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The Transhumanist Wager

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  946 ratings  ·  190 reviews
A Top 5 Amazon book
"WINNER" Visionary Fiction - International Book Awards

Leading futurist, philosopher, and former National Geographic journalist Zoltan Istvan presents his award-winning, bestselling visionary novel, The Transhumanist Wager, as a seminal statement of our times.

His philosophical thriller has b
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 2nd 2013 by Futurity Imagine Media LLC
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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Zoltan Istvan
Apr 03, 2013 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 21, 2013 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 14, 2013 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
Michael Valentine
Feb 24, 2014 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
May 06, 2014 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
Wayne Tiller
Apr 05, 2013 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
Angel Gelique
Feb 08, 2014 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
Oct 04, 2013 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
Serge Boivin
May 05, 2013 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
Apr 05, 2013 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 anti- ...more
Steven Murray
Jul 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was rejected by 500 publishers. Well done them. Though the premise of the book was good it was let down by a rather pedestrian writing style. Chunks of text were given over to preachy self serving monologues that had to be waded through. it was very hard to feel for the one dimensional characters. If you get half way through this book, quit. It gets a lot less believable and more annoying. You also get the impression that the author thinks a lot of himself.
Chris Armstrong
May 02, 2013 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
Feb 20, 2015 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
Sep 25, 2013 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. Fo ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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. ...more
Chris Armstrong
Aug 21, 2013 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
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This was for an english class but It was actually pretty entertaining.... I don’t really agree with a lot of the things in this book but it wasn’t that bad compared to other college-assigned books. Time to write a 6 page paper on it lol
Aug 09, 2014 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
David Gouldthorpe
May 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
One part laughter, for how utterly delusional the author is. He thinks that five billion dollars can afford to build a floating city, complete with a particle accelerator, luxury apartments, organic farming, an airstrip, and military installations.

One part groan, for how utterly stupid these characters act, and for how poorly the plot is constructed. Nobody acts rationally, and plot elements are shoehorned in at the moment they're convenient.

One part horror, as the "hero" of the story installs a
May 09, 2013 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
Alexander Curran
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The Three Laws: 1) A transhumanist must safeguard one's own existence above all else. 2) A transhumanist must strive to achieve omnipotence as expediently as possible—so long as one's actions do not conflict with the First Law. 3) A transhumanist must safeguard value in the universe—so long as one's actions do not conflict with the First and Second Laws.”

Zoltan Istvan gives us The Transhumanist Wager which is reminiscent, when it comes to selfishness or egoism, to Ayn Rand. A focus on prioritis
Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Groan worthy. I don’t really have anything to add beyond the other 1-star reviews. This book is like poorly written version of Fountainhead only more narrow minded, militant, and libertarian. Cartoonish characters who luck into large funds, living in a zero sum world that would have been immortal yesterday if only it wasn’t for those lazy religious welfare takers they need to exterminate. Philosophy over science. Arrogance over curiosity. Fails Bechdel test. Not recommended.

Skip this for anythi
Luke Shillig
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great ideas

I liked the book, it's obvious animosity towards religion notwithstanding. I think a lot of the ideas are antiquated and that anyone interested in the philosophy ought to watch all of the zeitgeist movies.
Chuck Alley
Mar 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
Oh my where to start. Actually it is probably not worth giving it the time to review. We can stick with "not good" and leave it at that. ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book
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 deal ...more
Sep 22, 2013 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
Apr 22, 2013 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 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 get ...more
Bill Parker
Jun 29, 2013 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
Elisabet Norris
Dec 25, 2013 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
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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 be ...more

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