Afterlife (a novella)

Book cover - Afterlife, by Guy SmithCover Blurbs
Author’s Comments
Reviews (excerpts)
Amazon Reader Reviews
Publishing Details
Media Resources

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After death, one soon discovers that every theologian was right. The afterlife offers too many inconvenient options including the chance at reincarnation, a boring existence as a ghost, the ultimate demise of oblivion or a short walk into the great unknown on the other side of The Light.

AFTERLIFE is a humorous yet tragic tale that forces everyone to rethink their postmortem prejudices. If you think life is frustrating, try death.

Cover blurbs

“Afterlife delivers a story crawling with heart, humor and hope. Packed with a cast of characters who surprise with insights, integrity and insults, this book made me more curious about life’s after-party. We can all hope that Guy’s vision can light the way, because we’ll be laughing and learning on that path while we wait for our turn at care that’s critical.” – Ron Seybold

“… imaginative, funny and smart.” – Heidi Springer

Author’s comments

Comparative theology is an interesting hobby as long as one doesn’t take theology itself too seriously.

Harvard Bob tends to agree. Harvard Bob — who was president of Harvard Theological Seminary during the Timothy Leary period at that ivy covered asylum — has seen theological debates at a depth and arcane intensity that would make most men prefer the Devil. One day while he and I were chatting about the different human conceptualizations of God and the afterlife, I got a bad case of the giggles. The curious notion that had struck me was that maybe everybody was right — that all the theologians were 1000% correct and that every explanation about what happens to human souls was spot on. Ghosts, reincarnation, oblivion, The Light … they were all available in the ever after.

This of course led to a logical problem. How does one choose a path in the afterlife? Are there moral choices with each option? What is the relative worth of each alternative or do some postmortem options remain as ambiguous as the unspoken reservations about the very existence of an afterlife we all share (come on and admit it)?

What if death was as confusing, unpredictable and angst-inducing as life?

So I invented a situation and a Job-like character to deal with the mess we call death. In a horrific auto accident he dies, his wife survives, and in his afterlife he is presented with news and choices that would drive a sane man mad and a mad man to run for office.

Reviews (excerpts)

Amberkatze: “Guy Smith has give us yet another fresh alternative look on the afterlife and given it a little humour and alot of ghosts.   The little twists and turns in the story kept me reading and finding out how things really ‘end’ also make me want to read to the last word. There is something for everyone in Afterlife and it made for a nice quick read. In a whole it left me hoping that if there is an Afterlife, hopefully it will be a little like the one in this story.”

Midwest Book Review: The most frightening thing about the afterlife is not that everyone is wrong, but that everyone is right. “Afterlife” is a novel of the afterlife as one man finds himself dead in an automobile accident. Fearful for his pregnant wife in a coma, he is faced with seemingly more problems in death than he was in life. A humorous exploration of the afterlife, “Afterlife” is a choice pick for those looking for an entertaining and satirical read.

Pagan Book Reviews: “I think I just found one of the best works of fiction I’ve been sent since I started this review blog-and I’ve reviewed everything from self-published works to mass-marketed offerings from major publishing houses. In just over 100 pages, Guy Smith managed to captivate me with a story that grabbed me more firmly than most of the novels I’ve read-and that takes talent.

“The nature and experience of being a ghost, the limitations being dead gives you in this world, and even pondering what the true nature of the Light in this fictional Universe is, are all explored in the context of a fast-paced, gripping plotline. Make no mistake-it’s a highly streamlined book, and every word counts for a lot.

“Not only was I emotionally engaged in the travails and experiences of a snarky dead guy, but the ending just wrenched the hell out of my heart. This writer’s good at what he does, let me tell you.”

Temple Library Reviews: A humorous, slightly sarcastic, and dynamic exploration of the afterlife in a manner that strays away from tradition and offers a fresh glimpse to how life after death may develop.

I am partial towards humor and sarcasm, both of which are largely uncharted waters in literature, since the sense of humor manifests and branches out in a highly individualistic way in every human being. “Afterlife” managed to make me chuckle.There is a certain air of anonymity regarding the main protagonist. He remains unnamed at large, which is quite easy as the story is delivered through a very skillful first person point of view and apart from his professional experience in marketing comes off as a regular person. He is a hard-working man, devoted husband and a good guy. As a character he doesn’t stand out with a unique trait, because this isn’t the author’s intent. “Afterlife” documents what an average person would experience as a ghost and Smith succeeds with a realistic depiction of the average man, which in turn makes it easy for the reader to identify with the character’s fate.

Sarge and Old Thomas are what I like to refer as tutorial-characters, who ease the reader and protagonist alike in the world of the not-yet-departed dead through their own experience. Both characters are a joy to read in conversations and reveal different aspects of the afterlife in a way that doesn’t betray realism.

Dialogue I think is the strongest aspect of the novella as it added a very vibrant, up-beat and electric dynamics to the story. The concept of the afterlife here is fresher in a sense that it’s funnier and yet more logical than what society has imagined it so far. I understood why ghosts would be agonizing in boredom and how they would move in this world and be repelled by matter.

… the story itself has a bit of everything, essentially mimicking life itself. There is love, which in these circumstances can be viewed as the impossible variety. There are the bonds of friendship involved, betrayal, some action and excitement, enlightenment, laughter and tears. “Afterlife” is a tragedy within a comedy, which manages to end on a positive note and certainly aspire hopes that death is as interesting in real life as it is here.

Blog Critic: Guy Smith’s Afterlife is a compelling take on the afterlife, straddling funny and sad to make for a great read.

