Sum: Forty Tales From The Afterlives Essay

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Neuroscientist David Eagleman wrote Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives. Given its speculative fiction nature, Sum encompasses a plot of what happens after we die. Do we pass on to heaven? Are we reincarnated? Do we meet God? The novel answers these questions and more. Sum does not have a linear plot or a plot at all for that matter. It instead has a set of forty tales, as mentioned in the title, each having their own plot with a possible afterlife. Although each story does not correlate, each one provides a thought provoking message in the conclusion of the tale. Eagleman chose to write these narratives with the reader as the main character—second person—so the reader can imagine the afterlives as if it was his or her own fate. This novel…show more content…
I could choose which ones I enjoyed and agreed with. As mentioned earlier, the genre of Sum is speculative fiction. Popular novels of this genre include Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and George Orwell’s 1984. While speculative fiction includes a wide variety of narratives, Sum is on another level since it hypothesizes the afterlife not just a future society. In comparison to other David Eagleman novels, which are typically non-fiction, Sum is a more imaginative and more motivating. A major theme the book introduces is the consequence. This theme effectively allows the reader to reconsider the consequences of their actions. For example, one vignette mentions that in the afterlife, the only people there are those you had met when you were alive, such as the man in the elevator, the best friend in high school, the ex-girlfriend, etc. As a result, if you did not introduce yourself or meet numerous people, the amount of people in your afterlife are consequently undersized. By doing this, Sum appealed to me personally on an emotional level. It caused me to reflect my life choices and deliberate what I desire my future to
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