Yeah, I’m in the middle of something else, but this last set of installments of The Hafeem Saul got to me. In Ski Mask Pulled Back, we find out who the guy behind the ski mask was. The answer took me by surprise, and then it made me figure out something I’m not going to say here because you’ll all want the fun of figuring it out yourselves. Unless It’s Not is a short interlude, mostly continuing Ski Mask, but raising the idea that it’s possible to achieve physical immortality. It has this funny bit where Saul runs through all the places where people have looked to find the source of immortality in the past. Is this Saul’s humor, or Oxadrenal’s?
The Philosopher’s Stone, the competent parchment of Satan requiring signature in blood, the forest herb of Wen-zhou, the subjunct Delphic spring, the Island of Endless Fog: These were not found because they do not exist. This quest is long since proven a fool’s errand.
(I especially like the subjunct Delphic spring.) Howard seems to agree it’s a fool’s errand … and then we move to The Essence of Tragedy. A lot happens in this one, enough to spend a long time discussing. (Among other things, Saul gets kissed.)
But here’s the part that got to me:
“I am a very young Hafeem,” [Beatrice] said. “Only a hundred and fifty years old. I don’t know very much compared to all you old guys. But I have something you don’t have: a disease that plans to kill me for certain. It’s a disease that enjoys killing young women, called ovarian cancer. If I were a mortal, I’d be dead in a year. As a Hafeem, I can probably stick it out thirty or forty years … [But] True Immortals don’t get sick, and, within reason, if they’re injured they mostly heal. So if we find their genes and learn how to use them, and if we can do that fast enough, I don’t have to die. I don’t want to die. Do you think I should die, Dr. Pierce?”
A disease that enjoys killing young women. It killed a friend of mine, too.
Damn mortality! But it looks like there’s a plan to fix all that.– Flyss