Smith himself has a reputation as being a political provocateur, writer and songwriter, cowboy, surfer, computer guru, and marketing strategist. He is known as a freethinker … Which explains why his take on the afterlife is tainted with sarcasm and full of unique ideas about ghosts, reincarnation, and spiritual limbo.

All of this is not to say that Smith handles the subject of death with jokes and sarcasm. His protagonist exhibits depth as he struggles with feelings of love and devotion for his wife, as well as his need to watch over her and protect her even when he’s no longer physically present.

One of the things I like about Smith’s take on the afterlife is that there is a choice involved, it’s not something predetermined or forced upon the characters. Smith offers a take on (after)life that will hit home with atheists, Christians, and just about everyone else with an opinion about what happens when we die.

ReaderViews: The author handles the serious subject of death in an appropriate manner. He portrays the love and devotion the man has for his wife and his desire to continue looking after her even though he is gone. He describes the man’s feelings as his spirit views his own mangled body. It is particularly touching when he realizes he should not have put off doing important things in his life because now he will never get that chance. However, the author also manages to infuse humor into the story. The descriptions of some of the ghosts he meets are comical. Some of the situations the man’s ghost faces because he has not yet adapted to a ghost’s methods of living are also quite funny.

I think all adults will be able to relate to this story, regardless of whether or not they believe there is an afterlife. They will experience sadness, humor and even a surprise at the end of “Afterlife” by Guy Smith. They may rethink their own philosophies of how they should live as they witness the blunt realization that one never knows when death will arrive.

The Free Library:  A humorous exploration of the afterlife, “Afterlife” is a choice pick for those looking for an entertaining and satirical read.

Amazon Reader Reviews

“Page turner. Amazing look at what no one has ever reported seeing. An enjoyable read. Highly recomended.”


“Guy Smith’s story of a newly dead ghost’s travails is told in such a witty way that it seems impossible there could be any poignancy to the book. But on the contrary, it’s a sort of Texas-style, stiff-upper-lip, telling that attempts to mask, but can’t hide, a very moving and vulnerable story. Sounds just like how we often try to gloss over the most profound issues and challenges in life. And it is just like that. Funny and moving, it’s a great read.”


“Smith’s style is very visual. The book could easily be a movie. His detailed description of the time slices in a car accident are right on the money and he builds a realistic, if whacky, cast of characters in the world of the departed. Is it all over once you die? Somewhat reminiscent of the movie “Ghost”, but with a sack-load of irreverence, and a finger to fairy tales, Guy Smith keeps you guessing to the last.”


“Scarily, it seems to be written with insight. What an imagination!! It’s a quick read, yet leaves enduring contemplations.”


“If you are a fan of loose, breezy — and especially snarky — prose, you’ll love this little wise-a$$ handful of a book. The subject matter almost doesn’t matter — the character insights and interactions are just fun — even when (maybe especially) when tragic. It is perhaps the dissonance of tragic/snarky that makes the book compelling. Easy to read from cover to cover in an afternoon, or short flight — I definitely recommend.”


“Guy Smith is acerbic, bizarre, and utterly deranged. I mean that in the nicest possible sense, of course. In this novella-length work, he equally offends both Christians and atheists. I suspect Buddhists might take exception, as well. ‘Afterlife’ took a few twists and turns that surprised me, which is hard to do because I am fairly well twisted myself. Smith’s conception of life after death is not too far removed from Bruce Rubin’s, but the ending is much less idyllic. Demi Moore superfans will get that reference. You know who you are . . . Independent film makers take note: I see a great script attempting to claw its way out of this book. Hollywood won’t tackle it; the cloyingly sweet ending is absent. Tom Waits, maybe. Or Jim Jarmusch.”


“A winner — five stars plus: 1) Because of its human depth of touch, Afterlife engages the reader in a much larger way than its novella nature might suggest; 2) The story line is riveting with its unfolding plot, twists and turns, surprises, insights and pleasures; 3) Character presence of both main and incidental figures is remarkable in presenting the individuality of their life and death story; 4) I would not call the story humorous. It is written with good humor. My eyes were often wet with tears of sadness, joy and enthusiastic cheering; 5) Much of society keeps death’s possible discomfort distant, whether by incarceration, white sterile settings, condolences by platitudes, thinking death is elsewhere, later or not for me. Afterlife has us there with the flesh of death, and the plethora of society’s forces and professionals who appear to the bane (often under the guise of caring) or enlightenment of survivors; and, then, Plus) There is a pervading warmth and love within this text which is rich with a freedom offered to the reader to explore his or her own intimacy with the subject.”


“The book has a lot of humor considering the dark subject matter. What got me was how the humor and love story kept me reading until the protagonist’s afterlife is ripped apart at the end of the book. Short enough for a weekend or a business trip. I strongly recommend this book”

Publishing details

Publisher: G3 Media
ISBN: 1-4392-3743-3
EAN13: 9781439237434
Distributer: Baker & Taylor

Media resources

Below are some resources for members of the media who need to augment their reviews of AFTERLIFE.

Author’s bio

Guy Smith is a writer, songwriter, and political provocateur. At times Smith has been a cowboy, surfer, computer guru and a marketing strategist.  Over the ages he has (d)evolved into a ‘cosmic cowboy’ and commentator on all things absurd, namely life.

Smith contributes Op/Ed pieces to major metropolitan newspapers (San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune). He has published over 150 magazine articles, and writes both fiction and non-fiction books. Smith appears frequently on talk radio programs.

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