“let the dead have their way”

“In some the dead lived much more quickly than those in the Real, in others they lived at the same rate and in others far more slowly.  Some even incorporated ways to bring favoured dead individuals back to life again.

And many still featured death; a second, final, absolute death, even within the virtual, because — as it turned out — it was quite a rare species that naturally generated individuals capable of being able, or wanting, to live indefinitely, and those who had lived for a really long time in Afterlives were prone to becoming profoundly, gravely bored, or going catatonically — or screaming — mad.  Civs new to the game often went into a sort of shock when the first desperate pleas for true, real death started to emerge from their expensively created, painstakingly maintained, assiduously protected and carefully backed-up Afterlives.

The trick was to treat such entreaties as perfectly natural.

And to let the dead have their way.”

–Iain M. Banks, Surface Detail

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