I recently read Drew Magary's parenting memoir Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood, and really enjoyed it. He was a new author to me, but I noticed he was also the author of a novel titled The Postmortal. Well, why not, I thought.
It was a great read. I even read it while waiting around in a doctor's office for a routine check-up, and it kept me totally occupied. Any book that can take my mind off being in a doctor's waiting room, well, even if it's not a perfect book, I call that a good book.
The concept is simple. Sometime in the near future, a "cure" for aging is stumbled upon, and, although it at first it is only available to a lucky few, eventually it ends up being used by everyone. So, when you've got a population of people who aren't aging and aren't dying, what does that do to them? Their relationships? The earth and its resources?
The book is written in the format of one man's diary of the experience*, and although it starts out almost lighthearted, it gets steadily more unsettling. For instance, when the narrator (John Farrell) visits his sister, he asks whether she or her husband will be getting the cure:
"'So you're never going to get it? And you'll never let Mark get it?'
She let out a low groan. 'I have no idea. I really don't. I'm guessing there will be a point when it's legal and everyone has it and I feel obligated to get it too. I was like that with cell phones. I was easily the last of my friends to get one. Everyone else had one. And there I was, outside school at some disgusting pay phone that didn't even work. Now, of course, I have one and I'll never go back. That's how I am. I usually have to be dragged into things. I know it's probably inevitable that I'll get the cure and that we'll all get it. It's just gonna be something you do. But it opens up all sorts of odd questions that I don't want to deal with right now. I mean, what happens to Mark and me?'" (p. 58.)
I really enjoy Drew Magary's writing, fiction and non. He's got some interesting ideas (in this book, his narrator is a lawyer, and comes up with the idea of "cycle marriages," that last for forty years or so, because nobody wants to be married for all time) and although his books aren't perfect, they move right along.