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The Transhumanist Wager

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  693 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews

"WINNER" Visionary Fiction - International Book Awards

Zoltan Istvan is founder of political organization the "Transhumanist Party" and is its 2016 presidential candidate.

Leading futurist, philosopher, and former National Geographic journalist Zoltan Istvan presents his award-winning, bestselling visionary novel
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 2nd 2013 by Futurity Imagine Media LLC
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Zoltan Istvan
Feb 14, 2015 Zoltan Istvan rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I realize it's a bit strange for an author to comment or to review his own novel, however, since my fictional thriller involves a storyline that presents an original philosophy, I think a few comments are appropriate.

The first is that I have been carefully thinking about this book for almost 20 years. The second is the amount of hours that went into the actual writing of The Transhumanist Wager: almost 7000 hours.

In short, much effort and care have been put into every sentence. I hope all r
Elling Borgersrud
Aug 26, 2013 Elling Borgersrud rated it it was ok
Kill all extremists!
The science Fictionwriter Robert E. heinlein once had his hero choose between impregnating his own daughter or letting man-kind die out. He choose the humanitarian road, and saved humanity. One can sympathize with his great sacrifice only as long as one does not reflect over the fact that he was placed in the dilemma by the same writer that provided his reflections towards his solution. The incest was not actually the solution to the problem of human extinction, but the other
May 21, 2013 Harald rated it did not like it
Title: Ubiquitous Vacuity Obfuscated
Description: Inconsistant and unconvincing
Addendum: Full blown Hollywood low-budget "love"story


Was asked by Mr. Istvan himself to read this. I was promised a revolutionary novel destined to become an instant cult classic. It was described to me as a philosophical scifi thriller, which would galvanize a new generation of scifi readers. That's a whole lot of fancy words and high praise. As I replied to the author, such an approach, containing said praise, w
May 06, 2014 Rick rated it did not like it
This book is fucking painful to read. I would describe it as Flower For Algernon, as written by an emotionally disturbed 15 year old autist.

Here's an excerpt: transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism transhumanism trans
Angel Gelique
Jun 08, 2014 Angel Gelique rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up....

I finished this book last night but had to gather my thoughts. First, I must say that although I don't completely agree with the philosophy touted by the author, I did enjoy his riveting story.

Refreshingly thought-provoking, The Transhumanist Wager tells the tale of Jethro Knights, a defiant young man with great ambition and determination. He envisions a world where humans are replaced by transhumans (super humans, in effect, able to live longer, healthier, higher-qualit
Michael Valentine
Feb 24, 2014 Michael Valentine rated it did not like it
This is the worst book I've ever read; to address what is wrong with it in full would take more space than the book itself, so I'll just hit the highlights.

First, it's a transparent plagiarism of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, starring Howard Roark and John Galt as Jethro Knights, Ellsworth Toohey as Reverend Belinas, and Peter Keating as Gregory Michaelson. In an interview, Mr. Istvan states that, had he gone through a publishing house, “It would be difficult to get a story li
Wayne Tiller
Apr 05, 2013 Wayne Tiller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Transhumanist Wager" was shocking, compelling, and, above all, fascinating. What other book could introduce the Humanicide Formula and get away with it. If you're into the future or science fiction, then this is a sure hit for you.

However, the book is dark and serious, and at times scary in its implications. The author--a fabulous writer by the way--goes out of his way to make sure the moral conundrums and twists are extreme and in your face. It makes for great, contemplative reading! I ha
Apr 05, 2013 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful, thrilling, provocative novel! Highly original and unlike anything I've come across recently. One is afraid to love or hate the main character. One is afraid to agree or disagree with the book. Is science and technology a liberator or destroyer? The central character of the book, Jethro Knights, tackles all these questions on his quest to achieve immortality. His morality is defined by his needs. The love story rocks too. A solid 5-star book that many will find controversial and ...more
Serge Boivin
Jul 07, 2013 Serge Boivin rated it it was ok
I can hardly imagine a fate worse than living forever and having to listen to Jethro Knights for all that time.

Warning: this review contains major spoilers.

I am giving this book 2 stars because it is a topic that interests me, and the book made me think about it enough to write a lengthy review. However, I found the story itself, and the execution of it very lacking.
I really wanted to like this story. I find the topic very interesting, and I am quite open to discussing it. I was also intrigued
Oct 25, 2013 Miles rated it did not like it
Given that everyone who reads for pleasure more or less self-selects the texts they are going to engage with, I've sometimes wondered how it would be possible for me to read a book that I would consider giving only one star. Not anymore. Zoltan Istvan's The Transhumanist Wager is possibly the worst book I've ever read, and certainly the worst I've come across in years. This piece of neo-liberal, ultra-capitalistic schlock sets a new bar for linguistic ineptitude and intellectual shortsightedness ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Drako rated it it was amazing
Ok, it took me a while to finally get to this book. I can see where controversy would surround it. Transhumanists are a minority, just like any other. The difference is, they're a minority of scientists and philosophers openly admitting to what many wish to achieve, immortality. They want to become immortal. They don't want to die in hopes of some glorious afterlife. They want to extend their lives infinitely. They are mostly met with scorn, especially by America and Judeo-Christian cultures. ...more
May 09, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
This was an excellent read. Not only for it's interesting plot and characters, but for it's delving into the philosophy that could be said to behind some of our most ambitions "near space" sci fi. The whole concept of "transhumanism" is present in many works of scifi today, even if it's not called out by name or expounded upon. This book does an excellent job at looking into some of the root causes and tenants of that concept.

