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The Transhumanist Wager (English Edition)
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The Transhumanist Wager (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Zoltan Istvan
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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"WINNER" Fiction Visionary - International Book Awards

Zoltan Istvan is the founder of political organization the "Transhumanist Party" and is its 2016 US presidential candidate.

Leading futurist, philosopher, and former National Geographic journalist Zoltan Istvan presents his award-winning, bestselling visionary novel, The Transhumanist Wager, as a seminal statement of our times.

His philosophical thriller has been called "revolutionary," "life-changing," and "a masterpiece" by readers, scholars, and critics. The novel debuts a challenging original philosophy, which rebuffs modern civilization by inviting the end of the human species--and declaring the onset of something greater.

Set in the present day, the novel tells the story of transhumanist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. Fighting against him are fanatical religious groups, economically depressed governments, and mystic Zoe Bach: a dazzling trauma surgeon and the love of his life, whose belief in spirituality and the afterlife is absolute. Exiled from America and reeling from personal tragedy, Knights forges a new nation of willing scientists on the world's largest seastead, Transhumania. When the world declares war against the floating libertarian city, demanding an end to its renegade and godless transhuman experiments and ambitions, Knights strikes back, leaving the planet forever changed.

Praise for Zoltan Istvan's writing and work:

"Congratulations on an excellent story--really well written, concise, and elegant." (Editor, National Geographic News Service)

"Istvan is among the correspondents I value most for his...courage." (Senior Editor, The New York Times Syndicate)

Biographie de l'auteur

At the age of 21, American-Hungarian Zoltan Istvan began a solo, multi-year sailing journey around the world. His main cargo was 500 handpicked books, mostly classics. He's explored over 100 countries—many as a journalist for the National Geographic Channel—writing, filming, and appearing in dozens of television stories, articles, and webcasts. His work has also been featured by The New York Times Syndicate, Outside, San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Radio, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, Animal Planet, and the Travel Channel. In addition to his award-winning coverage of the war in Kashmir, he gained worldwide attention for pioneering and popularizing the extreme sport of volcano boarding. Zoltan later became a director for the international conservation group WildAid, leading armed patrol units to stop the billion-dollar illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia. Back in America, he started various successful businesses, from real estate development to filmmaking to viticulture, joining them under ZI Ventures. He is a philosophy and religious studies graduate of Columbia University and resides in San Francisco with his daughter and physician wife. Zoltan recently published The Transhumanist Wager, a visionary novel describing apatheist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
Thought provoking, even if perhaps idealistic scenario given double edged view on some of the technological advances. Challenges the "cultural baggage" of humanity and challenges society faces and will increasingly face touching social, political, technological, biological, ethical, etc... aspects where science and technological advances challenge the societal balance, even via dictatorial approach to drag humanity toward transhumanist future.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Rapport qualité prix incomparable 30 juillet 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Un must have dans sa bibliothèque avec un prix défiant toute concurrence. A posséder pour tous les amoureux de la littérature !
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  336 commentaires
139 internautes sur 173 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 So bad it makes me hate transhumanism 28 janvier 2014
Par Michael S. Valentine - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is the worst book I've ever read; to address what is wrong with it in full would take more space than the book itself, so I'll just hit the highlights.

First, it's a transparent plagiarism of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, starring Howard Roark and John Galt as Jethro Knights, Ellsworth Toohey as Reverend Belinas, and Peter Keating as Gregory Michaelson. In an interview on Patheos, Mr. Istvan states that, had he gone through a publishing house, “It would be difficult to get a story like The Transhumanist Wager past the lawyers...” Probably so, Mr. Istvan had better hope that Ayn Rand's estate doesn't get wind of this book.

While we're on Ayn Rand, it's fair to mention that, while she liked her Mary Sues, Jethro Knights (yes, Knights, plural. There's also a Dr. Whalefish and Mexican gentleman named Katril Bentoven) leaves all of her supermen in the dust. A college philosophy major, he's able to spend a mere four weeks in the library, plus some time chatting up an old sailor, and design a thirty five foot yacht which is capable of being sailed round the world, weathering a typhoon, and even being flipped by a 70 foot tall rogue wave, all because he, and he alone, with no help, welded it together from “six thousand dollars of rusty recycled steel”. He's also an incredible coder, capable of creating “dozens” of web pages in a four week stretch while simultaneously adding his organization to all the local phone books and internet search engines. He's largely immune from explosions. His senior thesis, which, incidentally, is the first thing his program allows him to write on his own, is so compelling it eventually forms the basis of a worldwide utopia. He's an amazing explorer who is able to discover uncontacted tribes in strange lands in a matter of days and achieve rapport with the Japanese “Samaria” clans.

