Book Review: Immortality, Inc by Robert Sheckley

Blaine's mind and essence is transported from a car accident in 1958 to 2110 and a new body. He has to survive in a strange future where you are assured entrance to the hereafter, if you can afford to pay the insurance to ensure you are transported to it when you die. People can commit suicide at any time and others decide to go out in a 'glorious' hunt to the death against hired killers. During his stange experiences, Blaine is helped by a ghost, and hunted by a zombie who takes over a body in front of him. The zombie is the remaining soul of the person he killed in the accident which killed him at the start of the story, and he willingly gives up his body for the man.

Although it has various interesting ideas and some nice points of the future, the story is a bit of a hodge-podge plot-wise. When Blaine is first taken to the future he is let loose and ignored by the corporation that grabbed him, the reason for this put down to a change in what the public was interested in. The series of events that Blaine then falls through is rather contrived, but manages to encapsulate a strange culture that is still readable, but shows that this is the future written from a 1950s viewpoint.

Title: Immortality, Inc
Author: Robert Sheckley
Publisher: Legend
ISBN: 0812519310 (Tor Books version)
Published Date: 1959
Pages: 204

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Review by Paul Silver, 1999