However, at times it's a bit...dense. And wordy. Most times it fits i
Mar 08, 2015 Диана rated it it was amazing
I didn't approach this book with any particularly high expectations. But only a few dozen pages into it and my skepticism that the best-selling action-imbued novel could be quite so penetrating and dense seemed unjustified. One could say that the number of stars I would rate the book increased per the page, as I found myself hooked and unwilling to put the novel down.

At the beginning, the book is that little bit facetious, that little bit unimaginative. The tone is naive and as if designed to im
Nov 13, 2014 Xander rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to the book based on the pedigree of the author and the summary of a story about the evolution of humanity to transhumans.

True to the book humanity does make the transition. However, the the story is caked in poor forced Hollywood cliche's and characters so deeply flawed as to be unbelievable.

The pace of the book is terrible. Most books have a plot curve, I'm sure you all learned it in school. This book doesn't have a curve it has a long torturous slope ending in a lack luster cliff
Tom Beverly
Apr 21, 2013 Tom Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's the best sci-fi book I've read in a long time. This is a profoundly thought provoking book and I would highly recommend it.
Chris Armstrong
Aug 23, 2013 Chris Armstrong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I LOVE this book…

If you want a dispassionate, unbiased, detached, "objective" examination of the book's plot, character development, literary style, form, etc., look elsewhere. I will not give you a synopsis of the plot and describe all the main personalities and relationships between the characters. Many other reviewers have done this already. I AM going to tell you a bit of what I love about the story and characters, but MOSTLY I will help you to modulate your expectations so
Chris Armstrong
Aug 28, 2013 Chris Armstrong rated it it was amazing
An Epic Declaration of Transhumanist Values

Full disclosure: I LOVE this book…

If you want a dispassionate, unbiased, detached, "objective" examination of the book's plot, character development, literary style, form, etc., look elsewhere. I will not give you a synopsis of the plot and describe all the main personalities and relationships between the characters. Many other reviewers have done this already. I AM going to tell you a bit of what I love about the story and characters, but MOSTLY I will
Jan 23, 2014 Lana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zoltan Istvan's book "The Transhumanist Wager" is truly an eye opening book. This books leaves you wanting to know more about transhumanist and gets on to contemplate the plausibility of the new world order. The ideas and general philosophy are worth taking a long hard look at. Two things struck me most about reading this book. One, is religion really in the way of progression or is politics? Second, is Zotan Istvans major reason for writing this book to bring about a philosophical dialogue ...more
Sep 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This story's premise is fairly simple to relate. Jethro Knights is a philosophy educated young man who decides after a sail around the world to challenge society norms like the acceptance of death as an inevitably, religion and/or government's accepted limitations imposed upon scientific experimentation and advancement and even "nice" concepts like equality and the underlying altruistic nature of humans. And he challenges all of these in a huge way by forming a floating city (Transhumania) which ...more
Jay Burton
May 23, 2013 Jay Burton rated it it was amazing
This philosophical sci-fi novel follows Ray Kurzweil's views on Singularity and focuses on the morals of upcoming technologies changing what it means to be traditional humans.

