I'm trying to identify this short story:

Humanity has made a transition from being corporeal beings to digital ones, their consciousnesses being run as a computer program. One day there's a power failure, and some of the consciousnesses get shut down (they "die"). They wake up in the afterlife to find themselves in a dark place with a single person. He had been left there to guide the dead to heaven/whatever, but it had been so long since he'd seen anyone that he no longer knew the way. Soon the power came back, and the people were removed from the land of the dead, and this guide was left alone again.

  • 1
    I am also curious to know about it. Where did you find it: Novel, Book, Comics, Movie, Telefilm or TV Show...? – Wakanda Forever Mar 10 '12 at 19:50
  • Also... approximately how long ago? Can you recall if the story took place exclusively in the (digital) realm of the dead or were there forces outside of the virtual that you were exposed to (i.e., were you made privvy to what brought the power back online, etc)? – Josh Mar 11 '12 at 3:19
  • @SachinShekhar I believe it was in a collection of short stories, but the memory is very vague. Maybe the author was named Daniel something? Or it was in a book of nebula award winners? – canisrufus Mar 11 '12 at 18:37
  • 1
    @Josh A decade ago, +/- 5 years. I was a pretty prolific reader in my school days. I remember only scenes from the realm of the dead. I don't think the cause of the power outage or return were addressed, at least, I don't remember it. I just remember that each group would leave one behind to guide the way, but then people stopped dying, and this guide stayed so long he forgot the path. I think it talked about (digital) skiing. This guy's plight has stuck with me, but the intervening years have been rough on the rest of the details. – canisrufus Mar 11 '12 at 18:49
  • I read a story with this plot. In it, after the power failure, he was backed up and restored, only to find that the company he had purchased his digital afterlife plan had gone out of business and sold its "assets", including the protagonist. He was turned into a female and expected to cyber-whore himself out. It was awesome... COuld that be it? – Nathan C. Tresch Apr 27 '12 at 11:45

It's called "The Last Ghost" by Stephen Goldin. It was a 1972 nominee for a Nebula award.

  • Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh! – canisrufus May 17 '12 at 14:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.