How Would It Feel to Live Forever?

Author Marries Science Fact to Science Fiction

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwire - January 20, 2011) - They froze the frog, and it lived. And they hope one day they can do the same to a human.

The fact is, they knew it would because this species of wood frog lives in the abject cold, and it has evolved to be able to endure extreme weather to such a point that if it is frozen solid, properties in its blood stream will enable its cells to stay alive even after a deep freeze.

Scientists have been studying these frogs in hopes that they can provide the answers necessary to allow doctors to freeze human organs for transplant, or even further, cryogenically freeze living people to awaken them at a later date.

The moral, philosophical, and economic questions of cryogenic stasis for humans are vast, and few are better to speculate about them than Lois McMaster Bujold, author of the novel "Cryoburn" (, which chronicles how these questions are addressed in an otherworldly futuristic society.

"It's the old consumer marketing quandary," she said. "If something really could give people a second lease on life, then almost everyone would want to do it. Well, what if they did? What happens to a society in which people can cheat death by simply freezing themselves until a cure for whatever disease they have is discovered? And further, what if the practice becomes so commonplace that the people who decide to go into stasis begin to vastly outnumber the living who must care for them? What happens to population control, the generational tug-of-war over natural resources, and the problem of awakening decades later without a grasp of the changes that took place while you were frozen?"

Should we worry about how cryogenic technology could change our lives?

"I still don't see practical cryonics happening in my lifetime -- but about technological change in general, I say bring it on," she added. "We'll muddle through somehow, keeping what works and discarding the false starts."

About Lois Bujold

Lois Bujold is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the prestigious Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein's record.

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Russ Handler