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Sum, Prompts

Creative prompts

  • Write your own tale from the afterlife.
  • Draw a picture or write a visual description of The Giantess from Chapter 5.
  • Write a story inspired by Chapter 7, "The Cast," in which the deceased are acting in the dreams of the living.
  • Write a ten-minute scene or one-act play about the afterlife using one of Sum's tales as a model, or using your own version of the afterlife not based on the Buddhist, Muslim, or Judaeo-Christian version of the afterlife. (prompt from Theatre Professor Mark Bly)
  • Write a poem or piece of fiction about a chapter or character in Sum.
  • Write a manifesto, or creed, for Possibilianism.

Analytical prompts

  • Write an essay about the role of neuroscience in Sum.
  • Write an essay about how real-life scientific advancements may pave the way for some of the scenarios in Sum. Think about the cryonics movement or Ray Kurzweil's theories on "the singularity," for example.
  • Write an essay exploring the connection between Sum and one of the characters alluded to in the book. For example, you might write about how Dylan Thomas's poem "Do not go gentle into that good night" illustrates some of the themes in Sum.
  • Write an essay about how drama, human fallibility, religion, or some other theme contributes to the overall message or intention of Sum.