The book follows a transhumanist, Jethro Knights, in his quest to attain his dream (a dream he believes every other human should strive to attain) that he clearly describes in his TEF Manifesto, a paper where he suggests the existence of a perfect world where everyone follows transhumanist goals (human enhancement to live a
Sep 15, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan is a philosophical mind expanding experience. In the pages you are confronted by fictional people and events that represent a culmination of arguments and struggles that had plagued humans for decades. Each pages is filled with choices to be made, metaphors about life lessons and sacrifices that some people make to hold on to an ideal. As you read on you might come to realize that what we believe isn't always so black & white and the lines can easily ...more
Bill Parker
Jul 20, 2013 Bill Parker rated it liked it
I will start by saying that Transhumanism is a philosophy that I agree with. However, I'm not completely sure that I would want to be a part of the socially darwinistic, totalitarian society that the main character of this book wants to build. The story is basically that of Jethro Knights, a sort of determined demigod, who goes on a quest to upend all of human civilization and rebuild it in the philosophy of an Ayn Randian version of Transhumanism. I found myself agreeing much of the time about ...more
Lisa Norris
Dec 28, 2013 Lisa Norris rated it really liked it
For a novice like me, who has only played with a notion of such a world in my own head, without realizing transhumanism existed, this was a very exciting read. Although I found much of the story line to be unbelievable or unrealistic, surprisingly, I wasn't too bothered by it. It is a fictional book and should be treated as such. I see no reason to judge its contents based on reality when the book makes no claim that it is real. It is a great book to introduce transhumanistic views to a reader, ...more
Oct 25, 2013 William rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
At the age of 33 I read Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and it served as a guidebook for the middle third of my life. "Zen" was at once the story of a motorcycle journey across the country and an 'Inquiry into Values' and the meaning of quality. I now feel that Zoltan Istvan's "The Transhumanist Wager" might beacon my path through the remaining third of my earthly existence. It is a page ripping tale of a man's journey to find meaning in the midst of globally failing ...more
Aug 13, 2016 Olethros rated it liked it
-En tierra de nadie, a su pesar.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Jethro Knights se enfrenta con éxito a una gigantesca ola en el Pacífico mientras navega a bordo de un barco construido por el mismo mediante su voluntad e inteligencia, dos valores que a este joven interesado por el Transhumanismo le sobran, a diferencia de las habilidades sociales. Gregory Michaelson es un joven de familia muy acomodada y perfectamente entroncada entre las fuerzas políticas y sociales de Estados Unido
Jun 01, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
The possibilities and future effects on the human race of transhumanism through cryonics, bionics, genetic manipulation, and other medical and technical efforts, are brilliantly explored in this story of Jethro Knights, founder of the transhuman movement. A diverse mix of scientists and visionaries, who believe in the further evolution of humanity through these processes to bring about immortality and the abilities of unlimited mind expansion, separate themselves from the rest of humanity and ...more
Craig White
May 16, 2013 Craig White rated it did not like it
I'm sorry but i couldn't finish this. The author's writing and my reading styles are incompatible.

Three examples:
First, Zoltan (imho) uses too many words: "We have all gathered here together to..." - kind of stuff - I prefer "We are here to ..."

For a novel set in the 21st Century where one reads "Leader of the Free World" (when referring to the USA), that is a book closer for me.

Final example, the readers are introduced to a University which has a deep history of producing the elite of USA (a
Darren Shell
Apr 29, 2013 Darren Shell rated it it was amazing
This book was compelling. I wasn't sure I'd like it at the start, but the main character, Jethro Knights, was interesting and kept me coming back. The concept of a transhumanist world was appealing - who wouldn't like to get rid of government largess in favor of learning, self-betterment and longevity? It was also interesting to see the character's conflict when his rational, logic world confronted love. While it was a little preachy in places (I suspect the author is dedicated to this concept), ...more
Apr 06, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a superb read. full of explosive ideas that are sure to make waves. just the type of book i like. similar to ayn rand type novels, but futuristic and more edgy. clashes head on with religion and the american establishment. bravo.
Mrs. Barri Soreil
Oct 18, 2014 Mrs. Barri Soreil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and intriguing!

The only reason this carries a 4-star rating instead of a 5 is that it's quite wordy and there are times you wish the text were less voluminous. The story and logic are amazing! I look forward to more from Zoltan Istvan!
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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 ...more
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“From our first day alive on this planet, they began teaching society everything it knows and experiences. It was all brainwashing bullshit. Their trio of holy catechisms is: faith is more important than reason; inputs are more important than outcomes; hope is more important than reality. It was designed to choke your independent thinking and acting—to bring out the lowest common denominator in people—so that vast amounts of the general public would literally buy into sponsorship and preservation of their hegemonic nation. Their greatest achievement was the creation of the two-party political system; it gave only the illusion of choice, but never offered any change; it promised freedom, but only delivered more limits. In the end, you got stuck with two leading loser parties and not just one. It completed their trap of underhanded domination, and it worked masterfully. Look anywhere you go. America is a nation of submissive, dumbed-down, codependent, faith-minded zombies obsessed with celebrity gossip, buying unnecessary goods, and socializing without purpose on their electronic gadgets. The crazy thing is that people don't even know it; they still think they're free. Everywhere, people have been made into silent accomplices in the government's twisted control game. In the end, there is no way out for anyone.” 15 likes
“The bold code of the transhumanist will rise. That's an inevitable, undeniable fact. It's embedded in the undemocratic nature of technology and our own teleological evolutionary advancment. It is the future. We are the future like it or not. And it needs to molded, guided, and handled correctly by the strength and wisdom of transhumanist scientists with their nations and resources standing behind them, facilitating them. It needs to be supported in a way that we can make a successful transition into it, and not sacrifice ourselves—either by its overwhelming power or by a fear of harnessing that power. You need to put your resources into the technology. Into our education system. Into our universities, industries, and ideas. Into the strongest of our society. Into the brightest of our society. Into the best of our society So that we can attain the future.” 11 likes
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