Review: The Transhumanist Wager ~ Zoltan Istvan

TranshumanistThe novel debuts a challenging original philosophy, which rebuffs modern civilization by inviting the end of the human species—and declaring the onset of something greater.

Set in the present day, the novel tells the story of transhumanist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. Fighting against him are fanatical religious groups, economically depressed governments, and mystic Zoe Bach: a dazzling trauma surgeon and the love of his life, whose belief in spirituality and the afterlife is absolute. Exiled from America and reeling from personal tragedy, Knights forges a new nation of willing scientists on the world’s largest seasteading project, Transhumania. When the world declares war against the floating city, demanding an end to its renegade and godless transhuman experiments and ambitions, Knights strikes back, leaving the planet forever changed.

3 Thumbs-UpI didn’t love this book but then again I didn’t hate it; it was a book that made me think and one that I will probably re-read as I felt, by the time I finished it that there may have been some points that were made I had missed.

Because of the nature of this particular book, it is almost impossible to write a critique of all the usual things I do when writing a review; plus this is the kind of book that everyone could read and still not see the things in it others do.  If you do decide to give this book a read, do not go into it with any expectations as you may be disappointed.

This is a book that will ultimately challenge the readers cultural beliefs about life and everything connected with it and, unless you are a transhumanist yourself this can prove to be very daunting.  However, this is not a bad thing as too many books do not challenge their readers to think anymore; and ultimately this is a book full of ideas.  And to me, this is where it met its downfall; it is so full of ideas that, at times, it began to read like a thesis and not a novel.  The content, and the driving forces behind the characters in the book need to have such close attention paid to them, that it was not the kind of book I could read while waiting in line or at an appointment; not even the kind I could read during my lunch hour at work, it demands the readers full attention to wholly grasp what it is saying.

If you enjoy reading books by Ayn Rand you would most likely enjoy this read too.  If this is your first journey into the subject of transhumanism, I would probably recommend something a little less weighty.  I may edit this review after a second read through, but at the time of this posting I stand by my comments.

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5 thoughts on “Review: The Transhumanist Wager ~ Zoltan Istvan

  1. I have to say, it sounds ponderous, but at the same time, your review makes me curious about it. I’ll probably see if our library carries it and read it.

  2. I agree with much of your review, Cate. It is a probably a bit “weighty” for someone new to the concepts of transhumanism; hell, I thought I was well educated in such things until I read the book…lol.

    I agree, too, that there are passages where Jeremy and the Reverend (equally fanatic at opposite ends of the spectrum) get on a didactic soapbox that never seems to end. However, by sticking with it (and no, you can’t do that on your lunch hour) there’s a ton of food for thought.

    I don’t agree with some of the concepts that were formulated and expressed regarding the full extent of transhumanism; but, again the differences in extreme ideologies, the reaction of the world to a separate, transhumanist nation and effect that Zoe had on Jeremy, demonstrate a level of verisimilitude not often seen in a novel. The story also digs deeply into the influence that religion and corporatism can have on politics. This part of the story seemed to be exactly what’s happening in America today, and I totally associated with that.

    Regardless, your reviews, as usual, are unequaled in their precise preservation of equality, unbiased thinking and thoughtfulness. This was a prime example of those characteristics, that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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