Reviews of To Live Forever (1956)
Review by johnafair (2006-08-21)
This was a bit slow to get going, with the strange, even by the terms of the book, society of Carnivalle providing us with the introduction to Grayven and The Jacynth (an immortal of the Amaranth phyle).
However, it soon becomes a more traditional Vance (if there is such a thing!) as we follow Grayven in his attempts to move up-phyle in order to re-enter the Amaranth from whence he had been ejected following a scandal seven years previously.
However, even as he tries to find a striving that will allow him to achieve his goals, he finds that old scandal coming back to haunt him and he finds himself foced into ever greater convultions against the society of Clarges.
Grayven's story and the way in which Clarges had come to terms with the Malthusian implications of a class of immortals is, ultimately, rather neat in my opinion, as is the depiction of those who fall by the wayside (OK, perhaps not quite the best way of describing it - perhaps well done is better), and the Aturarium, that determines each and every person's lifeline below the level of Amaranth, was a really cool organisation, even if you have to smile at the sort of technology they are using, but this latter is a common fate of SF of any age.