Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Jail on Mars

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In last week’s New Yorker, Jill Lepore profiled Robert C. W. Ettinger, 91-year-old leader of the cryonics movement. Here, she describes a science fiction story dreamed up by a young Ettinger while in the hospital recovering from World War II wounds, and published in 1948. The protagonist is H. D. Haworth, a 92-year-old who’s paid “a brilliant young scientist” to freeze his aged body in a refrigerator:

Three centuries later, he awakens, naked, in a room with a beautiful woman doctor, and observes that he is young, strong, and to his astonished delight, ready: “A long-forgotten stimulus performed its ancient function.” Unfortunately, things don’t turn out as well as he had hoped. Word had got out, and everybody had started going into the “freezatoria.” In the absence of any expectation of Heaven, people had begun behaving very badly. Scientists had therefore invented the Farbenstein Probe, to find out if a Sleeper had ever sinned; after scanning Haworth’s brain, the Probe sentences him to a penal colony on a planet that used to be called Mars. What do they call it now? he asks. “Now they call it Hell.”

Written by sara

January 25, 2010 at 7:30 am

Posted in Random Asides

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