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In this story, the dying protagonist discovers that Heaven is a real, physical place, but not what he expected. On reawakening, he chutes down a miles-long slide into a bowl-shaped city that, he is informed, is Heaven. He is surprised by not being injured or even hurt during this undignified procedure. In Heaven, it turns out, everyone has an identical, sexless, golden body that needs no sleep or nourishment. There isn't anything meaningful to do with these perfect bodies, which are not very sensitive, and as eternity awaits, everyone is very bored. No one is allowed to leave. It's explained that higher beings have provided humanity with an average of all their expectations about the afterlife, which means in practice that no one is satisfied. The higher beings, however, are not sympathetic to complaints. The protagonist finds a sympathetic ear in another soul who shows him that they can derive some slight physical pleasure by gnawing on each other's thighs. This, however, is noticed and punished.

This rather perverse story was published in English, probably during the 70s to 90s in an anthology. It had that New Wave feel of trying to challenge or outrage the readers.

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    Although not the actual story requested here, a similar situation arises in Robert Heinlein's "Job: A Comedy Of Justice", where heaven turns out to be run rather like a large corporation; Hell is populated by a lot of independent contractors; God is a small-minded, rule-obsessed jerk; and Satan is tired of the whole deal and wants to push the reset button on the universe. – Bob Jarvis Jun 4 at 23:05
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This is Philip Jose Farmer's "A Bowl Bigger Than Earth " which was first published in If, September 1967. Your description is spot-on. (Here's a link to an online version.)

It's been published a few other places -- the most accessible in book forms is probably Down in the Black Gang. See ISFDB for details.

It's a very odd story.

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    Dead on. Thank you. I don't recognize any of the book covers for this story in the ISFDB, but the link allowed a positive identification. – Invisible Trihedron Jun 3 at 20:44
  • "When you are tired of Ursa Minor Beta you are tired of life." --Playbeing Magazine – Occam Shave Jun 5 at 0:37

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