A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Gilgamesh in the 21st Century: A Personal Quest to Understand Mortality
Contact
Cosmos
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
The Day the Universe Changed: How Galileo's Telescope Changed the Truth
Gilgamesh in the 21st Century: A Personal Quest to Understand Mortality
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
At Home: A Short History of Private Life
"Must I die?" asked Gilgamesh. Forty five centuries later, we're still asking the same question.

Science writer Paul Bracken embarks on a lighthearted assessment of the human condition, to explore what it means to be mortal, and what our fate may be. This scientific reimagining of the ancient Gilgamesh quest delves into a multitude of topics including the origin of life, the workings of the human mind, and the possibilities for life prolongation.

The ancient Gilgamesh was so distraught at the death of his friend Enkidu, and so sickened by the knowledge that he too would die, that he rebelled against his fate and set out on a search for salvation. Likewise, at the age of eleven, Bracken wondered if there might be a way to bring his grandfather back from the dead and has been pondering this question ever since. Is death a problem to be solved, or is it an essential aspect of our humanity?
Back in the eighties, astronomer Carl Sagan established a space advocacy group called The Planetary Society, based in Pasadena, California. Author Paul Bracken was the society's representative in Ireland, and he became known as a leading planetary science educator and evangelist.

In 1993, Bracken was recognized by The Planetary Society's founders for his extraordinary initiative and effort in support of the exploration of the solar system, and the search for extraterrestrial life.
"We human beings instinctively resist the notion of personal extinction. In his thoughtful and hugely readable Gilgamesh in the 21st Century, Paul Bracken canters effortlessly through an amazing range of science to help put this fraught human proclivity in perspective, both for himself and for us."

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"In his Gilgamesh in the 21st Century, Paul Bracken mixes ancient myth, modern science, and science fiction futurism on a intellectual quest to explore the meaning of human existence by confronting and challenging the inevitability of mortality.

This is both a highly personal inquiry into the uniquely human knowledge of personal finitude and its implications for human psychology and culture and a scientifically motivated investigation into the dreams and schemes to extend life. He even unsentimentally speculates about a future without human death and how these immortals might look back on our Age of Death.

In his search for physical immortality we are given glimpses of innumerable ways that people confront this destiny and how some are attempting to understand the science of its relentless clockwork in hopes of outwitting it."

-- Professor Terrence W. Deacon
University of California, Berkeley.
-- Ian Tattersall
American Museum of Natural History, NY
Paul Bracken
Advance Praise for Gilgamesh in the 21st Century