Linda Nagata
Tech-Heaven (1995)
Reviewed: 2003-03-01

When Tom Kishida is mortally injured in an accident, his wife Katie invokes their contract with Forward Futures (a thinly veiled Alcor) and has her husband placed in cryonic suspension, causing bitter controversy within and without the family. Starting from our present, the story follows the years and eventually decades of Katie's struggle to bring Tom back to life. At every step she is opposed by conservative forces, friends, politicians and society, by law and terrorism, but she can also draw on the support of sympathizers. Meanwhile, the life sciences, biotechnolgy, and eventually molecular nanotechnology are rushing ahead, increasingly turning the prospect of a cryo patient's resuscitation from hypothetical to practical.

Tech-Heaven paints a plausible view of the future—which is not the same as a prediction, I should note—a slow transformation of the world as technological progress leaves its marks, imperceptible at any given moment, but grinding away year after year, tiny changes accumulating into revolutions. Terrorism rises; the nation states crumble, displaced by NGOs that eventually turn into new nations themselves; telecommunications, broadcast media, and the Internet coalesce into a virtual reality network; the road to space opens...

However, above all, Tech-Heaven is an intensely personal story. We are privy to all of Katie's pains, doubts, and hopes, her most intimate thoughts, her irrationalities. She must cope with Tom's loss and radical opposition to his suspension and resuscitation; she must come to terms with her new existence, the prospect of a new man in her life, and a very uncertain future. The author conveys all of this very well. Katie Kishida may not stand out as all that likable, but she does come across as a lifelike person. Accompanying her, we also observe a handful of friends and family members whose paths diverge and dramatically intersect over the years, again in a very lifelike manner, all wrapped up in unspectacular but solid storytelling.

This should be the cult novel of the cryonics movement.

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