a + e | novel by Kevin Closs

feat. Ray Kurzweil
May 1, 2021

images | above + below

Portraits of music artist + fiction author Kevin Closs.

— contents —

~ book
~ feature
~ webpages

— book —

book title: Omagee
genre: science fiction
year: 2019
author: by Kevin Closs

this book on Good Reads | visit

— feature —

publication: the Sudbury Star
story title: Singer + Song-Writer: author Kevin Closs explores high cost of immortality
read | feature

— feature —

After 6 years, singer + song-writer Kevin Closs released his first novel. The fiction book is titled Omagee — the story is about character Lia Larkin, who is 72 years old and learning about life for the first time. After decades spent dreaming in the care of an artificially intelligent computer program called iLIFE — Larkin has un-docked to say goodbye to her aged mother.

But something happens while she’s disconnected from the network. The nano-bot colony that keeps her alive fails and she’s left stranded in a world she’s never known. Now she must make a choice — find a way to re-boot her iLIFE existence and embrace immortality, or stay in bioLIFE and discover if she has what it takes to become truly human.

Kevin Closs said:

The story’s about trying to imagine an immortal existence of desire without limits and about trying to make a case for life on the universe’s terms. I’ve borrowed ideas from many of my favorite science fiction + fantasy stories, and used many well-known tropes to tell my tale. But I think I’ve managed to carry my initial question through to the end — hopefully I added something original to the conversation.

Closs is a singer + song-writer and musician: both as an independent recording artist and with his band. Since 1988 he’s released 11 independent albums — and toured widely playing concerts, festivals, and clubs.

Inspiration from futurist Ray Kurzweil.

Closs said the inspiration for his novel came from reading the non-fiction book titled The Singularity Is Near — by Ray Kurzweil. In his many books + talks, Kurzweil promotes the theoretical event called “technological singularity” — a time in the future when computer software advances in intelligence to the point of matching + surpassing human ability.

Kurzweil is a futurist, inventor, entrepreneur, and best-selling author who argues that in the near future — he suggests year 2045 — computers could perhaps become sentient. Beyond this singularity, Kurzweil says it’s impossible to predict anything. But he imagines a world where people no longer need their biological bodies — and can live forever as dis-embodied minds inside virtual worlds of their own imagining.

Having grown-up in the Roman Catholic christian religion — Closs said he’s mused about immortality. But it always strikes him as being impossible to comprehend a thing beyond reality as we know it — a spiritual reality.

Kevin Closs said:

But the book The Singularity Is Near was compelling. It suggested a technological immortality. Rather than living a mortal life, dying, then passing-on into an unknowable spiritual realm — Kurzweil says we’ll simply transfer our minds + personalities into powerful computers. And create our own deathless but intelligible realities.

Ray Kurzweil’s post-singularity world implies an immortal realm still fettered to mortal desires. Paradise, Nirvana, Tian, Moksha — whatever you call it — has always been described as being beyond desire. But Kurzweil  suggests that — instead of leaving our mortal desires behind — we’ll fulfill them, multiply and expand them. Riding the might of infinitely powerful computers.

The idea that we’ll soon be able to trade a mundane existence — along with disease, suffering, death — for a new, unlimited life of desire brings-up many incredible questions.

Will we have access to our friends and families in this new reality? Will we be alone? Will there be an age of consent for immortality? Or will newborn babies be transferred directly to iLIFE?

Thinking about biological + non-biological immortality.

Most importantly: Kurzweil’s book challenged an idea Kevin Closs had always held dear — life, including suffering + death, is meaningful. Our mortality somehow defines us — or at least places us in a comprehensible universe. Suddenly Closs was wondering if life is worth living at all.

Kevin Closs said:

Will we need biological life experience to be able to imagine this new death-less reality? Or will we borrow other life experiences? Or will our lives and experiences be constructed for us? Will we be able to move back and forth between worlds or will we have to leave our bodies behind? And on and on.

Especially if everything I had ever desired would soon be only a thought away. I realized that Kurzweil’s book — whether he knew it or not — was about choice.

Do we roll the dice — and live the brief lives the universe gives us — pleasurable or painful, fulfilled or futile? Or do we cash-out, leave our flesh behind, and live forever in a dream world of our own choosing — where anything is possible? What is the ultimate meaning of bioLIFE — and what is the cost of iLIFE?

— webpages —

name: Kevin Closs
web: home • channel

— notes + abbreviations —

a + e = arts + entertainment

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post title: a + e | novel  by Kevin Closs
deck: feat. Ray Kurzweil

collection: the Kurzweil library
tab: a + e

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