We joke about spending our lives on Facebook; for the protagonists of Message from Another World, it’s no joke at all. They’ve found a private group that lets them talk “across the divide,” where they can share pictures and experiences with the dead. Chen Yu-Chin brings us to another world and back in this funny, racy illustrated fiction that shows us how hard it can be just to die and stay dead.
How would you prefer to die? It is the last and perhaps the most important question of one’s life. Yet in a modern age in which death can be easily hidden, medically forestalled, or forgotten about, dying the way you want to can be more difficult than you think.
A young hitchhiker named Chiang Tzu-Wu gets picked up by a pair of remarkable old men in a green Honda sedan. They’ve escaped from their nursing home, and are headed toward an end of their own making. Tzu-Wu notices that both are avid Facebook users, particularly involved in a huge, closed group chat of people who are facing – or have already faced – death. The group, which is managed by a mysterious young woman named Lili, appears to include members from both sides of the grave, who constantly encourage, guide, and protect each other in the face of the great transition.
Chen Yu-Chin’s story rides the very cutting edge of our information-based society, mixing online text media into a fast-paced narrative sparkling with dry humor.