Copyright 2001 by
I first read this on the 6th April 2002.
Dr. Joanna Lander is a cognitive psychologist at Mercy Gernal Hospital. She's
investigating Near Death Experiences (NDEs) trying to find the causes of the commonly
described lighted-tunnel and other experiences associated with the return from Death's
door. For Joanna, it's scientific research - she doesn't imagine NDEs are
real indicators of any afterlife and believes them to be simply physiological
consequences of the body's trauma. It's not always easy to get a clear
description from her subjects who are, after all, hospital patients and, by definition,
near death. Furthermore the patients interpret such experiences according to their own
outlooks. However the Joanna's difficulties are compounded because her competitor,
Maurice Mandrake, is chasing the same patients to include in his latest
best-selling book on the subject.
But she's beginning to get some clues to the commonality of experiences, and
working with Dr Richard Wright she's also starting to get a clearer
understanding of the physiological effects that lead to the NDEs.
Of course, she still has no idea what NDEs really are. She'll find out soon and
it will change her life forever.
Wow what a rush! "Flatliners" for thinking people. It's awesome writing.
Connie Willis excels at describing manic and disordered environments.
The novel is a frenzied, frantic search for truth and you're riding right
there along with Joanna as she tries desperately to understand near-death
experiences. You feel increasing discomfort as Joanna becomes more obsessed with her
search and you cross your
fingers hoping that she's going to come through this OK. I didn't just have my
fingers crossed, I was shouting at her "Stop! Don't go there! Take a break,
think about what you're doing!" but it didn't help at all, the plot just careered
along exactly as Willis planned.
The only problem is that it isn't SF, it's not even marketed as SF. But it's too
late to pull this review now, it's going live.
Loaded on the 2nd June 2002.