As the proud publishers of SUMMERLAND by Hannu Rajaniemi, we are honoured to be able to share this public message, prepared by the Ministry of Information, in co-operation with the National Death Service
One day, you will die. We now understand this process in scientific terms: as a detachment of the soul from our three-dimensional aetheric plane. One of the cornerstones of modern society is providing every citizen with a painless transition and continued, comfortable existence in the Second Aether, colloquially known as Summerland.
In spite of the Crown’s best efforts, many find the experience disturbing. And unless proper care is taken, the risk of Fading is always present. It is YOUR responsibility to be aware of the dangers and not let them take you by surprise.
This leaflet gives you six instructions to follow before and after your passing. Study them carefully, and be prepared to carry them out.
While alive, keep your Aetheric Ticket with you at all times. Memorise the unique Hinton Cube provided in your Ticket! You may think that you will have time for it when you are taken ill, before you are euthanised by a National Death Service doctor. But death may arrive suddenly, in the form of an accident, a duel, violent crime – as rare as that may be these days – or heroic sacrifice in Her Majesty’s service. Every day, souls are lost to Fading simply because they did not memorise their Tickets. DO NOT BECOME ONE OF THEM. Instead, review your Ticket during your spare moments — daily commute, or afternoon tea break. Your very first rule is: REMEMBER YOUR TICKET!
Immediately after you die, you will find yourself in complete darkness, entirely lacking in sensation. This is because you no longer have a body. You are a pattern in the aether, clinging to your soul-stone. DO NOT PANIC. This is normal.
In a few minutes, the aether around you will respond to your thoughts and form into your aetheric body. Note that your Summerland self may be quite different from your living self, in terms of age, appearance or other characteristics. This is also normal. Some feel revulsion at this disparity. There is no need to be concerned. National Death Service orientation classes will train you in aether-shaping, allowing you to adjust your self-image as you see fit. For now, you just need to remember the second rule: ACCEPT YOURSELF AS YOU ARE.
Once your aetheric body is formed, your vision will return. You will still be surrounded by darkness, but the direction that feels like “up” to you, will be suffused by a gentle amber glow. This is the hyperlight of the Unseen, the source of souls. As you turn your attention towards it, you will see bright constellations, countless tiny stars, superimposed upon it.
At this point, you may remember your eschatology lessons from school and realise you are seeing the world of the living from Summerland. It will be very tempting to think of the loved ones you left behind, of how much you miss them, or of other unresolved pre-mortem matters. RESIST THIS URGE. This is very important.
In Summerland, thought and movement are the same thing, and thinking of the living world will pull you back towards it in the kata hyper-direction. You may be able to rise to the level of familiar soul-sparks for a moment. But you will have to fight the entropic gravity of kata, the “down” direction of Summerland, like a swimmer struggling against a strong current. This will lead to Fading! The vim energy that holds your memories together will soon be exhausted. You will be reduced to a thoughtless point of consciousness and fall towards the depths of kata.
You are much better off if you first make your way to your allocated address in Summerland. National Death Service officers will demonstrate how to contact your loved ones in safe and orderly fashion in due course, including how to visit the living world using the services of mediums and charter-bodies.
In the meantime, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to follow the third rule: DO NOT GO TOWARDS THE LIGHT.
Once you have successfully banished the living from your mind, focus on your Ticket. Imagine its four-dimensional shape you have (as per Rule One!) studied so many times: all the facets, colours and angles specified by Mr Hinton’s clever notation. They may have given you a headache in school, but they are about to prove very useful indeed!
If your visualization is successful, you should find your Ticket’s unique Cube floating before your eyes. Keep looking at it until you feel a pulling sensation. This will be your first experience of thought-travel: pulling yourself through the aether with the power of thought alone. MAINTAIN FOCUS UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR DESTINATION! A stray thought could throw you off course and exhaust your vim, leaving you stranded in the infinite reaches of Summerland. This can be avoided if you are mindful of the fourth rule: STAY SHARP UNTIL YOU ARE THERE!
If your thought-journey is successful, you will find yourself standing in one of the Empire’s greatest aethertectural creations: the Entrance Hall. Its ornamented ceiling and the thousands of other New Dead milling about may seem overwhelming, but please stay calm and keep the image of your Ticket with you. Join one of the orderly queues, and a National Death Service officer will be with you shortly to provide more detailed instructions. Congratulations! You have now entered Summerland. The fifth rule is simply: KEEP CALM AND ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR AFTERLIFE.
These rules, which you have now read, give you a general idea what to do in the event of death. Keep in mind that the many ectotechnological advances that allow you to enter Summerland are the result of thousands of scientists, engineers and aethertects toiling tirelessly for Her Majesty’s Government. Be aware that there are other countries in the world who are jealous of our achievements. If foreigners ask you about these rules or Summerland, KEEP MUM. They may not have your best interests at heart. You should always report such suspicious strangers to a police officer. The best defence of Great Britain is the courage of her men and women, like you.
In life and in death, always be mindful of the sixth and final rule: THINK BEFORE YOU ACT. BUT THINK ALWAYS OF YOUR COUNTRY BEFORE YOU THINK OF YOURSELF.