In this astounding book, David Eagleman entertains 40 fictional possibilities of life beyond death. With wit and humanity he asks the key questions about existence, hope, technology and love.
These stories are full of big ideas and bold imagination.This audiobook assembles a stellar cast of readers who bring the scenarios of SUM brilliantly alive: Gillian Anderson, Emily Blunt, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Jack Davenport, Lisa Dwan, David Eagleman, Noel Fielding, Kerry Fox, Stephen Fry, Clarke Peters, Lemn Sissay and Harriet Walter.
©2009 David Eagleman (P)2010 Canongate Audiobooks
"You will not read a more dazzling book this year." (Stephen Fry)
"SUM has the unaccountable, jaw-dropping quality of genius." (Observer)
"This delightful, thought-provoking little collection...will haunt the reader long after the last page has been turned." (Alexander McCall Smith)
"Elegant, surreal and philosophically questioning, each story from neuroscientist Eagleman offers an inventive, thought-provoking blend of science and romance." (Metro)
"SUM is terrific . . .The inventiveness, the clarity and wit of the prose and the calm air of moral understanding that pervades this book add up to something completely original." (Philip Pullman)
"Read SUM and be amazed." (Time)
"Witty, bright, sharp, and unexpected - as surprising a book as I've read for years. Every story is a new Heaven." (Brian Eno)
Everything about this audiobook is great. As a collection of stories Sum is unique and benefits from being written by a fiction virgin in neuroscientist David Eagleman. His work on the brain and personal responsibility, among other topics, has made him one of the most fascinating young non-fiction writers in the world. But such are his annoyingly numerous talents that he is able to produce a series of speculative shorts on the theme of the afterlife that is both artfully written and intellectually playful.The stories follow no particular stylistic or narrative tradition, which makes them free to be open-ended, thought-provoking, metaphysical aperitifs, if I can be so prolix.
Some of the scenarios dreamed up in this work will stay with you and for those who are worried, it's not overtly religious or even theistic at all really. It's kind of an agnostic's meditation on what the afterlife could be like and what we mean when we say "afterlife". I'm not at all religious and although I don't think any of the scenarios are literally possible, they are intellectually possible, inasmuch as they are primers for thinking about mortality, consciousness, time, religion, parallel universes, eternity, etc.
The cast of multiple narrators worked very well and they are all great readers, particularly the always lovely and eloquent Stephen Fry, the lachrymose Nick Cave and the sportive Emily Blunt. Eagleman himself even displays his skills as a reader on this recording ??? even more reason to resent this multitalented upstart.
Highly recommended as a fresh approach to short fiction, which works particularly well in the audiobook medium.
BRILLIANT! So thought provoking and sometimes horrifying. This collection is an absolute must and to boot it's wonderfully read
"Sum-thing to think about"
I love listening to these stories over and over again. Each one contains an idea or concept to mull over, which if dragged out into an entire book, would be lost on the reader. The short format of the stories and their playful nature stops them from ever becoming too heavy or too philosophical.
I recommend this as a book to listen and relisten to over and over again.
"A gem of a book not to be missed"
If you have things to do before the end of this year - downloading this book MUST be one of them. From the get go you know you are onto a winner - no matter what genre of book you prefer to read.. make this one for your collection. It is without a doubt simply brilliant.
ps I don't normally give reviews believing that people should be able to make up their own minds and would hate to rate something either good or bad as someone else may very well have a different view - BUT all that said, do yourself a good deed and get this book.
I absolutely love this! I have read this as well as listened to it three times. I love how easily digestible it is with most of the stories only lasting 2 or 3 minutes. However in that 2 or 3 minutes the most profound message can be communicated. Some have stayed with me more than others but I love them all. What an amazing mind David Eagleman has, I am envious of his talent and how he managed to create all these different Worlds and give them such life in the short space of time that each story lasts. Also with the all-star cast of narrators you will not be disappointed, I could not complain about any of them as they are brilliant.
"I love this book"
The all-star narrator line-up notwithstanding, I love this book and its varied takes on what might happen after we die. Spanning religious, spiritual, natural and atheist doctrine whilst managing to remain unpatronising and often amusing, these vignettes are a must for anyone who suffers the occasional existential crisis.
Having both read and listened to this book, I find that I prefer the audio version for the lovely range and variation of narration, although I'll admit that I love them both.
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