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I once read a story about a man who had recently died. After his passing he went to a kind of after-death nexus where he was told that he had his choice of afterlife from various different cultures, or he had the choice of no afterlife. It turns out that these afterlifes are simulations designed to keep the mind occupied as these people are slowly digested by some kind of worm-like being. This process takes centuries, but is highly pleasurable, and the man has the choice of going into a simulation or simply experiencing the digestion. It is not a secret - everyone knows. It was not in a major sci-fi or fiction magazine - it was on its own site, like The Egg by Andy Weir. The tone was highly optimistic, and the afterlife itself was viewed as a paradise in the story.

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By any chance is the "Passage Of Earth" by Michael Swanwick? It's available on Clarkesworld Magazine

It matches in a major aspect of your question

In death the protagonist re-lives his life over and over as he is continually digested and re-digested by giant space travelling worms.

However it differs in some other areas

  1. It is not a common occurrence
  2. The protagonist doesn't choose his fate
  3. The tone of the story is anything but optimistic, at least until the very end

Towards the end

The protagonist communicates with his worm "host" and realizes he can choose to change the life he experiences, adding a little hope to his hell of eternal digestion.

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    I'm afraid not, but thank you for the detailed response! I'm pretty sure the story started with his death. – user109599 Jun 5 at 13:40

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