Why do I Read this Stuff?


A few weeks ago I discovered a bestseller, The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan, and I bought it on my Kindle right away. My excitement built as I read reviews and learned a bit about the author. The book had been rejected by over 400 publishers. I didn’t know that many publishers existed. Of course, I’ve been rejected by a few myself, but I think I’d give up after the 399th time.
But this author, who by the way is much smarter and more qualified than me to write about transhumanism, went the self-pub route. And now he has a bestseller. Gotta love Amazon.
So, I started reading the book and I figured maybe the guy hadn’t been to a writing conference or read anything about how to write commercial fiction. But does it matter? He has a bestseller. I kept reading. Um, the writers I hang with don’t use that kind of language. My editor took the word heck out of Wake the Dead. But I kept reading. Hey, I was taught not to use a novel as a platform to preach. There are all kinds of messages that can be preached by a fictitious character. The protagonist of this story lays it on thick. His message to the reader is that the world needs to lay aside all religious belief, all political systems, all societal restraints on becoming eternal by the works of our own hands. In other words, we need to become a transhuman race.
Maybe Mr. Istvan doesn’t really want that for his world, but I got the impression he does. For his world and for my world too.
I wrote about some of the same stuff—the New World Order is alive and well in Wake the Dead. The difference is my book shows another side of Utopia and a different ideology regarding the real hope for our world.
Did I finish The Tranhumanist Wager? Of course. Did I like it? Once I got used to the omniscient narrative, sure I did. I gave it four stars on Amazon. Do I recommend it? Well, can you endure page after page of speeches written to bring you on board the train to Tranhumania? (Actually, it’s on an island so you can’t get there on a train.) Can you deal with a main character who doesn’t ever convince you that he’s the good guy, and yet you find yourself rooting for him in the end? (Made me kind of queasy.) Are you easily offended or do you faint at the sight of the F word? (I can tolerate it when it’s not used in casual conversation, and it isn’t in this book.) Are you compelled to read other books written on the same subject as your upcoming novel? (You’re probably aren’t.)
For most of my friends and readers, I can’t say it’s on my recommended reading list. If you’ve got the stomach for it, go ahead. Remember it’s just fiction, but when you’re done say a prayer for our future. May we meet it with grace.

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