Methuselahís Children
by Robert Heinlein

A Prometheus Award winning novel about 100,000 people who were bred for longevity. The kept their longevity secret from the general public and kept in touch with each other through a Family organization. When Earth established a stable republic with a Covenant that guaranteed privacy and other rights, they decided to try outing about 10%. The public reaction was extreme jealousy, which resulted in political action against the long-lived ones to force them to reveal the secret of their long life so others could use it. The long-livers manage to confiscate a space ship, equip it with a newly invented technology, and escape to a planet far away. The planet was inhabited by intelligent beings who welcomed them, but who turned out to be pets of mysterious gods who controlled them. The gods decided that the humans could not be domesticated, so they sent the humans to another planet far, far away. This planet was inhabited by super intelligent beings who were friendly, but who had communal minds. The humans lived on this virtual paradise for a while, but most of them got bored and voted to return to Earth. Upon return to Earth they found it was safe because Earth had discovered how to prolong life and so were no longer jealous of the long-livers and they were eager to learn the technology that allowed the long-livers to travel across the galaxy. Earth was becoming overpopulated and the people were eager to colonize other planets to get some elbow room. The government had instituted birth control.

It is a good story, well told, and it makes some good philosophical points. I donít think it is particularly more libertarian than republican in its political philosophy.

Year Read: 2001


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