My _The Mummy Congress_ review

From: John M Grigg (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 19:35:16 MDT

I was interested to see a journalist did a review of _The Mummy Congress_ and so I decided to repost my take on the book. As a cryonicist I think my thoughts I might be somewhat amusing in case some of you missed it.



While at my local Barnes & Noble I came across _The Mummy Congress_ by
Heather Pringle. She is a journalist who has written on archaeology in
numerous magazines and this is her third book to date.

When her writing turned to cryonics she first gave a basic and helpful
overview of it's history and mentions Robert Ettinger, Fred Chamberlain, and
Eric Drexler. Nanotechnology is brought up though with some doubt thrown
in. The cost for the various freezing options as well as how a cryonic
suspension is done, all get covered.

I am excerpting where I think all of you would have by far the most interest
to say the least! lol Get a load of this...

>From _The Mummy Congress_ by Heather Pringle:
If nothing else, such state-of-the-art medical technology promises to churn
out hundreds of wonderously preserved mummies in the future. I confess I
rather enjoy the image of entire warehouses stacked full of Napster hackers,
Yahoo programmers, and Apple engineers, complete almost down to their last
DNA base pairs. But does ALcor's glorious vision of the future really mean
that all these dot-com millioniares will be guaranteed their shots at
eternity? It seems unlikely, for if the strange history of mummies shows us
nothing else, it reveals just how much can go wrong when the dead are unable
to life a finger to defend themselves. Even the world's most devout
mummifiers, the Egyptians, were prone to horrible foul-ups. They switched
bodies, took out all the wrong organs, slapped on too much boiling resin,
and slipped bodies into too little natron, they tied together already
rotting limbs with the Egyptian equivalent of duct tape, then concealed
their mistakes under yards of linen. Then the most unscrupulous spent their
evenings plundering those they had embalmed just a few months earlier.

Eternity, moreover, lies at the whim of future generations, and who knows
what they will make of all these twenty-first-century mummies? Five
thousand years from now, when nameless treasure-seekers crawl down into the
eerie darkness of a long-buried warehouse and stumble blindly like moles
into rows of giant stainless-steel thermoses, now rusty and bent and
toppled, who knows what will happen? Will these fearless adventurers pry
off the lids and see long rows of ancient saints with delicate perfect hands
rosy cheeks? Will they, after offering up silent prayer, begin cutting out
their hearts as sacred relics? Or will they size up this trove of ancient
human flesh for its commercial potential and auction off its primeval DNA
and untainted blood cells on some future version of Ebay? Will they view
these strange corpses as some quaint curiosity of ancient earth technology
and cart them back as trophies to molder in their own galactic museums? Or
will they disdain all this fleshy debris as just selfish clutter, yards of
human bubble paper that should have recycled long ago? And will they
consign it to the nearest recycling bin?

Whatever they decide, there seems precious little chance that these rosy
elders will sleep dreamless and undisturbed through the millennia. Mummies
have always spoken to us on some deep primal level, and we are simply unable
to leave them alone. We love them and we fear them, we aspire to be them
and we dread that fate. But one thing is certain: we are powerless to
resist their potent appeal.

Well, we are going to have a field day with this! Where do I begin? lol! I
would like to think the folks at Alcor and the other cryonics organizations
will be much more diligent at protecting the bodies in their care then those
ancient Egyptians who were less then ideal mummifiers! I believe those
cryonically suspended will get their "shot at eternity."

I respect the obsession the ancient Egyptians had with preserving their dead
for religious purposes and in many instances they did this with incredible
care and effort. Even in our day the amazing results they achieved can be
seen and admired.

And I think if they could witness our cryonics organizations they would
heartily approve. Probably many Egyptians given the choice would have
chosen cryonics over mummification! lol

The scenario given where 1920's style explorers from five millennia into the
future stumble into an "ancient and abandoned" cryonics facility is
hilarious! Somehow I doubt people will be praying to our frozen bodies
because they view us as saints. Especially, if they get the chance to read
Cryonet! :)

As David Pizer carefully argued, there are a number of excellent reasons why
a future society would want to bring us back. I see them doing it out of a
sense of ethical responsibility and the desire to show off their cultural
and technological achievements.

The whole idea reminds me of a King Tut parody which had future
archaeologists digging up a roadside motel. They somehow "pieced together"
that people of our day would put toilet seats around our heads while singing
in religious ceremonies! LOL

At the very most it will only be one or two centuries before we can be
reanimated unless civilization collapses due to war or natural disaster.
This writer has not done her homework...

from the book:
Mummies have always spoken to us on some deep primal level, and we are
simply unable to leave them alone. We love them and we fear them, we aspire
to be them and we dread that fate. But one thing is certain: we are
powerless to resist their potent appeal.

I thought the final paragraph she wrote on mummies(actually the cryonically
suspended) was very powerful and honest. Though I admit to not wanting to
be considered a mummy while I am in suspension! lol I do think mummies and
by extension the suspended do have a very potent appeal which will work to
our benefit.

I look forward to seeing what the rest of you have to say regarding what I
excerpted from this book.

best wishes,


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