The Ups and Downs of Being Dead by @marshacornelius - unique sci-fi plot #review

The Ups and Downs of Being Dead

Written by M. R. Cornelius

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Book Synopsis

Fifty-seven year old Robert Malone is the CEO of a successful clothing store chain and married to a former model. When his doctor tells him he is dying of cancer, he refuses to go quietly. Instead of death, Robert chooses cryonics. He knows it's a long shot. His frozen body will be stored in liquid nitrogen for the next seventy-five years, and then he'll wake up in the future. That is, if technology develops a way to bring him back.

He's willing to take that gamble.

What he doesn't realize is that he won't lie in some dreamless state all that time. His soul is very much awake, just like the others who were frozen before him. And like these souls in limbo, Robert begins a new kind of life outside his physical body.

He discovers that he can ride in the cockpit with the pilots, but he can't turn the page of a magazine. He can sit in the oval office with the president, but he can't prevent a child from dashing in front of a car. He doesn't work, or eat, or sleep. He can't smell, or taste, or touch. These obstacles make it difficult to experience love, and virtually impossible to reconcile with the living.

Over the next several decades, Robert Malone will have plenty of time to figure out The Ups and Downs of Being Dead.

Mark Lee's Rating

Mark Lee's Review

Sometimes I read a book's synopsis beforehand and sometimes I don't. This book was one of the many I've downloaded from Amazon for free. The download helps the author, so most of the time I don't even look at the synopsis. So I knew nothing about the book except the title. I was familiar with the author since another one of our reviewers read another book of hers. When I saw her name next to the title on my Kindle, I thought I would give it a try. Glad I did.

First of all, I love the title of the book. Very well chosen; describes the story very nicely. The plot isn't the most original in the world (what plot is?) but it is very unique in it's own special way. There are sci-fi stories about cryonics, other stories about the dead being unable to pass over to whatever's next or in some way interacting with the living, or stories about dysfunctional families.

But I've never heard of a story that mixes those elements into one cohesive structure, and this book does it all. Cryonics patients interacting with one another while frozen, not to mention interacting with normal dead people, non-cryonic that is. And on top of that being able to observe the living.

Imagine being cryonically frozen—dead for all practical purposes—and yet being able to watch your family years, decades, after you are gone. Some people say it would be boring to live forever. I say that isn't the case and this book proves it (though it doesn't mesh with my idea of death and the afterlife).

I'm not into fashion, and since the main character is a former CEO of a fashion empire, there were lots of boring descriptions that I had to get through. Then there were other scenes that had little to do with the sci-fi bit of the plot, focusing primarily on the relationships of the main characters. I found many of these tedious, which is why I don't read romance. However, I didn't see anything wrong with these scenes. They may work just fine for you.

The main character isn't very likable until the second half of the book, which is where the story shined for me. In fact, at one moment the story reminded me of one of my favorite sci-fi movies, Bicentennial Man, because the main character is observing the world without being affected by time. It's almost like he's a time traveler because he has little influence on the world around him.

I will mention the editing issue but to say that it wasn't much of an issue. A few reviews on Amazon were pretty hard about the editing, saying the editor dropped the ball. Yes and no. Editors are human. They make mistakes. There were a few mistakes that made me stop for a moment, but if the editing is really bad, I can't continue.

Not only were the mistakes minor in nature, the story more than made up for the few blunders, which would have most likely been picked up by a final proofing. No big deal. I would rather put up with a few mistakes than have to read the same old stuff that many traditional writers tend to write. This book (and author) is an Indie Gem. Cherish them because they will only stay if we support them.

Review Disclaimer: I picked up this book for free from Amazon.