Samaria? Samurai, I guess. Mr. Istvan's command of vocabulary is not as impressive as his hero's command of, well, everything. In the above mentioned interview, he admits to not having had an editor, and opines that his book is more “indie” and “raw” because of it. True, very true. He throws words around without really seeming to know what they mean, based on similarities of sounds or collocations that he's heard before. One of the characters has “Arian” looks, there are those Japanese “Samaria,” there's a guy who is a “nationalized” American citizen, and his fighting robot comes equipped with a “canon.” His dictator announces that ignorance “is...a crime that will be punishable by excessive fines...” There are quantum thoughts and clairvoyant Zen bombs, “ethnic and religious imperatives,” plus the assurance that transhumanists “don't hinder ethnic or religious people from reaching their supposed immortality.”

Wait, ethnic people? Is that like that Mexican who became a “nationalized citizen”? Or perhaps the “drug induced shamans” that pop up later are ethnic people, I'm not sure. Perhaps the people that issued the “three million dollar fatwa” could help me out, they could fly over in a “megasonic airplane.” I'm “ghostly serious” here, “the muse on the transhuman city [would be] festive” if I could only understand what Mr. Istvan thinks he's trying to say.

And then there's the elephant, or elephants, or over a thousand elephants, in the room. Transhumanism. Yes, the book is called The Transhumanist Wager, and yes, it is about transhumanism, so we can expect that the word will pop up fairly often. According to my Kindle Reader for the iPad, the word “transhuman” or one of its variants (transhuman, transhumanist, transhumanism, and Transhumania, the name of his utopia) occurs 1,189 times. In 298 pages. That's almost four times per page. I'm so sick of that damn word that I'm about ready to take up homeopathy just to not have to read it again. For all that, for the first two-thirds of the book or so, he rarely touches on what transhumanism is, or why it's a good thing, it's just something the bad guys hate for religious reasons, and the good guys love because, well, transhumanism.

Every time the book mentions something factual, it merely exposes the author's ignorance. I suppose you could defend some things by saying that it takes place in an alternate reality very similar to our own, but the ideas that a “Presidential seal” is some sort of legal trump card, or that people who wish to remain anonymous are allowed to simply not put license plates on their cars, are just ludicrous. His understanding of the military is confused at best; in his world a fifth of the United States' active military is stationed in Washington, D.C., to protect it from a terrorist attack. His modern naval engagement takes place at a distance of 20 miles. The concept of money in the book has its own idiosyncrasies. In order to carry out an assassination, a $50,000 bribe is necessary to induce a couple of maintenance men to allow entrance to a conference hall. On the other hand, Jethro Knights is able to build a floating island with the most modern facilities for 10,000 scientists and their families (let's say 30,000 people) for a mere 5 billion dollars. There are to be three main towers, one of them fifty-two stories high, the second sixty-six, and the third eighty stories. In the real world, One World Trade Center is going to cost about $4bn dollars, and it doesn't have to float.

The budget for this undertaking comes from a ten billion dollar donation from an oil magnate, which is divided, more or less, as follows:
Cost of construction: $5bn
Defense budget: “one third of his ten billion dollar budget”: $3.3bn
Recruitment bonuses for the scientists: $1m dollars each x 10,000 scientists= $10bn

So we're at $18bn plus now. To be fair, he does mention that there were other donors, and that the scientists, once recruited, were encourage to buy, rather than rent, in order to bring some of their bonus money back into the budget, but the math is still pretty shaky.

In the end, Knights becomes dictator of the world (seriously, he does) by, like a malevolent Santa Claus, destroying all the major religious and political buildings in the world (including that navel of power and influence, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo), all in one night. Then he finally delivers his “This is John Galt” speech, but by that time, I was so tired that I was just skimming. And skimming. And skimming. For fifteen pages. Pretty sure most of it was cribbed from Rand, but I could be wrong, like I said, I was skimming.

I too could go on and on, but I'm tired. Don't read this book. Don't waste your time or your money. I never thought I'd say this, but if you'd like to read a much better work, I'd recommend either “The Fountainhead,” or “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. You'll get most of the same ideas, but in a much more fluid and readable form. Yes, this makes Ayn Rand look fluid.

