the leaders and investors of the corporation want to make a hefty profit. They’re promising that the digitized people can still interact with their families and friends, and that’s the biggest draw: that death doesn’t separate people anymore.
Thea and Max are a young couple deeply in love. They’re musicians and because they made music for LiveAfter, they got a discount on their digitalization deal. Of course, because they’re young, they don’t think they’ll need it but Thea makes the deal anyway. When she dies is in a fatal accident, it’s up to Max to decide if she’ll be digitized. Max allows it.
At first Thea seems to be almost the same person as before. She can even play the flute and compose. Legislation is changed so that the stored people can vote. Thea hasn’t been politically active before but now she becomes interested in politics. Did she really choosing to change or was is imposed by the firm?
What makes a human… a human? If your memories are altered, are you still the same person? What if your opinions and worldview can be changed against your will? These are all questions explored in this book.
Max and Thea are very sympathetic characters. They both struggle with loss and grief in a very human way. But they’re also intelligent and curious people. Thea’s parents also struggle with their loss. We also see the people on the other side of the conflict: the people running LiveAfter and their affiliates. However, they are left purposefully vague: most of them don’t even have names.
The focus is on Thea, Max, and their friends.
This is a very thought provoking read, as is usual for Ms. Wyle. Highly recommended.