NEXT TIME YOU’RE DEAD, EXPECT BIG CHANGES IN THE AFTERLIFE AS THE UNDERWORLD GETS ITS FIRST FASHION MAKEOVER IN MILLENNIA For three months in late 2043 an expedition of eight people (most of them alive) entered the afterlife on a special assignment to come up with ways to improve it. They were commissioned by the Lord of Death himself, some call him Hades, and joined by a uniquely qualified spirit who knew that landscape well, the famous magus known as Merlin. It turns out he’s served as the top Underworld guide to many cultures since death began, and he wrote “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” about how they do things there in the Bardo. Their job was to come up with ways to make death and the afterlife experience easier. Nothing there was working right anymore, nobody understood the place, people were getting lost and confused, complaints were mounting, and all this was slowing up Earth’s progress and the daytime life of living humans. The team included Blaise, a mysterious wisecracker who spends a lot of his time off-planet, mostly in the Pleiades; Edward, a sensible Boston book editor; Frederick, once a mythology professor but now a freelance Gnostic; Philomena, his wife who ascended into a Light body ten years earlier; Matthew, a reclusive meditator who consorts with Thunderbirds; Pipaluk, a very old shaman from Greenland; Tommy, teenager who died 20 years ago and now knows the Land of the Dead firsthand; and Merlin, explainer of Mysteries and everyone’s favorite afterlife guide. Nothing is exempt from their Bardo retrofit. No job is safe; no way of doing things is secure. Everything about the afterlife will change. Next time you’re there, expect to remember more, stay awake longer, and not take all those strange spirits accosting you seriously. Who knows? You might even like it.