Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

I’m reading a wonderful little book by David Eagleman called Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives. But it’s really “an examination of what it means to live.” At first I marveled at the strangeness of some of the stories but realized none are stranger than the stories most of us grew up with (Bearded white man sitting on golden throne surrounded by harp playing angels). This is a book I’ll keep close and read again and again.

UPDATE (6/18/11):  I’m trying to savor these stories and make them last but I’m getting near the end and everyone is better than the one before. One of my favorites so far is Death Switch:

“So an afterlife does not exist for us per se, but instead an afterlife occurs for that which exists between us. When and alien civilization eventually bumps into Earth, they will immediately be able to understand what humans were about, because what will remain is the network of relationships: who loved whom, who competed, who cheated,who laughed together over road trips and holiday dinners. Each person’s ties to bosses, brothers ad lovers are etched into the electronic communiques. The death switches simulate the society so completely that the entire social network is reconstructable. The planet’s memories survive in zeros and ones.”

I imagined something similar back in 2008.

Author and broadcaster Stephen Fry reads from Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlife, neuroscientist David Eagleman’s first work of fiction.

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