Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sum: Forty Tales From The Afterlives

by David Eagleman

Sum is a playful anthology of possibilities, a collection of 'what-if' alternatives to more conventional versions of heaven.  Dr. Eagleman, a renowned neurscientist as well as a best-selling author, offers forty versions of 'ever after', some happily, some downright unsettling. Several versions may resonate with the reader's fantasies, e.g. what-if we're part of some immeasurably large life form, a giantess, we merely atoms and our Earth a fleck of protein in one of her cells.

My favorite?  After death we are consigned for a time to a lobby, like an enormous airport waiting area.  Tables are spread with coffee, tea, and cookies; we are free to help ourselves as we wander about making small talk with fellow departees.  Callers periodically emerge with lists, and when you are called, it means your name has been spoken for the last time.  There is no one left to remember you. You exit through a door to who knows where.  Some of those left waiting--their reputations perhaps so soiled, their deeds so misunderstood as they live on in the heads of those who remember them through twisted history--watch with envy as you go.

This slim volume, each vignette a few pages long, is an intriguing read.  But it's far from Dr. Eagleman's only accomplishment, check out his web page.

No comments:

Post a Comment