Because death without backups or uploads is rare in the civilized galaxy, especially on any angelnetted world or habitat, thanatologists often have a reputation in the popular mind as eccentrics with unusual interests, even morbid tastes. The thanatologist is interested in all aspects of the death process as it appears in contemporary mortalist, prim, and ancient historical cultures, including legal, moral, cultural, philosophical and religious aspects. Some thanatologists may specialize in particular means of mortality, including suicide, euthanasia, warfare, state execution (in barbaric feral regions), genocide, culling, accidents involving loss of backup data, and nihilistic transcension. Some study various prim and ancient beliefs concerning the afterlife, reincarnation, and ghosts and spirits.
Amortalist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A person who opposes death, and who lives their life in such a way to continue their physical (or virtual) existence indefinitely. Many of the early cyborgs and transhumanists were amortalists.
Immortalist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Stephen Inniss A sophont who aspires to attain physical immortality through indefinite perpetuation of a biological, technological or cyborg body, or software equivalent. This involves various preservation and renewal measures, including intelligence modification such as life-memory archiving. Most immortalists end up losing their personal identity after a few thousand years at most.
Immortality - Text by M. Alan Kazlev While literal physical immortality remains a contentious point in a universe that, although vast, is still finite, the wonders of modern medical nano mean that all citizens of the Civilized Galaxy, to say nothing of the higher toposophic ai, are potentially immortal; at least on angelnetted worlds. See also life-extension, afterlife.