The First Immortal

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Ballantine Publishing Group, 1998 - Fiction - 342 pages
2 Reviews
In his astonishing first novel, James L. Halperin wrote of humanity's epoch-making achievement of truth and justice at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Now Halperin takes his luminous vision a leap further into the future as he unfolds this magnificent saga of our triumph over death itself.
At the age of sixty-three, Benjamin Smith, accomplished physician, loving father and grandfather, brilliantly original thinker, is in the prime of his life. He is too vital, too gifted, to die of the massive heart attack that overwhelms his system on a rain-soaked spring day in 1988.
But Ben Smith will not die. A pioneering advocate of the infant science of cryonics, Ben has arranged to have his body frozen until the day when humanity will possess the knowledge, the technology, and the courage to revive him.
That day arrives far more quickly--and far more strangely--than anyone could possibly imagine. For when Ben resumes life after a frozen interval of eighty-three years, the world is altered beyond recognition. Thanks to the cutting-edge science of nanotechnology, as practiced by Ben's brilliant great-grandson, Trip Crane III, eternal youth, beauty, and good health are universally available. And the perfection of cloning gives humanity the godlike power to recreate living beings from a single cell.
As one by one, Ben's mother, children, even a semblance of his beloved wife return to life in the mid-twenty-first century, the Smiths experience a complex reunion that reaches across and through generations. But as they marvel at the miracles of future science, Ben and his family will come to realize that the deepest ethical and emotional dilemmas of humankind--and of their ownentangled lives--remain unsolved.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In 1988, a 63-year-old innovative doctor, Ben Smith, dies of a heart attack—but he's arranged to have his body placed in cryonic suspension, gambling that someday medical science will be able to ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

James L. Halperin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on October 31, 1952.  He attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, from 1966 to 1970, and formed a rare-coin (numismatic) business, part-time, in 1968 at age 15.

He received early acceptance to Harvard College and attended from 1970 to 1971.  He took a permanent leave of absence after three semesters to pursue a full-time numismatic career.

Halperin moved to Dallas in 1982 to form a 50/50 partnership with Steve Ivy, a former rival. The company, Heritage Rare Coin Galleries, is now the world's largest and most successful numismatic company.

He has been married to Gayle Ziaks (MFA, Asst.  Professor of Dance) since 1984, and is the father of two young sons, David (born in 1991) and Michael (born in 19

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