Old Twentieth

This is actually a relatively simple story, but padded out with a series of historical interludes. These are presented as when the main character is exploring a VR world, but most of them don’t directly further the plot. However, they also don’t make the story drag along, and are some of the most entertaining parts of the story. Relatively light reading, like The Coming and Marsbound. I enjoyed it.

Old Twentieth Book Cover Old Twentieth
Joe Haldeman
National Geographic Books
July 25, 2006

The twentieth century lies hundreds of years in humanity’s past. But the near-immortal citizens of the future yearn for the good old days—when people’s bodies were susceptible to death through disease and old age. Now, they immerse themselves in virtual reality time machines to explore the life-to-death arc that defined existence so long ago. Jacob Brewer is a virtual reality engineer, overseeing the time machine’s operation aboard the starship Aspera. But on the thousand-year voyage to Beta Hydrii, the eight-hundred member crew gets more reality than they expect when people entering the machine start to die.