To Be a Machine | Granta

To Be a Machine

Mark O'Connell

WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2018
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2017

A stunning new non-fiction voice tackles an urgent question… what next for mankind?

‘Troubling and humorous, this is one of my current give-it-to-everyone books – I buy six copies at a time’
Jeanette Winterson

  • Published: 02/03/2017
  • Ebook
  • ISBN: 9781783781973
  • 256 pages

A voyage into the dark heart of transhumanism, where dwell many hopeful mind-uploaders, robo-warfighters, subdermal implanters, doomed immortalists, and sundry aging Singularitarians. A funny, wise, and oddly moving book

Nicholson Baker

O'Connell's forensic investigation of the unnervingly fluid border between the human and the machine is elegant and gripping: at once a hilarious anthropological survey of the people who believe technology will give us eternal life and a terrifying account of how technology is changing the cardinal features of human existence

Olivia Laing

In this hilarious and moving volume, Mark O'Connell interweaves his journalistic adventures among the transhumanists with his own thoughts about mortality and life experiences, starting with the birth of his son and ending, memorably, with a colonoscopy. The field of transhumanism and the individuals who populate it emerge as at once bizarre, compelling, and, ironically, deeply human, because what is more human than trying to overcome the limits of our bodies and mortality? Nothing! It's super-detailed and cosmic and minute and high-stakes and funny and sad, all at the same time

Elif Batuman

The Author

Mark O’Connell is a journalist, essayist, and literary critic from Dublin. He is a books columnist for Slate, a staff writer at The Millions, and a regular contributor to the New Yorker‘s ‘Page-Turner’ blog and the Dublin Review; his work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and the Observer.

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From the Same Author

Notes from an Apocalypse

From the prize-winning author of To Be a Machine – meet the men and women preparing for the end of the world

In the remote mountains of Scotland, in high-tech bunkers in South Dakota and in the lush valleys of New Zealand, small groups of determined men and women are getting ready.

They are environmentalists who fear the ravages of climate change; billionaire entrepreneurs dreaming of life on Mars; and right-wing conspiracists yearning for a lost American idyll. One thing unites them: their certainty that we are only years away from the end of civilization as we know it.

Not unconcerned himself by the possibility of the end of days, Mark O’Connell set out to meet them.