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Daniel Quinn & Tom Whalen
A Newcomer's Guide to the Afterlife
On the Other Side Known Commonly as the Little Book

If you want to read something by Quinn, don't start with this one. The book is an attempt at (good?) humor and philosophy--but it falls far short on both marks. The wit and wisdom seem to be few and far between. Perhaps someone with a different sense of humor will enjoy the book (but I doubt it).

Most of the philosophy pokes fun at the ridiculous doctrines and habits of some (most?, all?) religions and pseudo-sciences. Rather than use this philosophy to promote some variety of humanism though, Quinn and Whalen seem to have a sort of nihilistic bent to themselves. The philosophy and observations are nothing new--they are just put into a supposed afterlife guidebook format. Most of the book is very boring. I found it difficult to understand why they would include all that they did. The highlights could be summed up on just one page.

The following is a quote from the book. I found it to be about the only decent insight in the book--even though it really isn't saying anything that most people don't already know.

The Afterlife is full of people who made their life on earth a Hell. Why should they not do the same here? For them the Afterlife is Hell because they brought Hell with them, and wherever they are is Hell.

But the Afterlife is also full of people who made their life on earth a Heaven. They brought Heaven with them, and wherever they are is Heaven. (p. 78)

From the Publisher :
Inspired by a dead woman named Delores who appeared to one of the authors in a dream, A Newcomer's Guide to the Afterlife is the text that was presented to her shortly after she crossed over to the "other side." With the help of Tom Whalen, Daniel Quinn was able to decipher for living readers the cryptic messages encoded in the text of what is commonly known among the dead as "The Little Book." Filled with wisdom, secrets, strange imaginings, uncanny perceptions, and unexpected humor--A Newcomer's Guide to the Afterlife can be read as parable, allegory, or exactly as what it proclaims itself to be.

A site visitor writes:
I discovered your site while looking up information on the teacher I have had the misfortune of having. Tom Whalen himself is teaching this semester only a horror lit/film class. In your review of the book you make it sound as if most of Quinn's books are good excluding this one. I can tell you Whalen is the cause. [an error occurred while processing this directive]