The human mind takes up fifteen terabytes of space on average, and accommodating the soul requires for an additional twelve to be available. When compressed into a single unit, however, the complete, disembodied self can be expressed as a mere eighteen terabytes: smaller than the sum of its parts, yet no longer separable into individual segments. This conversion of being, popularly known as the Styx Process, can be performed in under twenty-four hours, as long as the deceased’s tombstone features a sufficiently efficient central processor.
The graveyards of the Violet City are founded upon this technology: interlocking grids of modular, artificial afterlives. Some tombstones house a single resident, while others contain multiple cores to allow for a shared gravespace. Each is capable of operating independently, though together, they form a single landscape that can be traversed by all occupants. They are as private and public as they need to be; at any given time, occupants can choose to participate in their neighborhood, or fade away into their own private cosmos.
Visitors to these tombstones are able to peer through their epitaphs and see loved ones enjoying themselves inside; this serves not only as a provision of comfort, but also as a marketing technique to ensure the continuity of business with the next generation.
These virtual spaces are patchwork quilts of utopian delight. Eternally setting suns collide in opposing wests: beachfront resorts and Texan ranches square off for control of the dying light. Colorado mountains rise until they pierce the floors of ancient wine cellars and Pacific coral reefs. From a mansion atop Ayer’s rock, New York City can be seen as a distant constellation. Geometric cohesion is available in some of the most restrictive communities, though many among the dead consider such graveyards to be dull places to exist.
Even so, not all who undergo the Styx Process choose virtual, inwardly-facing afterlives; others instead elect to continue facing outward, in tombstones with senses and limbs of their own. These walking graves, commonly referred to as “revenoids,” are contemplative beings whose consciousness begins where life left off. Their bodies are intricate blends of steel, silicon, and terracotta, often masked by holographic faces to signify the presence of the nonphysical. Some believe that this is simply a form of transferring the self from one body to another, while others believe that the metanoia caused by experiencing death permanently alters identity.
While philosophers are divided on the subject, this question leads to a curious dichotomy: while the inwardly facing dead tend to think that they’re the same person that they were before death, the revenoids are certain that they themselves are not.