Nebula Nominee's "Lost" Future History Series!
In this sf masterwork—which has never been reprinted since its original magazine publication—virtual reality, genetic engineering and technological breakthroughs have extended life, cleaned up the environment, and assured abundance for everyone, ushering in an era of peace and plenty around the world. Everyone tunes in to experience first hand, via the sensipsych, the broadcast adventures of the real-life Hartwells, an adventurous family of explorers who visit new, largely unknown corners of the solar system each week.
But real adventure, even scientific progress, seems dead. Humanity has become a race of drones dreaming its life away. And one group knows it has the answer: violence! Rip up civilization and return humanity it to its roots, the struggle for survival. Never mind the millions, perhaps billions, who will die and suffer. The liberation of humanity from the chains of torpor is worth any price, isn't it?
Enter Anson Nord, science fiction's most unlikely hero. Plump, genial, decent, a through-going suburbanite, Nord's not in favor of violence, but he can see the trap humanity is caught in. So, when revolution breaks out, when the world's media center and power grid is bombed, cutting off the virtual reality broadcasts and power, it will be Anson Nord who leaves his comfortable home and life behind and makes a daring voyage to Jupiter, in search of the Hartwells who have disappeared. There on one of Jupiter's moons await the ruins of an ancient civilization. And, there Nord will make a discovery that points directly to the death of humanity under the weight of perfection—or its liberation in the face of a challenge that will render the revolutionaries' violence unnecessary.
But how can a man who likes to mow his lawn and tune into his favorite virtual reality shows survive the dangers of space, treachery aboard his own ship, the perils of an alien race, and the crushing gravity of Jupiter? The world needs a hero, but is a man like Anson Nord up to the role's demands? Anson Nord would the last person to think so!
Passport to Jupiter is part of golden-age sf writer Raymond Z. Gallun's Demi-Gods series, a future history which will link nanotechnology, "vitaflesh" in which humans can be reborn to live virtually forever, and a Mars colonized by the old who have been reborn young and for whom there is no room left on Earth, to form a picture of the pressures and developments that will drive men and women to the stars. Passport to Jupiter ends with the development of vitaflesh and leads directly to the novel Dawn of the Demi-Gods (otherwise known as People Minus X, though Gallun preferred the former. See the "Related Products" tab).
As Sam Merwin, Jr., author of the Elspeth Mariner crosstime adventures, wrote, Passport to Jupiter is "a grand novel of the not too distant future ... an intensely human story told with a wealth of detail that brings it to vivid life. It is a story of interplanetary sweep, of corruption and calm idealism, of cowardice and heroism. It is in short, a wonderful story."