Bewildering Stories

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Dr. S. M’Kinti, “Profiles of Four People Living with Anti-Geria:
Third Profile,”
Journal of Anti-Geric Studies, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2003

by Thomas R.

The first two profiles appeared in issue 78.

The Third and Fourth profiles shall be an example in contrast. I will begin with the youngest patient I have studied. Possibly the youngest patient with the condition, although those of near-normal ages are hard to determine. I will end with the oldest patient recorded.

Willem Van Leeuwen: He was born in 1764 in the Netherlands. His aging slowed at 17 and in appearance he seems to be approximately 19 years old. My estimate is that he has aged at 0.9% of standard. He has only been married once and never had children.

Willem has lead, perhaps, a mostly quiet life. Although anti-gerics are safe from disease and all but the most serious accidents, many of us, as you know, are physically unremarkable. Willem describes himself as “nerdy.” He tended to be thin, unathletic, and bookish. He showed signs of a promising intellect and at 15 went to Paris to study mathematics. At 17 he dropped out after getting an offer to work for a Dutch bank. The rest of his life would involve working at banks, or accounting firms. They have given him an orderly and comfortable life. They have also given him the security to pursuit his main passion.

Mr. Van Leeuwen claims to have the longest continuous career as a science fiction fan in history. The claim is somewhat disputed as Eleanor of Navarre translated More’s Utopia into Basque in the seventeenth century and knew Voltaire, but her involvement has been intermittent. Hence he added “continuous.” In any event, in the 1820’s he was married to a relative of a Dutch poet named Willem Bilderdijk. Mr. Van Leeuwen tried, unsuccessfully, to get one of the writer’s most science fictional works translated into French. After that he translated Mary Shelly into Dutch, became friends with Jules Verne, helped fund early German science fiction films, and attended every Worldcon since 1957. He has a collection of autographed science fiction works stretching from Shelly to Baker. He also has various “unknown” letters that Hugo Gernsback wrote him when he still lived in Luxembourg. At the time, though, he did not see these as science fiction involved, but only wrote to him because “the boy shares my excitement about this thing Marconi’s started” i.e. radio.

He had other interests and accomplishments too. He has collected many books on mathematics, engineering, as well as a copy of a George Sand novel she gave him. His own literary pursuits include a successful translation into Dutch of a book on game theory and an episode of a short-lived TV anthology series. At present he lives in a small estate near Rotterdam. He intends to accomplish more someday, but as I estimate he may have over 5,000 years left he feels no need to hurry.

The fourth profile will appear in issue 82.

Copyright © 2004 by Thomas R.

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