My journey began some years ago, when I had the sudden realization that our human brains are definitely connected to things we can’t define, see or measure, and that there is an underlying science to the universe, science that is so far beyond us that it will likely take mankind millions of years to discover all of it, if we even get that far. Secondly, I was always interested in the views of family, friends and their children on the subject of whether there is an afterlife. Most often, beyond a common shrug of the shoulders, people were flummoxed by the literal concepts of what they thought conventional religion (of almost any of the main types) urged one to believe and accept as truth. As one of my oldest friends put it, “How can they ask me to believe in something called the Holy Ghost? I don’t believe in any kind of ghosts.”
Having been a trial lawyer for many years, I already well knew that truth was incredibly valuable, but terribly elusive, and most of the time, quite tenuous in the minds of human beings. I had to admit—although I was very reluctant to—that the position of the agnostic in particular is hard to criticize. How can we know even a small amount of truth about whether there is an afterlife until after we ourselves die?
To my mind, the most glaring gap or contradiction in most conventional religions is the complete absence of any rational explanation or even discourse on what actually happens to us—our personality, that which makes us ‘us’—from the moment of earthly death to perfection in a heaven or other blissful place. After I die, I know that even if they were to attach wings to me, I still wouldn’t know anything more than I did or be any better of a person than while I was alive, with one exception, and it’s the exception that was the final bit of inspiration I needed to begin writing my novel. After we die, assuming our existence continues somewhere else, the one thing we can be sure of is that we will then have the consciousness of having survived death, of waking up, still being alive, wherever it may be.
Taking that basic idea—the consciousness of having survived death—I decided to explore, in my novel, how the earliest stage of life after death might be, from the moment of waking up from death through to the end of a first day on some other world. OTMA 82 is my fictional transition world, and my narrator, a retired teacher, is the guide. Readers who join me on this exploration will find—I hope and believe—some additional bits of truth about what they themselves really think is going to happen to them after death, together with some entertaining notions about what a transition world and a new body might be like.