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To Live Forever

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  377 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In the far-future city of Clarges, you can live forever – if you can make the grade.

In Clarges, everyone competes for the ultimate prize: immortality. Gavin Waylock had that prize – the live-forever rank of Amaranth, but lost it when he was accused of murder. Now, after seven years in hiding he begins again the struggle to reach the top. But a strong-willed woman,The Jacyn
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Paperback, 367 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by iBooks (first published 1956)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 609)
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Kat  Hooper
Re-read: August 2015. Audiobook version, which comes out soon from Blackstone Audio, is excellent.


ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In Clarges, a city in the far future, humans have conquered death. Unfortunately, there's just not enough room for billions of immortal people to live forever, so they've passed the fair-play act which divides society into 5 phyle which must be maintained at certain population ratios. Those who choose to participate in fair-play must register in Brood, the low
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This is the first Vance novel I've re-read and it was pretty damn awesome the second time around. It is on one level a fairly typical Vance narrative where an amoral protagonist claws his way through a rigid, highly-organised society, only to bring the system crashing through and then become a space explorer.

But with Vance, the details are everything. There are the wonderful proper nouns - Vance's characters just have the best names ever - The Jacynth Martin, The Grayven Warlock and so on. His
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Metaphorosis
Wikipedia quotes Floyd C. Gale as saying "frighteningly logical...[t]he sick, inbred society of Vance's imagination comes fully alive, even though his characters remain mere symbols."

I really can't say it better than that. Where most Vance work is focused on atmosphere, attitude, and of course punctilio, Clarges (previously and better titled To Live Forever), is unusual in being a fairly direct exploration of a concept. The Clarges society is tightly restricted in space, and the bulk of the popu
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Kayla Erickson
Cool book. It's amazing how the main character is a murderer, but for some reason you want things to turn out right for him. What a creative idea, earning immortality by what you accomplish. Jack Vance has such vivid descriptions, and a great vocabulary.
Ron
To Live Forever was published in 1956. Before Sputnik, before the Pill, before Vietnam. Like 1984 and Brave New World, it was one man's guess where the future might head. It reflected the extent and limits of that day's science and sociology. In that regard, Vance must be allowed whatever vision he wanted to present. It was probably radical and hip then.

At the functional level, however the story features a "hero" who is hard to like, a society which seems simultaneously repressive and ridiculous
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Matthew
Clarges by Jack Vance
aka To Live Forever

Clarges—previously published under the title To Live Forever—is a fantastic early standalone Vance SF novel, which speculates about a future where—seemingly beneficial—scientific advancement has held back man's potential to colonise the stars. This was perhaps the first Vance novel to really strike gold—excluding The Dying Earth which was a short story collection—and shows many of the characteristic traits which adorn his later works. Clarges is a great ex
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Jon
Actual cover of my paperback edition:

description
Fantasy Literature
In Clarges, a city in the far future, humans have conquered death. Unfortunately, there's just not enough room for billions of immortal people to live forever, so they've passed the fair-play act which divides society into 5 phyle which must be maintained at certain population ratios. Those who choose to participate in fair-play must register in Brood, the lowest phyle, and receive 82 years of life, after which an "assassin" visits and takes them away in a black hearse. By significantly contribu ...more
Chris Hawks
Halfway though this book, I wasn't sure what to think. The main character was a nice enough guy, but also a murderous, conniving opportunist. And he's the main POV character, so it was difficult to feel much involvement in the story, because I really thought he deserved to die. It became much more enjoyable once I realized that the story wasn't about him; rather, it's a story about the downfall of a society that rations out immortality to its citizens, with the protagonist as the catalyst, not t ...more
Nebogipfel
A story about problems that arise when humans have the ability to become immortal. In the end the author proposes a solution similar to Kraft Ehricke's extraterrestrial imperative. A decent story that asks some hard questions but the plot wasn't all that interesting.
Lera
An adventure story with just a bit too much exposition, with a predictable end. You can believe its Vance's first novel (c 1956).

He describes a future resulting from the discovery of an immortality treatment, with a rigid society structured to cope with the Malthusian implications. You may either opt into the caste system that grants a maximum additional lifespan for each successive level, or allow nature to take its course and live out your natural span without fear of euthanasia. Its never cle
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William Mansky
A strange sort of reverse murder mystery where all the protagonists are immortal. Surprisingly for the era, the protagonist is not infallible or omnipotent; he's not even emotionally impervious. And, without giving too much away, love (lust, really) may not conquer all.
Sue
I have an old, beat up copy of this book, with the front cover MIA. It's a really good book that delves into power, money, and social power. It's one sci-fi book that I'd use when teaching a sociology course dealing with any of those areas.
Nawfal
Dystopian novel which questions fairness, class society, and the actual meaning/purpose of striving. Not a great novel, but not a bad one, either.
Bruce
Nov 14, 2007 Bruce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
One of the classic SF novels of the 50s that still holds up as a good read today.
Balland
The main idea of the book is original but the synopsis is really disappointed.
Andrew
Minor Vance - his first novel - but still enjoyable.
William
Fascinating but tragically flawed characters.
melvinhiddenelder
One of the best of 1950's pulp science fiction!
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5376
Aka John Holbrooke Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, 'The Dying Earth', was published in 1950 to gr
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More about Jack Vance...
The Dying Earth (The Dying Earth, #1) Tales of the Dying Earth Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse, #1) The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth, #2) The Green Pearl (Lyonesse, #2)

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