Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I took the Minnesota multiphasic profile test once, and I tested out as paranoid, cyclothymic, neurotic, and schizophrenic. But I also tested out as an incorrigible liar!"
- Philip K. Dick

Anti-agathic drugs  
  Drugs that indefinitely postpone death from old age.  

"...What we want now is something much more direct: an antitoxin against the ageing toxin of humans. We know that the ageing toxin exists in all complex animals. We know that it's a single, specific substance, quite distinct from the poisons that cause the degenerative diseases. And we know that it can be neutralized. When your lab animals were given ascomycin, they didn't develop a single degenerative disease - but they died anyhow, at about the usual time, as if they'd been set, like a clock, at birth...

"So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug..."

Technovelgy from Cities in Flight, by James Blish.
Published by Avon in 1957
Additional resources -

The anti-agathics were part of what made interstellar space flight possible in the novel; the administrators and essential personnel of the cities received the necessary treatments.

Fans aren't sure what Blish was doing in using the greek root "agathos" in this context, since "agathos" means "good". Here's a roundabout explanation, though. Remember that the characters in the novel are talking about a kind of toxin. It turns out that there is a substance called agathic acid that is found in pine needles. Cows that eat too much of these needles sometimes undergo a spontaneous abortion. Agathic acid is an abortifacient; it terminates life. So an anti-agathic - would preserve life? Anyway, nobody knows what Blish really meant.

If you'd like to learn more about it, see this absurdly detailed article at The Oikofuge.

...So I have to throw my hands in the air and acknowledge that Blish just seems to have plain made up some vaguely Greek-sounding names for his anti-death drugs, and evidently didn’t try to keep track of his coinings from one story to the next. But at the time of revision, Blish must have noticed that he’d used three different words in four different stories, and presumably he was aware that he had no sensible etymology to defend even his final choice. He seems to have left us a hint to that effect, in a couple of lines of dialogue he added to the ending of They Shall Have Stars when it was first published in 1956. The lines don’t appear in either of the original short stories that were combined to make the novel:

“[…] Do you also know what an anti-agathic is?”
“No,” Helmuth said. “I don’t even recognize the root of the word.”

Compare to young blood - new blood for old from Methuselah's Children (1941) by Robert Heinlein, the Sprung-Samser treatment from This Immortal (1966) by Roger Zelazny, conscious retarded animation from A Race Through Time (1933) by Donald Wandrei and the anti-Tri-D shot from The Morning of the Day They Did It (1950) by E.B. White.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cities in Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
  Tech news articles related to Cities in Flight
  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

Anti-agathic drugs-related news articles:
  - Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
  - Google Vs. Death
  - Will The FDA Approve This Antiaging Drug?
  - Altos Labs' Bezos Wants An Anti-Agathic (To Live Forever)

Articles related to Medical
Illustrating Classic Heinlein With AI
Brainoware Reservoir Computation Of Biological Neural Networks
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
Octopus Suckers Inspire Transdermal Patches

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.