204 The Self-Defeating Fantasy call it death – until recalled by the Central Computer at some random future time to live with a newly randomized mix of ten million of Diaspor’s billion potential citizens. Yet in this immortal utopia, where merely to speak the name of desire is to have it materialize, our hero Alvin is not just another revenant but “in literal truth […] the first child to be born on Earth for at least ten million years” [15, pg. 17]. It is he who brings fecundity and progress back to a stagnant world. There is no real human life without mortality, without the risk of death. From among all the traits that characterize us, we choose to call ourselves “mortals”. This is the wisdom of Pinocchio. In William Gibson’s  Neuromancer, one character is a so- called “construct”, a computer chip containing the knowledge and personality of a famous denizen of “cyberspace,” the vir- tual reality of the infosphere. He is activated by some “meat” characters who need his help, and he agrees to aid them but with one proviso: at the end of the adventure, “I want to be erased” [16, pg. 206]. Apparently disembodied immortality is as much a trap for Dixie Flatline as aging, embodied mortal- ity is for Tithonus. We understand why, I think, when Case, the protagonist, tells Dixie that “’Sometimes you repeat your- self, man.’” “’It’s my nature,’” Dixie punningly replies [16, pg. 132]. Given enough time, and no body to respond to a changing environment, we would all repeat ourselves, living out patterns, no matter how grand, that lead ultimately to the merest repetition, and hence the destruction of any sense of individuality. Thus   it   is   that   the   sentient   computer   HAL,   in Clarke’s  2001:  A  Space  Odyssey,  ceases  to  be  a  character – an individual – but continues to function as a computer when  his  “higher  function”  boards  are  removed  and  he  is reduced  to  repeating  the  calculations  and  self-identifying serial numbers first programmed into him. [18 pg. 156–157]