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Book review

Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives

by David Eagleman

Sum by David Eagleman

This is a book of 40 short chapters, just a few pages each, each one an alternative story of what might happen after we die. In one, it turns out we are actually God’s organs, how she feels and knows and interacts with the world; in another, you find the afterlife is terribly bureaucratic and we have to queue for everything, because God put us in charge when he found himself increasingly overwhelmed by his creation.

So some of the stories are rather clever – my favourite is that we are organic supercomputers, created by small, slow, creatures to answer the big questions of life – only they are too dim to understand our responses to their questions. Others are neat enough, but left no imprint on me.

Overall, it’s a nicely done short book, with a very interesting idea and some definite bright spots: three and a half stars, rounded down to three as in the end I’m not sure enough of the stories stuck with me, in the end.

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