It’s always fun to see how a writer takes on the big questions of life: what are we here for, what happens after we die, that kind of thing. It’s even more fun when the writer comes up with a new way of looking at those big questions, and if that intrigues you, then you should definitely take a look at Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore.
The premise is straightforward: every one of us gets 10,000 lives in which to achieve nirvana. You live, you die, you get reincarnated and each time you’re reborn, you get to learn more about the meaning of life, and ultimately the goal is to become one with everything. Not everybody, however, gets with the program.
Meet Milo. He’s been around the block 9,995 times, so he’s running out of opportunities for rebirth. You would think he’d be getting a little nervous about the possibility of oblivion after all these life experiences, but actually he’s got another problem. He doesn’t want to be reborn. He wants to die and stay dead.
Of course there’s a reason, and it’s not nihilism, it’s love. In the periods between his previous deaths and rebirths, he’s gotten to know and fall in love with Suzy, who’s known to other people as Death. Every birth drags him out of her arms, every death brings the two of them together again. If he achieves oneness with everything, that will not include Suzy. If he gets through 10,000 lives and doesn’t achieve oneness with everything, he will face oblivion, and again, no Suzy. What’s a man to do?
Milo has lived through thousands of years and in thousands of different places, and we get to see bits and pieces of these lives, in ancient India, Renaissance Italy, outer space, the modern world, as Milo tries to put the pieces together and figure out how to achieve, not nirvana, but perfect love with the woman of his dreams, his reason for living and dying.