12 Must-Read Books About Cryonics
Everyone loves a good book, and if you are like us, there’s nothing better than a good book with some cryonics (aka biostasis) in it. From the neophytes who want to move their first steps into this fascinating world, to the sci-fi aficionados or the philosophical dwellers, this compilation of 12 books about cryonics has something for everyone. So sit back, grab your favorite reading-drink, and delve with us into cryonics’ literary world.
Even though cryonics is a relatively new field, having existed for “only” 50 years, some books deserve to be given this status. Classics. Or in other words, these are the books that every cryonicist should read at least once in their lives.
The Prospect of Immortality
We felt that it was only right for “The Prospect of Immortality” by Robert C.W. Ettinger to occupy the first spot, as it is one of the books that started it all. Without it, biostasis might not have become as popular as it is today. In what could only be described as the Founding Document of cryonics, Ettinger lays down the foundational ideas of this field. A way to suspend death and a prospect to live a second life in some future. With its scientific basis backed already in 1962 by none other than Isaac Asimov, this book leaves you with a burning question: If you could say no to death, would you do it?
If you want to learn more about Robert Ettinger, read our article.
The Prospect of Immortality — Fifty Years Later
For those of you who are cryonauts at heart, you cannot miss this book.
This rich anthology expands on Ettinger’s masterpiece, with the original editor Charles Tandy and other contributors coming back to rework and update some of the key ideas that started the movement. Dr. Charles Tandy is an Associate Professor of Humanities, and a Senior Faculty Research Fellow in Bioethics at Fooyin University (Taiwan). Throughout the years, he has edited, and contributed to, a number of publications centered around death, ontology and ethics. Dr. R. Michael Perry is a scientist and transhumanist that has been working since 1987 at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. He has a Master of Science in Computer Science and a Doctorate in Philosophy earned in 1984 from the University of Colorado. He has since published various articles in the fields of ontology and philosophy. In this book you will find it all; not only technical articles on nanotechnology, but also theological analysis on Buddhism and biostasis, legal discussions and economic considerations. “The Prospect of Immortality — Fifty Years Later” by Charles Tandy, R. Michael Perry, Max More, D.J. MacLennan is just a great book all around.
Is there anything better than pondering on the intricacies of life? Anything more rewarding than delving deeply into a topic and exploring the ins and outs of all the thoughts surrounding it? We agree, it’s a sensation that’s hardly beatable. And to quench this thirst we have selected two books we just know you’re going to love.
Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment
D.J. MacLennan makes it a second time on our list, this time as a solo author. His book “Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment” is intimate, introspective, informative and beautifully complicated. This poetic autobiography will take you through the author’s journey in answering a fundamental question concerning life: should I surrender to death? This book has everything you could ask of it, including a welcomed sense of dark humor guaranteed to make you question your perspectives.
Forever for All: Moral Philosophy, Cryonics, and the Scientific Prospects for Immortality
A truly marvelous read. R. Michael Perry was amongst the original contributors to Ettinger’s work, discussing biostasis like few others do. Instead of wandering into future perspectives, he puts our society at the center of his inspection, deconstructing our beliefs and challenging our ideals. In this philosophy masterclass, Perry leaves no ethical stone unturned and no uncomfortable questions unasked. Why are we here? Is our life worth living? Most importantly, is it worth preserving it? With each argument broken down into its core components and skillfully organized, this book is as complex as it is surprisingly accessible. First timers warned though, the depths of this ocean are not for everyone.
“The individual ought to endure-for a life rightly lived is never rightly ended.” R.Michael Perry — “Forever for All: Moral Philosophy, Cryonics, and the Scientific Prospects for Immortality”
Do you want to know just how real biostasis is? Are you curious about the processes and the intricacies of preserving humans? These next three volumes are exactly what you are looking for.
Preserving Minds, Saving Lives: The Best Cryonics Writings From The Alcor Life Extension Foundation
Co-authored by Steve Bridge, CEO of Alcor from 1993 to 1997, “Preserving Minds, Saving Lives” by Aschwin de Wolf and Steve Bridge is one of the most complete collections of articles on biostasis. With a selection of articles taken from the years 1972–2012 of the Cryonics magazine, this 570 pages volume is as close to an encyclopedia as it gets. From procedures to scientific advancements, to the rationale behind choosing cryopreservation.
