The Transhumanist Wager – Zoltan Istvan
I recently did an interview with Zoltan Istvan – author of the Transhumanist Wager, which I enjoyed reading very much – It was a fun interview, so have a watch. Also below is an intro to the book, and a short biography.
The Transhumanist Wager
When I set out to write The Transhumanist Wager five years ago, I did not intend it to become an edgy, controversial book. For much of my adult life, I have been a journalist covering environmental, wildlife, and human rights stories. My articles and television episodes—many for the National Geographic Channel—were welcomed in any culture and in any country. My stories were the type that a family could amicably discuss over the dinner table, or watch on television while happily cuddling together on a couch.
Perhaps it was the effect of the war zones I covered as a journalist, but The Transhumanist Wager soon took on much more contentious ideas of human endeavor and culture. For a human being, most conflict zones highlight a simple fact: Once presented with horror and death, one tends to quickly discover degrees of emotion and experience never imagined or thought possible before. For me and the difficult moments that I still vividly remember, those incidents gave me the powerful conviction that human life should be preserved indefinitely, at any cost.
Jethro Knights, the main protagonist in my novel, also realizes this early in his life, after almost stepping on a landmine in a war zone (a similar incident happened to me in Vietnam’s DMZ while filming a story on bomb diggers). The revelation for Jethro is so sharp, so penetrating, so intense that nothing will ever be the same for him again.
It is from this vantage point that The Transhumanist Wager was written. And it is from the landmine experience that Jethro discovers the mortality crisis not only in himself, but in every human being alive.
That crisis takes on the form of a wager—a choice that every human must make in the 21st Century: to die eventually; or to try to live indefinitely. And if we try to live indefinitely, then we should use every tool and resource of science and technology available to us, Jethro insists. And we should do it immediately.
This is the quintessential message of The Transhumanist Wager—as well as my own message to the world as an author and philosopher. A rational and scientific-minded society owes itself the strictest dedication to applying its resources and minds to overcoming that which has been the greatest downfall of our species: our mortality.
Description of The Transhumanist Wager
#1 Philosophy Bestseller on Amazon
#1 Science Fiction Visionary Bestseller on Amazon
Philosopher, entrepreneur, and former National Geographic and New York Times correspondent Zoltan Istvan presents his bestselling visionary novel, The Transhumanist Wager, as a seminal statement of our times.
Scorned by over 500 publishers and literary agents around the world, his indie philosophical thriller has been called “revolutionary” and “socially dangerous” by readers, scholars, and religious authorities. 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 seasteading project, Transhumania. When the world declares war against the floating city, demanding an end to its renegade and godless transhuman experiments and ambitions, Knights strikes back, leaving the planet forever changed.
Zoltan Istvan Biography
Bestselling visionary author Zoltan Istvan, an American-Hungarian, began a solo, multi-year sailing journey around the world at the age of 21. 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 fictional thriller describing apatheist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. The novel was recently a #1 bestseller in Philosophy and Sci-Fi Visionary on Amazon. Zoltan also blogs for Psychology Today and The Huffington Post. You can find him at: