The affinity for all things “dead”..

I’m not sure if it the hospice nurse in me, or just my twisted nature, but I read about a lot of dead things.

The undead, occasional murder mysteries, ghosts, etc.

I even read about the process of humanity’s death i.e. apocalypse.  I read about massive flu outbreaks, zombie

More dead stuff?

infestations, war.

This latest book, however, tops it all:  “The Ups and Downs of Being Dead” by M. R. Cornelius.

The book is one of those mismashes that I love.  A little bit sci-fi, a little bit of a thriller, a little bit romance, a lot of making the reader think.

The basics:  a wealthy man (Robert)  is dying of cancer.  He decides to have himself frozen in liquid nitrogen (think Walt Disney) until he can be reanimated in the future when they will have cures for such things as cancer.

But instead of “sleeping” out the decades, he finds he is more like a ghost.  No one can see him, but he can see the world around him.  He can float through walls, visit people, do amazing things he had never though of doing, but he can’t sleep, he can’t eat and he has the next eight decades to fill.

Robert isn’t alone in all of this.  He meets other “temps” as they are called, others who have made the same decision to be frozen for the future.  They give him a bit of a tutorial on being dead:  what he can do, what he cannot, and advice, mainly concerning his family.

Robert starts reviewing his life, visits his family, and that is where the mishmash begins.  It starts turning into a thriller and a book on familial relationships.  Robert, being a very wealthy man, has two children.  One is now running his company after his death, and the other is a typical spoiled rich kid and ends up getting in major trouble.  Visiting his widow, Robert learns some things he might have been better off not knowing.

The book turns into a romance as well with the addition of another character.  And through an accidental incident with another ghost, Robert learns some surprising skills that go a long way to making “life” more bearable as a dead person.

By the end of the book, it is not just a sci-fi book about being frozen.  It is a tale of forgiveness, love and spirituality.  A character that was really unlikable at first, Robert, is now redeemed.  The overriding theme at the end is that people can change with time, whether embodied or not.

I really loved this book.  The sci-fi element with frozen brains and bodies as well as the wonderment at the abilities the “temps” have.  It made me think about what I would do if I had no constraints of a human body and could spend the next several decades wandering the world, learning and observing.  It also made me wonder about my own relatives that have passed on.

Again, being a hospice nurse, I have had the honor of being with my patients as they are dying.  I have firm spiritual beliefs regarding the afterlife based on my decade of nursing experience and experiences in my own personal life.  This book was quite in line with those views.

Overall a fun, thought-provoking, emotional read.  Definitely eclectic and difficult to categorize.  Loved it.



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