Afterlife Code by Joseph M Erickson is a short Science Fiction novella that explores what may well be the next technological breakthrough for mankind; implanting code within the human brain to control and eliminate undesirable elements that can affect normal brain function. Dr Melanie Sage is a brilliant, young mind who has an electronic implant to assist her to overcome and cope with her autism. She develops a code that can be activated by her smartphone to enhance her implant. Problems occur when she activates this code in the presence of her therapist, Robert Cobb, who also has a brain implant to help him to cope with his Traumatic Stress. Cobb’s implant is an older implant without shielding and when Melanie touches her therapist it completes a circuit that throws them into a series of parallel universes and different versions of their lives. What they learn on this journey will ensure what they will make of their future.
What I particularly liked about Afterlife Code was its relevance to current science. I felt like I was reading a novel that touched on the cutting edge of scientific research today. This type of AI / Human interface is already being researched and experimented upon. What Joseph M Erickson asks is; what are the possible results of this experimentation? Will we open up a Pandora’s Box by linking ourselves to artificial intelligence? The whole idea of multiverses and alternate states of reality is very much a hot topic among quantum physicists and this whole area gives the novelist much scope for imagination. I found the book easy to read, if a little short for my liking. I especially enjoyed the conclusions that Cobb and Sage drew as it conforms to my general thinking about the purpose of life and the eternity of our existence. I would love to have seen more development of the characters, but this was a novella with the main focus being the concept and I felt that was developed very well. I would read more of this author’s work.