Friday, January 19, 2007
'Credibility is an expanding field...,' wrote Tom Stoppard in Jumpers, '...Sheer disbelief hardly registers on the face before the head is nodding with all the wisdom of instant hindsight.' Conversations about my book - the most recent being Nightwaves last night on Radio 3 - always start from a position of rank incredulity that the technology to extend our lives is ever going to happen. 'This is all science fiction,' people routinely say. In fact, bits of the technology are falling into place every day. Here, for example, I read of the development of a 'microbot', a tiny machine with a propeller which will fly through the veins and arteries in my head. This is not to say that the procedure that will deliver medical immortality is imminent. But it is to say that there is enough going on to convince perfectly sane people that it could be. This is why, I suspect, we shall see more and more people pursuing radical regimes - 250 supplements a day, very low calorie intake, constant monitoring of blood chemistry - intended to keep them alive long enough to benefit from immortalising technology. To die the day before it arrived, as one scientist put it to me 'would suck'. Meanwhile, sheer vanity demands that I draw your attention to the lead review in The Spectator this week. William Leith is a man of depth, wisdom and extraordinarily refined judgment. The only words I object to in his article are 'at times' in that first paragraph.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:03 am