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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Here is an unusual topic for fiction. What do you think the afterlife would be like? Author David Eagleman, a neuroscientist and non-fiction writer, presents us with a collection of short stories offering a variety of alternatives. In one afterlife you might relive all of the experiences in your previous life, only grouped together, so that you would sleep for thirty years, stand on line for eighteen months, shower for two hundred days, and more. In another one, you find that after death your role is to populate the dreams of living people; eventually you will return to life and the actors in your dreams will be the dead. In some versions of the afterlife, God is a giantess, or a married couple not always living happily ever after, or a group of Collectors who run scientific experiments using us as the subjects to answer their questions. Heaven might be a comfortable lounge where you get to watch the details in the lives of your descendants. Or it might be a place where everything is immortal, even the things that we create, such as cell phones, knickknacks, old computers, etc. All of these tales and others allow the author to express his ideas of human philosophies, hopes and emotions in a concise volume.

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