Paul Hughes wrote:
> Scott Badger wrote:
> > Reminds me of that old Heinlein story, where some foundation was created and
> > covertly arranged the marriages of people whose anscestors were long-lived,
> > breeding them for longevity. After numerous generations, it worked and the
> > foundation had to explain to the subjects why they weren't aging like the
> > rest of the population. They all had to keep it a secret for fear that the
> > rest of the population would never believe that it had been accomplished
> > through genetics. They would assume that a "potion" had been discovered
> > that would stop aging.
> This brings up the question of how such selective breeding would be determined.
> How did they determine a persons longevity until they actually died? And once
> dead, how would you get them to breed without modern biotechnology? Unless of
> course this breeding program was started in the 20th century, and this story
> takes place several centuries hence.
The prolog of the story begins in the mid 1800's when a railroad baron by the name of Howard find himself dying of old age at 45. He wills that his fortune be used to find the secret of long life, and the executors, being lawyers in the mid-western US, decided the best way in that day and age was to establish a human breeding program, where they researched people whose grandparents all lived to a minimum high age. They then solicited these people, telling them if they married someone on the list of people they gave them, they would receive x dollars for each child born of that union. The protagonist of the book, Lazarus Long, was born in 1910, but the main plot of the book does not begin until the early 22nd century, when he is the oldest member of the "Howard Families", and is thus the titular leader of that group.