The Annals of the Heechee

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Pohl, Frederik. The Annals of the Heechee. New York: Del Rey-Ballantine, [1987]. [S.F.] Book Club Edition.

Fourth book of "The Heechee Saga" (the others: Gateway, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, Heechee Rendezvous, The Boy Who Would Live Forever, The Gateway Trip).

The "vastened" Robinette Broadhead exists as a program in "gigabyte space" where he interacts with other human programs and "meat" people in the more conventional world. In the course of narrating the novel, Broadhead considers (among many other things) whether or not he is still human, and his Albert Einstein general service program suggests that machine-stored people are "the next stage of evolution" (277). Cf. Pohl's story "Day Million" and Heechee Rendezvous for personality storage; for "cyberspace," see entry for W. Gibson's Neuromancer. See under Literary Criticism the "The Heechee Series" entry by Clyde Wilcox. For brief discussion, see Wikipedia entry.[1]

Personality storage in a kind of VR appears again in Pohl and A. C. Clarke's The Last Theorem (New York: Ballantine Books, 2008). In his brief review of Theorem, Donald M. Hassler notes that the book offers environmental and (relevant here) medical progress, including "a very 'green' car that runs on water and enough nanotech advances by the end for 'machine storage' so that when the wife of Ranj dies in a diving accident, he has hopes to stay with her long after his death in some virtual storage state": "nanotech capabilities of virtual reality storage [...] that [enable a] sort of immortality" (SFRA Review #286 [Fall 2008]: p. 24).[2]]

RDE, finishing, rev. 18Jan21