Living Forever
by Jan Fawcett

"Technology can work for good or for evil, but it’s difficult to focus only on creative outcomes while avoiding the destructive possibilities."

Imagine a fused collaboration and complete mind merger between a human and a computer. When Dr. Ian Farrell is diagnosed with cancer, he is given the opportunity to alter the evolution of humankind and live forever by transferring his consciousness to a microchip. Once complete, this techno-version of Dr. Farrell, renamed Sunyata, is used by the military to stop terrorist attacks. But as with most scientific progress, there are unintended consequences and surprising opportunities for advancement as well as destruction and moral ambiguity.

Like most writers of science fiction, Fawcett uses the story of Dr. Farrell and the supercomputer he is paired with to contemplate possible futures arising from mankind’s use of technology. The author engages the reader with deep philosophical arguments about scientific discovery and progress which once unleashed can be difficult to control. Fawcett writes a well-rounded story that doesn’t rely on characterizing scientific advancement as hero or villain. Some characters and plot developments lead to a techno-optimistic view while others lead to cynicism and demand restraint and reflection over how the technology will be used. This holistic view allows the reader to speculate alongside the scientists, soldiers, and philosophers to see all the possibilities for a future in which technology and the human brain may be seamlessly connected.

Fawcett’s emphasis is definitely on contemplation rather than thrills as Dr. Farrell and the neuroscientist who created the technology begin to question how it will be used. As they plot behind the backs of the no-nonsense military men who believe the end justifies the means, the heroics are also more cerebral than action-packed. The author’s book should appeal to those with a bent toward thought-provoking storylines.

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