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What if you could live forever? {Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Tour!}

Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary

What if you could live forever?

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting, the lovely folks at Macmillan have asked me to muse on the question of what if you really could drink from a secret spring and become immortal! My first instinct was of course “Omg yes then I could read ALL THE BOOKS.” However, this question kept rattling around in my head and my memories from reading Tuck Everlasting in school drifted back to the surface. This of course is a question that is addressed often in speculative fiction and most of the time the answer seems to always come back to “Well, there are some major downsides that kind of balance out the upsides soooooo…. maybe?” And then my thoughts started to get pretty deep, so this discussion is actually going to end up being a bit deeper than expected, you’ve been warned ;-).

Want to buy the gorgeous 40th Anniversary edition? Go to Macmillan’s page to buy it straight from them :D.

All the books!Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniv Cover Image

More and more I’m realizing that I have no chance of reading all the books that come out, or even all the books that I’m a bit interested in, since there are so so many. And assuming that publishing doesn’t go out of business anytime soon, being immortal wouldn’t really help that problem ;-). Therefore, I am discarding my original reaction of wanting to live forever in order to read all the books on my lists, ha.

Death isn’t that scary

A lot of plots seem to revolve around the idea that someone wants to escape death because they fear it or just really don’t want to die. I’ve never been in a near-death situation, so I of course can’t say what I’d actually feel when truly confronted by mortality, but I have to admit that the idea of dying someday at a ripe old age having lived a full life doesn’t really scare me at all. I already feel like I’ve lived a pretty awesome life and have made at least a bit of a contribution to the world. Obviously all things considered I’d like to go on having fun and doing productive things, but I try to live without regrets or things hanging over my head, so I’m not worried about things left undone.

Science!

What really gets me leaning towards the side of drinking from the spring is wanting to see what amazing discoveries will come next. Being a scientist kind of requires a thirst for knowledge and endless curiosity. This means for me that the idea of not getting to see what amazing things humankind discovers and creates pains me greatly. We’ve already made such insane leaps of discovery just in my lifetime and things will continue to increase until something really big happens, good or bad. My life these days is devoted to finding the unanswered questions and trying to answer small parts of them, so I really really really want to know what the full answer is darn it! Also I want to be alive to see the discovery of life on other planets >.>.

The problem, of course, of not aging is that you have to hide, and that is going to be more and more difficult in the US at least given the direction technology and policy is going… so it’d be really interesting to see a rehash of Tuck Everlasting in today’s technological age! Man, they would have a hard time…. So I think I’ll decide not to drink despite the temptation because I really don’t want to turn into a science experiment myself D:

Would you want to live forever? What tempts you to immortality? Keep the conversation going with #Tuck40th on Twitter :D.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. NOPE. I would not want to just because I’m scared to see how the Earth will turn out, because the future looks a little bleak. And also like you said, there’s no way I would be able to hide my immortality. Not in this day and age. Also, I’m not afraid of death, but I’m kind of afraid of the pain of it. Can I just die in my sleep when I’m old? That would be painless, right?
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    • Agreed, the future is looking really bleak. Like I have this rant I give to people when they think things aren’t so bad and it involves lots of flailing and saying that we basically screwed at this point unless we invent something stellar. I am right there with you about dying in your sleep or at least unconscious, ha.

  2. That’s an interesting question! My first thought would be “Of course!”. I’m a science geek, so being able to live to see all the future discoveries is very tempting. You make a very good point though. Hiding or starting over somewhere else every few years would be more and more difficult every time. Not because of any specific governments (although that might be problematic as well), but because you’d have to get a new job every few years and writing a technology proof CV might not be that easy in the future. If that secret spring can’t provide a step by step plan of how to live that inmortal life quietly and out of trouble or I can’t come up with one myself, I’d probably refrain from drinking.
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  3. Honestly, I think it’d be horrible to live forever but if I could, I’d totally spend it holed up in my room eating and reading all the books in the world, hah!

    Great post, Anya <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaMy Profile

  4. Added to the TBR! I can’t believe I still haven’t read this one. I immediately thought heck no, I wouldn’t want to live forever. But yeah, being able to read ALL THE BOOKS would be so amazing. I agree with you, I’m really afraid of dying but I have a fear of what comes afterward. Great post!
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    • Oh man, Aussies have crazy school systems :-P I think a lot of us in the states were forced to read this in middle/high school haha!

  5. I’ve thought about this before actually. And while I’m not afraid of dying, I’ll go when I go… I wouldn’t be adverse to living forever, IF my loved ones did as well. I’ve always thought it might be kind of neat to be a vampire, depending of course, on which fantasy book they’re based on. Anita Blake vampire-verse? Yes please. Twilight-vampire verse? Please shoot me.

    It would be fun to see how things change over the years, have lots of time to read all the books I can, see all the movies/tv shows I want to, travel the world, etc. But watching people I love grow old and die over and over and over again? Not so much.
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  6. I have similar thoughts about death itself not being particularly scary. Dying definitely could be, depending on how it went, but I’ve never been afraid of the not excising part. In the meantime, however, I am more than happy to read all the books I can!

    Immortality without my family and friends isn’t very tempting to me, but your point about seeing what’s ahead for science is an interesting one. Actually, THAT’S almost a scarier thought than being dead! I think that big Something, good or bad, would be one of those times where you’d find out what kind of person you really are. It’s easy to imagine myself as brave and self-sacrificing if I needed to be, but the reality might not be something I want to find out. Like you, I’ve never faced a life-or-death situation, so it’s impossible to know for sure. (Okay, I admit that it does sound a little bit tempting to find out.)

    • That’s a really good point. I also would like to think I’d handle that sort of change well, but it is so hard to know D:

  7. Yes, all the books! I’m always surprised that people in these “Ground-hog Day” type of situations don’t take time to read a hundred books or self-teach themselves ten languages or anything else that no one ever has time for.

    I’ve never read Tuck Everlasting, although I’ve heard of it a bit.

    • Right?? They’re always so concerned about figuring out why it is happening and I’m just like MISSED OPPORTUNITY PEOPLE! Ha

  8. Cool thoughts! I’m probably in the same boat; I can see some upsides to immortality, but I don’t think I’d want it. I’m not really worried about dying. Sure, it would kind of suck right this second, but I’m good to go. Heaven, here we come! ;)
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  9. As weird as it sounds, I’ve never really thought about what I could do if I could live forever. I could write all the books I’ve ever wanted to write, visit all the countries and places I’ve been meaning to see… But I don’t know if I’d want to stick around so long as to see what happens to humanity – or rather, what we end up doing to ourselves.

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