Cloud Nine

Cloud Nine is the story of Patty Pond, a disgraced Seattle Roller Derby star in rehab, who falls in love with Cloud Nine—the nanotech cyborg she is hired to massage. Instead, Patty breaks him out of the lab, which created him as a host for a dying software titan.

You may have heard that the titans of technology are pumping their fortunes into research to extend life and to defeat death, using quantum leaps in biology, Artificial Intelligence, nanotechnology and cybernetics. They are seeking ‘the Singularity.’ That is the point at which all these cool advances are applied to the human being—and poof! We are suddenly something more than human. Even the likes of Forbes Magazine is predicting that we are at the verge of this long awaited, technological second coming of humanity.

They are called the immortalists—these tycoons of Silicon Valley, the Seattle wunderkinds and aging global celebrities. They are the 1% of the 1%, already fantastically wealthier than the rest of us. Now they are determined to outlive us, too.

This is not fringe stuff. The New Yorker, in a piece entitled Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever, divides the immortalists into two camps—the Meat Puppets and the RoboCops. The former are chasing longevity through biotech advances such as gene editing with CRISPR and anti-aging therapies. The RoboCops—well, use your imagination.

The list of players reads like a Who’s Who of high tech:

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is among those pumping millions into companies such as Unity, which aims to stop the aging process. PayPal founder Peter Thiel is also an investor in Unity. And the Web was seeing red over reports that Thiel also was looking into Ambrosia, which is pursuing a solution sometimes called vampirism—transfusing a young person's blood into an older person. Oracle's Larry Ellison, in his 70’s, has pumped nearly half $1 billion into longevity projects. And then there are Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, who launched Calico with more than $1 billion in Google funding for anti-aging research.

On the RoboCop front, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk just launched Neuralink, which aims to make implants for the human brain using nanotechnology—neural lace-which will allow us to wirelessly interface with a computer or even with another human being. Yeah, we're talking telepathy.

And if these ventures do not produce their magic soon enough, more than a few billionaires are putting down payments on cryogenic plots with companies like Alicor.

One way or the other, the Singularity is near—or already here. And as revolutionary, evolutionary changes go, the Singularity will bring some unanticipated surprises with it. That’s where the story of Cloud Nine begins.