This is the first short novel of four that comprise the tales of Lazarus Long as he records his memoirs to placate his descendants while he undergoes rejuvenation—a process begun against his will by Ira Wetheral, the current Chairman Pro Tem of the Howard Families. “Chairman Pro Tem” because the rightful chairman of the Families—not a biological family, strictly, but an association of people bred for long life and named for Ira Howard, the philanthropist who funded, back in the 19th Century Gregorian, a project to lengthen the lifespan of humans simply by subsidizing the marriage and production of offspring of people with a genetic predisposition to long life. The Chairman of these families, by tradition, is the eldest member. When Howard’s experiment was not a century old, and Howard himself was already dead, it produced a mutant named Woodrow Wilson Smith. By 2012, Smith, under the pseudonym Lazarus Long, was the oldest man alive, Senior of the Families. It was a position he would hold for the next 23 centuries, and still counting as of Robert Heinlein’s last published work.