Afterlife Code

US Review of Books

"...everything you do is not just your point of view; when you sleep, uploaded into a shared consciousness...that you return to when you die."

A doctor and his long-term client are caught in the middle of the afterlife code—programming which governs the domain of mankind’s shared consciousness. The client, Dr. Melanie Sage, is a brilliant scientist whose autism is controlled by a chip in her brain. Sage has uploaded to her phone the code she wrote to alter her chip, enhancing the part of her brain involved with recognition and engagement. She wants to upload the program with her doctor present for her own safety.

Sage is unaware that Dr. Robert Cobb also has an old-style chip implant to control PTSD from his army days. His chip suddenly causes a seizure. As Sage touches Dr. Cobb to check for life signs, their contact sparks a shock—vast energy that renders them unconscious for hours, maybe days. When finally awake, they experience short bursts of static worlds, alternating at intervals. Escape from this coding afterlife seems possible when Sage and Dr. Cobb receive a revelation from a wise friend. Normalcy resumes once Sage re-executes that decisive button push.

A prolific author, Erickson has created numerous adventure and science fiction novels, utilizing a potent combination of his imagination and professional background (degrees in psychology and sociology as well as expertise in both cognitive behavior and post-traumatic stress). In this 62-page book, Erickson introduces two engaging characters through troubling interactions with their family members. Tensions set up early in the story are skillfully resolved, though in atypical ways, by the end of the story. Unfortunately, Sage’s matchmaking mother and Dr. Cobb’s two grown children, who have won millions in gaming competitions, could not be fully developed in such a short book. Still, readers will be eager to learn how Sage and Dr. Cobb each choose to restructure their lives―after nearly coding out in this take on end-of-life experiences. - Donna Ford