A weird and witty debut about a young man’s difficult adjustment to the afterlife.
All that stuff about the White Light is for real, apparently, but it’s about the only thing you’ll recognize in the Life to Come. Advertising copywriter James Broadhurst, a good family man not given to metaphysics or religion, doesn’t know what to expect after he’s killed in a car accident—just as well, really, since the first thing he sees is an airport baggage claim filled with men dressed like Abraham Lincoln. After he fills out all his forms he’s taken to his new home, an apartment he shares with sullen, taciturn Scott. No one needs money up here, but the refrigerator is always full of beer, and James spends most of his early days drinking and watching television reruns of his funeral. He’s eventually hired by the Komacor Corporation as a proofreader and spends his time working on a brochure describing new software. From what James can see, the afterlife is not that different from the before-life—just a lot more boring. The food is decent but bland, work is easy but pointless, and the television sucks. There are some cute girls at work, but no one seems to be able to have a normal conversation up here, much less a relationship. James starts going to bars in the evening, but these all seem the same after a while (although there is one interesting place patronized by gunshot victims). As he reflects on his past and watches his surviving relatives on TV (their lives, right down to the adulteries, are broadcast on the premium channels), James begins to suspect that life was something bigger than he had thought and to wish that he had a second chance. If only there were another tunnel of White Light somewhere about . . . .
Mad, fascinating, and really quite moving in its way: a splendid start both for storywriter Bailie (McSweeney’s, Z End Zine, etc.) and the newly formed Ig Publishing.