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Summary

Want to be immortal? You can be in AD 2110. Just go to the Hereafter Insurance Corporation and hook yourself up to the Machine. There’s nothing to fear. That is, if it happens to be working right, and if nobody slips another mind into your body when you’re not looking, and if you’re not on a poltergeist hatelist…

First published in 1959 as a startling, revolutionary novel of the future—then pushed to new cinematic limits as the feature film adaptation Freejack in 1992—Robert Sheckley’s unsettling vision of tomorrow is a trenchantly witty novel of a future where everything has improved except the bumbling human race, which just can’t let itself enjoy a good thing when it finally gets it.

Thomas Blaine awoke in a white bed in a white room and heard someone say, “He’s alive now.” Then they asked him his name, age, and marital status. Yes, that seemed normal enough—but what was this talk about “death trauma”?

Thus was Thomas Blaine introduced to the year 2110, when science had discovered the technique of transferring a man’s consciousness from one body to another, when a man’s mind could be snatched from the past, as his body was at the point of death, and brought forward into a “host body” in this fantastic future world.

But that was only a small part of it, for the future had proved the reality of life after death and discovered worlds beyond or simultaneous with our own—worlds where, through scientific techniques, a man could live again, in another body, when he died here—and had in the process established the reality of ghosts, poltergeists, and zombies.

What did it all mean? How had this discovery of what they called the “hereafter” shaped the world of 2110?

Thomas Blaine found himself living in a future where the discoveries and techniques imagined by people of his time, though realized, were completely overwhelmed by discoveries no one had ever dreamed of.

©1959 Robert Sheckley (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

Praise for Robert Sheckley: “Sheckley has long been considered one of the genre’s leading humorists.” ( New York Times Book Review)

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What listeners say about Immortality, Inc.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely brilliant

Very good. Subtle, humorous, offers a lot to think about. Would most certainly recommend. Very good performance from the reading actor as well.

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good story well read

I got this audio book because I heard this is what the film Johnny Nemonic was based on. I'll be listening to more from this auther as I enjoyed it.

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Profile Image for Niels J. Rasmussen
  • Niels J. Rasmussen
  • 14-05-14

Sheckley Is The Best There Is

Any additional comments?

When it comes to science-fiction authors you have never heard of, there are none more talented than Robert Sheckley. Aside from "Immortality Inc.", (which is amazing), his novel "Dimension of Miracles" & as well as a handful of short-stories adapted into radio dramas for the 1950's program "X-Minus One" have earned him the honor of owning the spot in my heart as my favorite obscure writer.

"Immortality Inc." plays with your mind only the way that Sheckley can. The story itself blends ideas from subjects such as time travel, the afterlife, immorality, reincarnation, and zombie folklore into ONE book that reads like a "I-can't-put-it-down" page-turner. I also found it interesting that a book which was written over 50 years ago had its protagonist be a self-proclaimed atheist. Rare for that time period in fiction.

Definitely worth the credit. You won't be sorry.

9.4 / 10

16 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for ESK
  • ESK
  • 22-07-12

Great!

If you could sum up Immortality, Inc. in three words, what would they be?

Dystopian, futuristic, anti-religious

What other book might you compare Immortality, Inc. to and why?

We by Zamyatin, 1984 by Orwell or Brave New World by Huxley where gloomy and frightening alternative futures come to life.

What does Bronson Pinchot bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

That's the power of his voice, the way he can easily vary his pitch, his voice quality...all sounded perfect to me.

8 people found this helpful

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  • mcinjere
  • 10-12-20

reading is not the readers forte

I'm like 3 minutes in and the narrator reads the line, " action is not my forté."

but he says action is not my fort.

just tired of bad narration and mispronunciations. happens all over even in audible.

amazon should set up a review process or something

4 people found this helpful

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  • D. R. Moore
  • 30-01-21

Fantastic story, polarizing narration.

Story: Great, interesting. I listened through in two sessions. Exploration of a culture in which death has been demonstrated as non-final was fascinating and in many ways plausible.

Narration: Negative reviews have mostly concerned the narration. The narrator has a great range of voices for characters but some of them are best described as more than a bit comic in nature. I personally enjoyed them, but their comic nature may be off-putting to some. If voices that sometimes seem silly caricatures are not to your taste, you might avoid this book. I would rate the narration as high-quality regardless.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Aweepano
  • 08-06-21

good book, good performance

I greatly enjoyed the story, and while the reader did mispronounce a word near the beginning, he more than makes up for it with enthusiasm and a wide variety of entertaining voices.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shawn Conway
  • 18-03-21

classic! ❤️

I really enjoyed it ... the sense of "era" in this piece is palpable... you can FEEL the 50's... and the voice actor is amazing!
Old School Sci Fi ❤️

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  • Nancy
  • 17-10-14

Gripping but did not care for ending.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend the book for its compelling ideas.

Could you see Immortality, Inc. being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I think it could adapt to a tv show but might loose to much in the translation.

Any additional comments?

I liked the basic idea, I did not have a problem with the performance at all. I was not satisfied with the ending but won't go into reasons why since that's spoiler territory.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Gem
  • Gem
  • 15-10-14

Overpowering bad performance

What disappointed you about Immortality, Inc.?

The performance.

Would you be willing to try another book from Robert Sheckley? Why or why not?

I don't see why not. Only if it is someone else performing the book. The story has interesting elements.

What didn’t you like about Bronson Pinchot’s performance?

His voices... The voices he does for the characters are so terrible and distracting that it lowers the quality of the dialogue and ruins the character.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The ideas presented were indeed interesting and had a good amount of backing and explanation to them.

Any additional comments?

The performance is really, truly terrible.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria Hoey
  • 15-08-21

Forward thinking SciFi.

Foretells a future of uploaded consciousness. This book aged better than anything I've read by Heinlein with all the heart of a Spider Robinson novel. Thankfully, it's nothing like the terrible 90's movie, "Freejack".

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for M. Lambert
  • M. Lambert
  • 10-08-21

Dated, sexist, okay not great

Unfortunately, this book shows it's age and not well. Rife with stereotypes and tropes. Competently written. Dystopian in its vision. Narration is good. It took a bit of will to complete listening to the story.

1 person found this helpful