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The Simulated Life Elapsed Process aka The Death Trip is touted as a pharmaceutical alternative to end of life pain and suffering — a dream state that makes the user’s last minutes feel like years spent living the perfect existence. But is this one-way ride really the paradise promised by Panacium Inc?
Is the Death Trip “comfort care for the dying” or something more nefarious?
I bought this short ebook (maybe 100 pages if a paperback?) on the basis of the hook: a freaky, original twist on assisted suicide, and for a dollar I was not disappointed. Stein writes with intelligence, and her novella is pretty well-edited overall. The protagonist, Chuck, is an unambitious, unsuccessful journalist whose beloved grandmother just took “the trip”. He decides to write a story about the company–and to investigate the secret agenda his new girlfriend claims the company has. STRENGTHS: thought-provoking commentary on end of life issues, euthanasia, and the uncertainties inherent in research on the brain and death. WEAKNESSES: cheesy and excessive plot twist near the end, with a cliffhanger ending so abrupt that I thought my ereader had malfunctioned. The unfinished ending bugged me, but what there is of the book stayed with me for a while, which is why I’m writing this review.
Parent alert: profanity; sex