SUM shows us forty wonderfully imagined possibilities of life beyond death.In one afterlife you may find that God is the size of a microbe and is unaware of your existence. In another, your creators are a species of dim-witted creatures who built us to figure out what they could not. In a different version of the afterlife you work as a background character in other people?s dreams. Or you may find that the afterlife contains only people whom you remember, or that the hereafter includes the thousands of previous gods who no longer attract followers. In some afterlives you are split into your different ages; in some you are forced to live with annoying versions of yourself that represent what you could have been; in others you are re-created from your credit card records and Internet history. Many versions of our purpose here are proposed; we are mobile robots for cosmic mapmakers, we are reunions for a scattered confederacy of atoms, we are experimental subjects for gods trying to understand what makes couples stick together. These tales?at once witty, wistful and unsettling?are rooted in science and romance and awe at our mysterious existence while asking the key questions about death, hope, technology, immortality, love, biology and desire that expose radiant new facets of our humanity.
The possibilities for the afterlife are infinite, and infinity is beyond our imagination, but that has never prevented people from formulating their own ideas about what awaits us in death. In these short stories, neuroscientist David Eagleman has compiled 40 such manifestations of the afterlife, which go far beyond halos, harps or a hot place. What if God is one of the zillion microbes inside us, unaware of our existence as separate entities? What if we are doomed to relive our most mundane actions in their entirety, so that we spend a year sneezing and six months stuck in traffic? What if life has spiraled beyond God's control, such that he has had to outsource our assignments in the afterlife, so that we end up waiting for the bureaucracy of heaven to find our case? Even if it seems highly unlikely that we are cyborgs built to map the planet, or test subjects in a grand survey on relationships, or a family reunion for the atoms in our bodies, these imaginative ideas are certainly conceivable, and sometimes the mere possibility of an idea is more significant than its probability.
- Fiction + Literature Themes
- Philosophy, Literary Genres + Types of Novels
- June 8, 2010
- June 8, 2010
- David Eagleman
- Jarvis Cocker (Narrator), Stephen Fry (Narrator), Clarke Peters (Narrator), Harriet Walter (Narrator)