Lit Little Window
Свет в окошке
by Святослав Логинов
This one is SF, but rather a special kind of SF. Some might think the book esoteric, but it is nothing of the kind.
It is about afterlife and the Beyond. The Beyond is neither Heaven nor Hell; it might well be either or both, or maybe a Purgatory, or something else again. It depends…
An infinite featureless nothingness from which anything can be created, as long as you have money, and into which everything and everybody dissolves when the last coin is spent. Because, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, or perhaps vice versa, one cannot live without money.
The dead are rich as long as they are remembered by the living. You get a golden coin every time when someone you have met in real life remembers you. Small change for being remembered by those who have heard of you or read about you. Which means no gold after the last person you have met has died, but lots of farthings as long as lots of strangers remember you. Which, in turn, means Hitler or Nero will ever be richer than any kind person who might have done lots of good but has already been forgotten. See, it does not matter if those remembering you praise you or curse you; all that matters is you are not forgotten. Not unlike the Web sites, profitable and unprofitable, eh?
Not fair, granted. Still, In Heaven As It Is On Earth, there is no justice. Or perhaps it is Ultimate Justice, after all?
Consider. There is no crime, because crime does not pay. You can (if rich enough) create your own Paradise or Hell according to your religion, but you cannot force others go to your Hell or your Paradise. You get the very best value for your money, because the goods, from food to music, are only produced by the very best professionals, and you cannot be cheated outa your money unless you want to be cheated. Well, there is the Crew collecting tolls and taxes, but you can refuse to pay them, because the only inevitable tax is a small coin collected automatically. For breathing.
Concerning Sin, well, you can only be a sinner if you have a conscience… No punishment for you except you punishing yourself. On the other hand, there`s this:
В грехах мы все – как цветы в росе,
Святых между нами нет.
А еслы ты свят – ты мне не брат,
Не друг мне и не сосед.
Я был в беде – как рыба в воде,
Я понял закон простой:
Там грешник приходит на помощь, где
I`d better not translate the only verse found in the book, because I like it as it is.
Written in Russian, the book is well worth reading. I do believe it is well worth translating into as many languages as possible. Alas…