Robert Pimm

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Red London buses and the meaning of life

We all have a limited number of years, months, weeks and days to live.

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So why should we spend that time waiting for a red London bus?

My recent blog Read this now – before you waste more of your precious life pointed out that most of us feel short of time; and are not sure how to spend what time we have.  I also noted that my novel Biotime (hit link to read) explored 5 ways wealth and creativity can’t mix.

The conclusions of Biotime are good news for poor people.

So where do London buses come in?

One of the weaknesses of much speculative sci-fi – for example, the otherwise not-totally-awful movie In Timeis that although the whole basis of civilisation has changed, people still act the same as in the “real” world.  In Time, for example, features rich people who are effectively immortal unless they suffer injuries or violence.  Yet everyone is still running around with 2015-type guns; driving cars; and engaging in all sorts of dangerous activity.

Huh?

Obviously if you had the prospect of living forever, or if you hoped to sell your remaining life expectancy to someone else in exchange for fabulous riches, you would alter your lifestyle to ensure you wouldn’t come to physical harm.

The police wouldn’t have guns.  They’d be equipped with means of harmlessly disabling people (in Biotime, the hideously scary Big Fright) plus plenty of cling-film and bubble-wrap to try and prevent people harming themselves, or other people.

In Biotime, there hasn’t been a murder in New York City for centuries.  So when someone tries to kill 250,000 people, everyone sits up and takes notice.

Plus: when 250,000 lives are threatened, the value of life goes up.  What kind of perverse incentives does that create for the wealthy?

It life really was money, no-one would be flying in aircraft, or driving cars, or doing anything remotely risky – unless, as in Biotime, you belonged to a cult – the One Lifers – who rejected the whole principle of buying or selling life expectancy and lived only your natural life-span, in the belief that a finite lifetime would enhance your creativity.

Conversely, if you were fabulously rich, and had a shot at immortality, you would be looking for ways to flaunt that wealth.

Which is where London buses come in.

Ever waited for a London bus?  Watch out for the excerpt from Biotime I’ll publish next week.

You can discover how Biotime explores the meaning of life and immortality by clicking on the links above, or best of all by reading the complete first part of the novel on this site.  Enjoy!

And please do let me have your comments, or subscribe to this site, to hear more.

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