As promised in my previous post, here’s the next one in my series of “slightly more demanding sf” books.
It’s worth noting that 3 of these books are written by people with post-graduate degrees in the hard sciences (Quantum thief, Self-reference ENGINE, and A highly unlikely scenario, or, A Neetsa Pizza employee’s guide to saving the world*). Sean Ferrell, author of Man in the empty suit, apparently developed a BBS-based MUD in the 90s. So lots of STEM expertise here.
Anyways, back to The world of the end.
First things first: this is a book about suicide. Suicide is a major thematic emphasis here so if you find that upsetting then this isn’t the book for you.
*I am going to continue to write out this title in its entirety because I like it and it’s probably my favorite of the books in this series of reviews.
Brief plot summary
Ben Mendelssohn specializes in writing the endings for other people’s work. Overcome by grief at the loss of his wife, he stages an elaborate suicide in order to join her in the afterlife.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the afterlife’s a bit crowded.
Perhaps surprisingly, the afterlife is full of beaurocracy.
The story of Ben’s search for his wwife is intercut with a series of chapters set in modern Israel following various lives. One chapter focuses on the birth, life, and death of a photograph. Many of these chapters deal with the online correspondence of a group of Salman Rushdie officionados. The connection between these chapters and the main narrative are left ambiguous for the majority of the book.
Ben is forced to hire a private detective to assist him in locating his wife. Their journey takes them from the city of Gaymorrah (populated entirely by gay men) to the mysterious forest of family trees.