Some of these stories were indeed imaginative scenarios of what the afterlife is like or what God might be like But because his Heaven or God is always imagined as some inversion of a human hierarchy or scaleit gets repetitive very fast God always lacks some human quality that intrinsically keeps him as God and us as humans, orhe s just like us, but just a smaller or larger scale Because his Heaven is always some rearranged variation of the human life, all the stories start to sound the same Because these stories are so hypothetical and abstract, they become very repetitive and you feel as if he s flogged his one trick pony to death by the end of the book I also disliked the author s photonot his looks, just the photo For those who did like it you might want to check out Pieces for the Left Hand by John Lennon who writes in a similar deadpan way about everyday life His stories are imagintave in an engaging in a personal way rather than just hypothetical way. My favourite video game of all time is a homemade 2D platformer on the little known Yaroze a black, programmable Playstation calledTime SlipIn this game you are a snail with a one minute lifespan who has to use his time on screen to stand on buttons that open doors to other parts of the level Once the minute is up, the snail is reincarnated as another snail at the beginning of the level, or at the latest checkpoint The ghost of your previous snail remains on the map, reliving its movements after its time is up, with and fresh snails coming until the map gets clogged up with past selves If you come into contact with any of your previous snail selves, it s game over This raises quite a profound metaphysical conundrum for a cheapo game coded by two nerds Imagine if we had the chance to live our lives over, in the same circumstances, with knowledge of our previous selves altering how we moved through the world, but relying on certain foundations having been laid in these previous lives for advancement in our then present lives Like concentric Russian dolls whose contact would spell extinction.Knowing we had freedom to live multiple, or endless lifetimes, with the only caveat no touching our previous selves, how would this effect how we try to solve the frustrations and problems in our present lives, knowing contact with people in our previous lives would be limited to the few moments our past selves weren t in contact with these people For example, can you imagine how tiring it must be for someone married to seven reincarnations of the same person, having to tend to all their needs like a revolving door of husbands wives How could we stay away from people, knowing our presence there would increase the chance of our own death How could we order our lives so that our legacies built up over two hundred or so years What if we peaked in our first lives, and the subsequent reincarnations are simply failures and frustrations Not bad for a Yaroze game normally it s variations on Tetris or Space Invaders These clever short fictions posit such conundrums about the afterlife, from Sum, where all the aspects of our lives are arranged in order, i.e ten years of pain, two weeks writing reviews on Goodreads, or Reversal where we live our lives backwards upon death, realising we have misremembered our lives, and are unable to identify ourselves in the rewind These two tales open and close the collection Using his background in neuroscience, Eagleman pens delightful hypothetical fables, largely whimsical and ingenious Daintily packaged and teasingly slim, so almost impossible to resist I heard about this book via this Intelligence Squared talk with Will Self. In The Afterlife You May Find That God Is The Size Of A Microbe And Unaware Of Your Existence Or You May Find The Afterlife Contains Only Those People Whom You Remember In Some Afterlives You Are Split Into All Your Different Ages, In Some You Are Recreated Based On Your Credit Card Records, And In Others You Are Forced To Live With Annoying Versions Of Yourself That Represent What You Could Have Been In These Wonderfully Imagined Tales At Once Funny, Wistful And Unsettling Eagleman Kicks Over The Chessboard Of Traditional Notions And Offers Us A Dazzling Lens Through Which To See Ourselves Here And Now His Stories Are Rooted In Science And Romance And Awe At Our Mysterious Existence A Mixture Of Hope, Love And Death That Cuts Through Human Nature At Innovative Angles 5 Everyone is a brother to all, and for the first time an idea has been realized that never came to fruition on Earth true equality The Communists are baffled and irritated, because they have finally achieved their perfect society, but only by the help of a God in whom they don t want to believe The meritocrats are abashed that they re stuck for eternity in an incentiveless system with a bunch of pinkos The conservatives have no penniless to disparage the liberals have no downtrodden to promote So God sits on the edge of Her bed and weeps at night, because the only thing everyone can agree upon is that they re all in Hell I recently re read this and still love it I ll leave my original review below and add some excerpts now I ve read or browsed through this several times, and I never remember all the possibilities, but I definitely remember the sense of be careful what you wish for that permeates all of the stories.The quotation above shows that in that example, nobody s happy, including God Herself This is from a chapter titled Descent In the afterlife, you are treated to a generous opportunity you can choose whatever you would like to be in the next life What a great idea What could possibly go wrong You think a simple, unhurried life sounds good, one with no major decisions to make You give it some thought and figure you might try life as a horse this time You make your choice, and as your mind begins to slowly change, easing you into your new, peaceful form You realize that the next time you return here, with your thick horse brain, you won t have the capacity to ask to become