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Civilisation goes backwards: welcome to “Eternal Life”

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

Civilisation goes backwards. Could it happen? It has happened many times before.

What if technological innovation was so all-transforming that it led to the collapse of civilisation?

It has happened before.

In recent centuries we’ve got used to the idea that technical innovations – the steam engine, electricity, air travel, antibiotics, contraception, the Internet – mean that “Things can only get better”.

Leigh Turner: Eternal Life coverCivilisation goes backwards

Tell that to the collapsing dregs of the Roman Empire.  Or the Aztecs.

The image of people living in squalor amongst the ruins of magnificent, forgotten civilisations was a staple of romantic travellers in the 19th century.

But what causes the collapse of civilisation?

Suppose it was not an outside shock – the Mongols, say – but a technological change?

Maybe it is happening already.

Perhaps the Internet will destroy civilisation.

A vision of a world where technology is in retreat

In my novel Eternal Life, the invention of the new life exchange fluid Biotime removes the need for anyone to work.  Instead, anyone can sell their life expectancy to the highest bidder.

Poverty is eradicated overnight.

At first it seems that, by transferring life expectancy from the least able to the most talented individuals, society will become more productive.

Eugenics, anyone?

Not exactly.  Biotime involves no force.  Less able members of society are happy to take hard cash for their surplus years – especially if a “termination contract” enables them to enjoy their payment up front, in the prime of life.

Who would say no to that?

Civilisation goes backwards when innovation dies

But what if the richest and most brilliant members of society found that without the spur of mortality to drive them on, their creative juices simply stopped flowing?

Civilisation starts gradually to decline, with shocking results.

Until one day, a humble Biotime enforcement agent realises that the system is rotten from top to bottom.

Welcome to Eternal Life – a sci-fi thriller for a world in the grip of Coronavirus.

P.S. if you’d like to check out Eternal Life or my other writing, have a browse of my own books on this site.

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