“[…]The visions and technological breakthroughs that you will read about in this book continue to shape Alcor’s mission.” — Max More, Ph.D., President and CEO of Alcor from 2011 to 2020
Human Cryopreservation Procedures
Written by prolific author by Aschwin de Wolf and British journalist Charles Platt, “Human Cryopreservation Procedures” is a complete and comprehensive manual on the procedures used to this day to preserve human bodies. One of the most technical manuals on the subject, this book will appeal to those that are interested in the nitty gritty of this fascinating science.
Cryostasis Revival: The Recovery of Cryonics Patients through Nanomedicine
To finish this list we have a 2022 book written by Robert A. Freitas Jr. Despite having perfected the techniques to cryopreserve our bodies over 5 decades, our current capabilities don’t allow us to revive anyone yet. Things, according to Freitas, are about to change. In this extensive 700 pages book, Freitas talks about the promising developments in nanotechnology and how nanorobots might be the key to successfully revive individuals. Going over protocols in great detail, “Cryostasis Revival” paints a clear picture of just how near we are to achieve a full human revival.
We are finally coming full circle. Science Fiction holds a special place in our hearts, and it’s probably true for many of you. After all, had Robert C.W.Ettinger not grown up reading Hugo Gernsback’s “Amazing Stories” the entire field might not have been invented. In a strange self-feeding loop, Sci-Fi and biostasis have been inspiring each other since the very beginning. To continue this tradition, here are 2 Sci-Fi novels absolutely packed with all the good stuff. Space travel? You bet! Underground cities? We got ’em. Evil Big Corps and super cool aliens? Just wait and see. Although not always accurately depicted, in these books there’s all the cryonics you could ever want to read.
A World Out of Time
What would happen if a terminally ill patient decided to get himself cryopreserved? And what would happen if, 120 years later, he was revived by a BBTG (or Big Bad Totalitarian Government) only to be shoved in the body of a criminal destined to a suicide mission? If this sounds like the premise of a breath-taking novel to you, it’s probably because it is. Written in a dry yet compelling tone, “A World Out of Time” by Larry Niven takes the reader on a journey they will not easily forget. A very clever use of science mixed with more than a touch of wonder, Niven brings us in his world of changing times, corrupt governments, evil AI and hot-headed heroes. Coming from a Sci-Fi veteran like Larry Niven, this book did not disappoint.
If you thought you already had plenty of cryo-readings on your list, think again, because this second entry will just freeze you in place.
Nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award, CryoBurn by Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the best books in the genre. Based entirely on cryopreservation corporations and their impact on the future, CryoBurn explores the drifting of a society that has lost every saying in its destiny. Written using three different POVs, Bujold’s book follows the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan on a planet that has put death on pause. Masterfully assembled and never boring, this book is a joy to read and one of those few that leaves you wishing there was more.
Young Adult Fiction
In case you are looking for a way to introduce biostasis to your kids, look no further. These books retain all the excitement you find in classic Sci-Fi, without being excessively crude. Perfect for young adults who are just approaching the topic. But even if you are an adult reader, don’t worry. There’s still plenty of thrill to be found in these novels, with some of them punching way above their belt in terms of storytelling.
Frozen in Time
“Frozen in Time” by Ali Sparkes begins like every great book does: with a TV exploding and two children going outside in search of a distraction, only to find more trouble. Buried underground, right beneath their house, lies a secret, one (actually…) that had been sleeping for the past 50 years. Packed with action and a very creative premise, this book is much more than a light read for children.
Winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year in 2010, it also won a very special place in our list of great books.
Across the Universe
Part of a series of books set in the same universe, “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis catapults us aboard a massive spaceship with a telling name: Godspeed. There Amy, a 17 year old girl, finds herself abruptly waking up from a cryogenic sleep that was supposed to last much much longer. A killer lurks in the guts of the ship, and with her parents still soundly asleep, it will be her task to face the danger. A riveting novel that fits thrill, love and high stakes in a well-paced Sci-Fi read.
Another testimony that cryonics and space-travel are a match made in heaven.
Who said that only individuals can wake up from cryogenic sleep? What if it was an entire civilization? It’s with this ambitious setup that “Lockstep” by Karl Schroeder transports us into its ruthless world, built around cryosleep as a means of surviving. To travel great distances at sub-light speeds, in fact, people are forced into a tough regime of cryopreservation, being able to stay awake only for a few weeks at a time. What could a world like this have to offer? With the protagonist being propelled 14.000 years into the future, and a family line as cumbersome as merciless, you are about to find out.
This innovative novel will transport you into the action right from the start, and hardly ever let you go.
We hope you enjoyed our list! With our recommendations you should be covered for a while. In case you want to read some more, check out our other articles on Futurism, Longevity or Technology. We also have a YouTube channel where we talk about cryonics, how cool is that?!