An Author We’re Dying to Meet

With Al Gore already hard at work on his next great invention — the hybrid shuttle — space is no longer the final frontier. Sorry, Spock, but death has taken over as the new wilderness. What happens after the body takes its well-deserved dirt nap? Does the soul go to Heaven? Or — crossing our fingers — to a Vegas penthouse suite, where it’s reanimated inside of Bill Murray just as he’s doing a line off Celine Dion’s ass?

Author and, ahem, neurosurgeon David Eagleman has taken a few pages out of Donald Barthelme’s playbook to investigate the question of the afterlife in his newest book, Sum, composed of 40 short stories that are far more thoughtful and humorous than a thousand Night & Day items. The members at GoodReads.com (Facebook for bookworms) have all but wet themselves over the power of Eagleman’s imagination, liberally tossing around the “genius” tag interspersed with comparisons to avant-icons such as Borges and Calvino. One guy, Louis Cassorla (if indeed that is your real name), even called it “philosophical but easy.” Just like Celine Dion.
Wed., July 8, 8 p.m., 2009
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P. Scott Cunningham