Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (2010)
by David Eagleman
buy a copy via Amazon.
synopsis via Goodreads.
At once funny, wistful and unsettling, Sum is a dazzling exploration of unexpected afterlives—each presented as a vignette that offers a stunning lens through which to see ourselves in the here and now. In one afterlife, you may find that God is the size of a microbe and unaware of your existence. In another version, you work as a background character in other people’s dreams. Or you may find that God is a married couple, or that the universe is running backward, or that you are forced to live out your afterlife with annoying versions of who you could have been. With a probing imagination and deep understanding of the human condition, acclaimed neuroscientist David Eagleman offers wonderfully imagined tales that shine a brilliant light on the here and now.
A rather delightfully short read, despite comprising of forty stories, each one is only about two to three pages. Easy to read but at the same time imaginative and thought-provoking in the best way possible, exploring the enigmatic, unconventional possibilities of life beyond death. However, I felt like a lot of the stories fall under similar categories, some theorize a dystopic “heaven”, quite a few about technology, and others about a God that might not have been as perfect as we once thought. All inspiring, concise stories hat make me wish they were fully fleshed out in novels. The vignettes are not so much about explaining what happens as it is trying to shape that if they were true, what would we do about it.