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A scientist is hired by an ultra-wealthy woman to resurrect/clone her dead husband, as an extension of research he was already doing. "Ultra-wealthy" doesn't even begin to describe it. It is explained that the truly rich are wealthy enough to buy medium-sized countries, and are never in the spotlight because they can always buy off the spotlight and direct it elsewhere. In other words, they're far wealthier than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc.

His patron sets the scientist up on a remote idyllic island to continue his research. IIRC he makes the necessary breakthrough, but too late. As payment he's given an "unlimited" credit card, which he destroys.

He finds out that the island, fishing village, etc. were set up just for him, and are being torn down again. The people on the island were all actors. He belatedly realizes that he might have been able to provide an alternative means of making the woman happy.

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  • Did the plot also involve reincarnation?
    – Joe L.
    Oct 23 '14 at 3:35
  • @joe-l , I don't remember the details very clearly, but I think the idea was basically some kind of high-tech reincarnation.
    – Eric Smith
    Oct 23 '14 at 7:32
  • Not in the sense that the guy was going to be born as a child somewhere else, though.
    – Eric Smith
    Oct 23 '14 at 7:59
  • Since you don't remember the details, here is one I read (although it does not fit completely). The husband was dying of some kind of cancer that producer "cloned fetus" of himself. The story ends with the woman in stasis and one of the fetus surviving enough to "born"; the idea was that the kid was going to "reenact" the life of the husband with the help of actors. Does that ring a bell?
    – SJuan76
    Oct 23 '14 at 9:00
  • @SJuan76 That's definitely not the one I'm thinking of, but it certainly sounds interesting.
    – Eric Smith
    Oct 23 '14 at 9:20
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Theodore Sturgeon's "When You Care, When You Love." First published in 1962.

Sylvia Wyke is the richest person in the world, and when her husband, Guy, dies, she puts all of her vast resources into cloning him, and then arranging the events of the clone's life so his upbringing will reproduce Guy's personality (she has herself cryogenically frozen in the meantime).

You can read some of it here.

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  • I think you are describing the same I did in my comment. +1 anyway, because I did not remember its name.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 23 '14 at 9:31
  • Was able to read it online. Definitely not the story I'm looking for, though it is interesting how much parallel there is (super rich, resurrection by cloning).
    – Eric Smith
    Oct 23 '14 at 9:36
  • That is weird . . . I was sure it was the right one! I wonder if the one you read was an homage?
    – Viergacht
    Oct 24 '14 at 13:45
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Found it by coincidence while looking for something else entirely. "The Totally Rich" by John Brunner, originally in Worlds of Tomorrow, June 1963. Also in Brunner's collections Out of My Mind (1967) and The Best of John Brunner (1988), and several anthologies.

They are the totally rich. You've never heard of them because they are the only people in the world rich enough to buy what they want: a completely private life. [...] They do not have neighbors, and if they require a murder they do not use so clumsy a means as an ax. [...] And if by some other million-to-one chance the searchlight does tend towards them, they buy it and instruct the man behind it to switch it off.

How many of them there are I don't know. I have tried to estimate the total by adding together the gross national product of every country and dividing by the amount necessary to buy a government of a major industrial power. It goes without saying that you cannot maintain privacy unless you can buy any two governments.

I think there may be one hundred of these people. [...]

They are not on maps. [...] Literally, where they choose to live becomes a blank spot in the atlases. They are not in census lists, Who's Who, or Burke's Peerage. They do not figure in tax collectors' files, and the post office has no record of the addresses. Think of all the places where your name appears--the yellowing school registers, the hospital case records, the duplicate receipt form in the store, the signature on letters. In no single such place is there one of their names.

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