Hello! I’m Joe DiBuduo and I’d like share with you how and why I wrote Cryonic Man: A Paranormal Affair, my sci-fi / paranormal romance novel.
During my research for Cryonic Man, I studied the procedures used in cryopreservation and I explain this process in the novel. I first read that the concept of cryonics was introduced by Robert Ettinger, the founder of the Cryonics Institute, in his landmark 1962 book, The Prospect of Immortality (latest edition is Ria University Press, 2005).
At this writing (2015) it is illegal to perform cryonic suspension on someone who is still alive. A person who undergoes this procedure must first be pronounced legally dead – that is, their heart must have stopped beating. I’m sure your first question is, “But if someone is dead, how can they ever be revived?”
According to scientists who perform cryonics, “legally dead” is not the same as “totally dead.” Total death, medical science says, is the point at which all brain function ceases. Legal death occurs when the heart stops beating, but some cellular brain function remains. Cryonics preserves what little cell function remains so that, theoretically, the person can be resuscitated in the future
How people are able to survive on the brink of death depends upon medical technology. A hundred years ago, cardiac arrest was irreversible. People were declared dead when their heart stopped beating. Today, death is believed to occur six minutes after the heart stops. After that time interval, it’s difficult to resuscitate the brain.
However, with new experimental treatments, more minutes of cardiac arrest can be survived without brain injury. Future technologies for molecular repair may extend the ability to resuscitate people beyond what is imaginable today. The definition of death may be revised from “a permanent cessation of all vital functions” to “a temporary pause in vital functions.”
Millions of people are captivated by the concept of living, dying, and awaking dozens or hundreds of years from now. Cryonics may be a simple form of time travel that doesn’t involve wormholes, speed of light travel, curved space-time, or breaking the scientific laws of Einstein’s theories. Cryonic suspension could be used in long interstellar space flights.
Cryonics slows down or stops molecular activity to halt aging, and more importantly, to avoid or extend to the future, the process of dying. For most of us, cryonics seems bizarre, but it is plausible. When we get used to the idea that medical science will advance to the point in which dying people can be healed and even aging can be reversed or slowed down, we can accept the idea that cryopreservation is obtainable in our lifetime. Even now, molecular healing via nanobots is under research and will become a viable process in the near future.
Essentially, advanced technology in the future will restore any cellular function destroyed by hypoxia, disease, the cryonic preservation process, or reperfusion injury – damage caused when the blood supply returns to tissue after a period of ischemia, or lack of oxygen, such as after a heart attack. The point of cryogenics is that nearly everyone who dies is only “mostly dead.”
Often, people confuse cryonics with cryogenics. Cryonics is a process and cryogenics is a field of study – the study of the production and the behavior of materials at very low temperatures (below −150 °C, −238 °F or 123 K). Cryonics borrows from cryogenics but it is not subjected to the same rigors and is intrinsically based on assumptions that seem quite plausible at the present time, but may or may not turn out to be true.
American baseball champ Ted Williams was cryopreserved in two parts – head and body – after his death in 2002. Stories about his body undergoing disrespectful treatment emerged soon after his cryonic procedure. Larry Johnson, a former chief operating officer of Alcor Life Extension in Arizona, came forward to report “horrific” and “unethical” practices by the company.
Cryopreservation includes a full-body preservation option or the “neuro option” of having only the head preserved, on the premise that the brain is the seat of memory and that the human body and its organs may be easily regenerated from DNA in the future.
The following questions filled my mind after reading Ted Williams’ story:
- If Ted were revived, who would own his DNA?
- Would those who had inherited his property have to return it?
- The skills of most anyone revived after a number of years would be outdated.
- Should a person who wants to be frozen for future resuscitation invest in some type of insurance program to assure they’d have an income when revived.
- If a young person were cryonically preserved, would he or she age?
- What if he or she was brought back to life after fifty years and he remained the same age at time of death and cryopreservation?
- Where does the cryopreserved person’s soul go for fifty years?
- Is there a spiritual world where people go after they die?
- Does the cryopreserved person go to heaven, hell, or someplace else?
- Could another spirit or soul possess a cryopreserved person’s body when that person is resuscitated after years in a cryonic state?
- What if a cryopreserved patient’s body is possessed by an evil spirit? Would the two souls combine and become one, or would a battle for the body ensue?
- How would a cryopreserved person feel about children or other loved ones who are physically older?
- How would a cryopreserved patient feel about their spouse or partner who may end up being twice or three times their age?
- If a cryopreserved patient is a champion sports figure like Ted Williams, would he or she want to resume their career?
- Will there be laws written to protect the rights of cryopreserved and resuscitated persons?
I wrote Cryonic Man: A Paranormal Affair to answer these questions. So if you’d like to see my answers, please purchase a copy!
Cryonic Man is available in print and Kindle at all international Amazons –
Angus & Robertson
Barnes & Noble
iTunes Bookstore (all international locations)