One final quote, the best lines in the book, delivered by the hero's hostile philosophy teacher, Prof. Rindall, serves quite well as a review of the whole book:

“[T]his rant of a thesis, this is not philosophy. Maybe, this is art. No, not even art. This is science fiction. Bad science fiction. B-rated science fiction.”
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Most Thought-Provoking Story.... 15 juin 2014
Par Angel - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Refreshingly thought-provoking, The Transhumanist Wager tells the tale of Jethro Knights, a defiant young man with great ambition and determination. He envisions a world where humans are replaced by transhumans (super humans, in effect, able to live longer, healthier, higher-quality lives). During his final year at the university, Jethro writes a senior thesis describing a radical new philosophy he calls TEF--Teleological Egocentric Functionalism. Basically, he urges people to work tirelessly toward scientific advancement so that they will ultimately achieve immortality. Jethro becomes an omnipotender, an individual who strives for as much power as possible and surpasses biological limitations to evolve into an indestructible life form.

Needless to say, Jethro's vision is highly criticized as insane, immoral and evil, particularly by Reverand Belinas, the Christian leader of the powerful Redeem Church in America. With a vast following and strong ties to government and financial leaders, Belinas is an influential man who declares a war against Jethro and the Transhumanist movement.

Terrorist attacks, at the behest of the "righteous" Reverand Belinas, ultimately cause Jethro and thousands of other loyal Transhumanists to leave America for life in Transhumania, a seastead (floating community) where scientists, futurists and technologists can conduct unhindered research in state-of-the-art laboratories.

With so many brilliant scientists concentrated in one isolated place, not subject to any scrutiny or regulations, leaders of advanced nations begin to grow concerned about the possibility that they will acquire greater nuclear capabilities. These new Transhumanians just want to be left in peace so that they can work on defying death and attaining immortality. But eventually, ultimatums force them into action and the entire world is crippled by their powerful display of technological advances. A new era of mankind begins...the evolution of the human race.

This book will have you philosophically questioning what it means to be human and pondering your perspectives on science and religion, morality and the lack thereof, freedom versus oppression and even good versus evil.

Though I may not completely embrace and agree with the Transhumanist ideology, I did enjoy reading this engaging novel and learning about a movement I had no knowledge of heretofore. I think the visions and aspirations of Transhumanists are impressive and worthy of pursuit but their goals should not be realized at the expense of innocent lives and the annihilation of basic human rights, at least in my humble opinion....
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must read for transhumanists 17 juillet 2014
Par Martin Dinov - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading the book. I was told that I should read the book - and I'm glad I listened. As an aspiring transhumanist the book has reaffirmed, refreshed and strengthened some of my core beliefs and principles. All of this while being a digital page-turner. This was a story that made me stay up at night to read more of it!
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A thought provoking glimpse into future possibilities. 16 avril 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Zoltan Istvan has crafted a thrilling work of science- fiction that provides insights into what could become future science-fact. In reality, our species is at a turning point right now... marvelous new technologies brought on by scientific thought have the potential to provide for an unprecedented level of abundance and an incredible standard of living. The Transhumanist Wager examines this fork in the road we as a species currently find ourselves at by telling the story of protagonist Jethro Knights, a driven transhumanist philosopher intent on doing everything he can to gain power and live forever, becoming an "Omnipotender". The obstacles he faces in his struggle to forge a new world based on reason and science are the same struggles that hinder the movers and shakers in our reality; namely, archaic conservative institutions of government, religion, and culture, that hinder progress by instilling fear in the populace.

The story is packed with insight into the workings of corrupt institutions and the thoughts of the people that populate them. It also provides a vision of the antithesis of these corrupt institutions: Educated peoples working together towards a shared goal. The novel has a great deal of action, adventure, and intriguing philosophy to keep you turning the pages. I finished it in two nights of nonstop reading. It's inspired me to keep working to become a more valuable individual, and so I'd give it 5 stars, despite some minor differences in my personal philosophy and politics.

I would (and have) recommend it to friends, and am happy to have read the book.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Radical, but you will love it 13 juin 2013
Par Dr. GA-2075 - Publié sur
This is the best book I read in the last year.
I like that it is radical, that it is thought provoking.
Others commented that they didn't like to read about the death of a woman or the unborn baby,
but you know what. As terrible as they are, these will be imprinted into your mind for long.
That mental pictures are what makes a book memorable.

It was very brave of you to write this book about transhumanism in this style. Nobody before you dared it.
Please, Zoltan, write more books!
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