Neuroscientist David Eagleman's new book Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives is a series of fictional explorations of the afterlife that range from downloading one's consciousness to a computer to meeting God (both male and female versions). Fans of Radio Lab on NPR may have heard him as well as a couple pieces from the book on their recent episode about the afterlife (listen to the podcast here).
SFist: How do you define "the afterlife" in Sum? Where did your fascination with ideas of the afterlife begin?
David Eagleman: When I was younger I asked a rabbi whether Jews believed in an afterlife, and, if so, what the afterlife looked like. He answered, "You ask two Jews, you'll get three opinions." I was deeply impressed by the freedom of opinion implied by that answer. I think that brief conversation was probably the seed which turned into Sum about a decade later.