A breakthrough in longevity: what if Covid-19 triggered a massive medical advance enabling people to live forever? What would happen next?
Depths and layers
A wise man was reading my thriller Corona Crime
. He said “this is a book about the impact on society of a breakthrough in longevity. How can you get to the depths and layers of Coronatime
to draw readers in?”
Depths and layers. It’s true.
Corona Crime kicks off in Santa Monica, CA
A standard thriller?
On the surface, Corona Crime is a standard thriller about a detective who is framed for the murders of 10,290 mothers, babies, medical staff and visiting family members in a Santa Monica neonatal unit and has to prove his innocence.
The background is Coronatime – a life-exchange fluid of which one gram equals one year. Great news, right? No-one ever need be poor again – in theory.
If you’re short of cash you can sell some of your life expectancy to someone else. Ditto, the rich need never die – provided they can keep producing enough wealth to buy Coronatime to become immortal.
A breakthrough in longevity
The world of Corona Crime
is hyper-capitalist. But unlike pale imitations such as the movie In Time
(good premise, poorly executed) people don’t go on behaving as if the rest of the world were unchanged.
In Corona Crime, although things look familiar, everything is different. That change is encapsulated in the opening quote by Steve Jobs: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life”.
When I first read that quote, I wondered if Steve Jobs had read Corona Crime himself.
“Corona Crime” explains the meaning of life
Here are 7 ways Corona Crime explains the meaning of life.
You’re immortal. What next?
1. Supposing you learned that, although apparently in perfect physical health, you only had another six months to live. You’d be motivated to live those six months to the full, right? Travel. Write your novel. Make love.
You’d want to live even more intensively if you only had six weeks. Or six days. Or six hours.
But suppose you discovered that, through a genetic accident or the invention of Coronatime, you were able to live indefinitely.
What would be the hurry to do anything? How would you motivate yourself to stay creative? How long would you want to remain in a relationship with the same person?
Hence the quotation at the start of Chapter 21: Over 400? Can’t remember your childhood or your first wife? Call Memory ServicesTM for an update!
What if a political group thought a breakthrough in longevity was a bad idea?
2. That’s why in Corona Crime, the One Life movement has sprung up. One Lifers argue that consumption of Biotime destroys creativity; and insist on dying at the end of their natural lifespan.
In Corona Crime, all rock musicians and the best bankers are One Lifers.
That is why the One Life Trust in Grassy Butte, North Dakota is not only the financial institution which made most money from the abolition of the cash dollar; but has a policy of playing rock in the banking hall at ear-bleeding volume.
That is why the One Life Army, with its pledge to destroy what it terms the Corona Crime Oppression, is the most feared and mysterious terrorist organisation in the world – more frightening even than the Orissan Barefoot Army or the British Government in Exile.
Are creativity and longevity related?
3. Just how are creativity and mortality related?
Would the immortal rich have children if they knew they had to age nine months to do it? How would teenagers feel about having to spend the years 15-18 unconscious, contributing Coronatime, in order to have the right to consume a product which meant they never had to age a day after their 18th birthday?
Might their parents welcome their absence?
Would immortality destroy society?
4. Most important: if some people are immortal, what is the impact on society? Corona Crime explores that question. Society has been pretty much destroyed.
But why should a breakthrough in longevity destroy society? Read on.
Inspired by masters of speculative fiction
5. Corona Crime
is speculative fiction: not in the spaceships and time machines mode of the wonderful Isaac Asimov
but in the dark, why-we-should-worry-where-we’re-heading tradition of George Orwell
– with a hint of the late lamented Sir Terry Pratchett
and an occasional nod towards the equally late lamented Douglas Adams
(check out his argument about a sentient puddle at the link).
Longevity and a world out of control
6. You may think our present world is out of control. Wait until you encounter Coronatime.
Longevity and the meaning of life
7. Eventually, 80% through the book, the meaning of life
will begin to emerge. Two clues: “Come celebrate with us”. And “The Kiss”. You can see them brought together in Vienna – the wonderful, beguiling city of Freud, Klimt and Mozart where CoronaCrime
reaches its spectacular conclusion.
Do check out my other writing. My most recent books are: Seven Hotel Stories, Blood Summit and Corona Crime. Click on the covers to read more.