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To Live Forever

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  440 Ratings  ·  24 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
Paperback, 367 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by iBooks (first published 1956)
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May 15, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lyn’s first message to SF/F readers: Read more Jack Vance.

Lyn’s second message to SF/F readers: When reading Jack Vance, pay very close attention to the first few pages, as he will explain his wildly complicated and alien structural narrative as the story begins.

Lyn’s third message to SF/F readers: Don’t worry if you need to go back to the front and re-read to figure out what in the hell is going on.

Vance is that rarest of artful gems: a storyteller. The storyteller could describe a trip to the
Kat  Hooper
Aug 27, 2015 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
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
Feb 22, 2013 Metaphorosis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2013-rev
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
Dec 22, 2010 Ron rated it it was ok
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
Kayla Erickson
May 26, 2011 Kayla Erickson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 28, 2013 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2008 Sue rated it it was amazing
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.
Actual cover of my paperback edition:

Andrew Caldwell
Nov 12, 2015 Andrew Caldwell rated it really liked it
One of the things I utterly love with science fiction and fantasy as genre is the way that not only is there much greater scope for story, adventure and imagination there is an increased opportunity to develop and explore ideas. Jack Vance always gets me thinking, always makes me want to stop and ask "What are the issues here?".... "Where are convergences with my world?" Vance is at his best when he is savoured. In "To Live Forever", the big ideas of population, morality, work, and striving are ...more
erjan avid reader
Dec 26, 2015 erjan avid reader rated it liked it
pretty short book.

I like the concept but the description of the society divided into 5 classes is sketchy, there should have been more details about its workings..

I actually skimmed that book - skipped some parts, dialogues.But I got the general idea and how it ends. This book has a great idea, and made me thinking about my daily job: what if I lived in this society and my every workday would actually matter to increase my life or die out?

I would hate to live in a society like that!

Short conten
Chris Hawks
Nov 29, 2010 Chris Hawks rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, reviewed
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
Dec 11, 2008 Lera rated it liked it
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
Aaron Singleton
Jan 21, 2016 Aaron Singleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jack-vance, sf
Clarges (previously titled "To Live Forever") was Vance's first true novel. It takes place in a far-future society in which one can earn extra years of life by achieving success in certain areas; some even earn the title of Amaranth--immortality.

The main character is one Gavin Waylock, a man with a mysterious past who doesn't seem too worried about earning extra years (called "striving") and works at Carnivale, the one place where those who strive can unwind and party. When Gavin meets an Amara
William Mansky
Aug 20, 2011 William Mansky rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Sep 29, 2012 Nawfal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Dystopian novel which questions fairness, class society, and the actual meaning/purpose of striving. Not a great novel, but not a bad one, either.
Edwin Kort
Dec 02, 2015 Edwin Kort rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Wat een verspilling van tijd was dit boek. Het sleept zich maar door en door.

Geen eeuwig leven voor dit boek wat mij betreft..

Scott rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2011
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Jun 01, 2013
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Jan 11, 2013
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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 grea
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“How can we do this? We are told that our world is too small for men of eternal life. This is true. We must become pioneers again, we must break out into new territories! The men of old carved living space from the wilderness; we must do the same, and let this be the condition for eternal life! Is it not sufficient? When a man creates his living space and guarantees his sustenance, is he not entitled to life?” 1 likes
“When we shattered the Actuarian, we shattered the bar across the sky. Now, life, eternal life, is at anyone's demand. Man must move forward; this is the nature of his brain and blood. Today he is given the Earth; his destiny is the stars. The entire universe awaits him! And so, why should we quaver and hedge at life for all of us?” 1 likes
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