a human again You won t understand what a human is Your choice to slide down the intelligence ladder is irreversible And just before you lose your final human faculties, you painfully ponder what magnificent extraterrestrial creature, enthralled with the idea of finding a simpler life, chose in the last round to become a human What alien life form did we descend from then Ah, it s wonderful, and no two chapters are the same I ll be ready to enjoy them again one day, I m surechokengtitiktitikchokengs I listened to many of the stories on the audio version and they were terrific Different narrators both male and female voices with different native accents Great way to differentiate the stories 2011 brief review and I DID buy a copy.Loved this one May have to lash out and actually BUY a copy I m a library lover who has given away countless books with every move The tales are short, inventive, thought provoking imaginings of what comes after life I recommend reading only one or two at a time to let the ideas soak in Now, I look forward to reading them again because I m never going to remember all the options of what lies beyond Door Number Two. Work Of Genius. Now I ve read Sum twice First on a plane flight in one big sitting, then years later one story a day for 40 days Honestly, the first way was better The stories that are good are really, really good But none of them have much staying power, so the emotional rollercoaster of reading them one after another was fun and resonant than taking my time.5 stars on my first reading, 4 stars on my second. This is a suite of variations on the possibilities of different kinds of afterlives Each of the forty tales is usually only about a couple of pages long, but each one is densely packed with mind bending what ifs He imagines wildly different ways that an afterlife, if it existed, could be structured Some are exquisitely sad, such as this first paragraph from Metamorphosis There are three deaths The first is when the body ceases to function The second is when the body is consigned to the grave The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time Others offer the possibility of a sublime eternity, in which the self is split into an infinite set of selves, as in a prism, which exist simultaneously, and interact, as multiple versions of the self at different ages, meeting together periodically at reunions.This is one to re read, in parts, randomly Delightful. Ve Sonraki Hayattan K rk yk beni ocuklu uma g t ren bir kitap oldu Hayal g c m n hen z ok rselenmedi i hayat m n ilk y llar nda s rekli evrene, varolu a ve Tanr ya dair g l n ama kendimce mant kl fikirlerin hayalini kurard m Bu kitapta da ayn yle tasavvurlar var E lenceli ve zihni geli tiren bir okuma vaat etti ini s yleyebilirim Ancak ben yk leri arka arkaya okuma hatas na d t m yle olunca s rekli kendini tekrar eden ve birbirinin zerine binen par ac klar okumu oldum ve nihayetinde de s k ld m Di er yandan yk ler o kadar k sa ki bu benim al k oldu um bir kurmaca s resi de il ki sayfa da anlat lan ey iki dakikada ak ldan u ar gibi bir hissin i ine d t m uan bir iki tane yk y hat rl yorum Yine de keyifli ve farkl bir okuma oldu unu s yleyebilirim Yine de siz okurken bir iki tane okuyup, ara verip, ilerleyin bence.Herkese iyi okumalar dilerim. This book blew me away I underlined and starred dozens of sentences and typed them in to my friends on email Sum tells 40 vignettes from the afterlife, but you quickly figure out that a the stories are mutually exclusive if one is true then the others cannot be , and b the stories are not about the afterlife at all, but instead unusual portraits about the here and now After I read it I found out that the author David Eagleman is a brain scientist during the day, and that explains a bit about the words he chooses and the way he imagines things outside the normal storytelling box It s a rare and successful mix of literature and future oriented thinking I feel like a I got mentally stretched quite a bit Someone on this forum here made a comparison of this book to Borges, which I agree with and I also think Italo Calvino would be an appropriate comparison For a stimulating read with a dense array of new ideas that will stick with you for a long time to come, I recommend it highly. You do not have to be a subscriber to any of the common religions in this world to harbor some notion, some hope, that there might be a form of personal existence beyond death Eagelman has come up with forty possible post mortem futures and offers them up in bite size stories in this slim volume The tales range from tedious to inspired There is an O Henry esque tale in which a man s greatest desire is to become a horse A vision of God as being fascinated with Mary Shelley s masterpiece was inspired Some portray people as cogs in a much larger reality some are morality stories in which we come face to face with the true nature of who we were during our actual lives People can be cancer cells in the body of God or walking recorders in a vast experiment, sometimes we are the experiment As with science fiction, a consideration of the post mortal applies its selected mask to foibles, values and triumphs of humans The images that are created are views of ourselves as we are, and not so much as we might be There is a great deal of clever in this collection, interesting ideas, too many devoid of personal or emotional content Occasionally I found myself reviving my inner teen, rolling my eyes and muttering whatever, but a few pages on would come across a story that was wonderful If you can tolerate the ups and downs and are willing to work through a lot of lesser notions to get to the jewels, Sum is well worth reading It will not take up much of what little time you have left BTW My book goddess will be featured Friday, 7 8 16 on Book Studio 16, a Harper live program on Facebook that shows publishing behind the scenes It will be on at 10 30a Click here.If you have questions about working in publishing, they will be welcomed there.