While its prequel, Life, broke from the norm with its depth, richness, and variety, Death marks a stark yet daring return to the way things were. While criticisms of Death range from "reactionary" or "dangerously anti-progressive" to "pointless and a waste of time," Death raises artistic and moral issues that will be debated for many years to come.
"It’s brilliant," said David Nichols, staunch Death advocate and father of three, "it embodies the ultimate metaphysical paradox between being and not being. It’s all about cessation of Being - one minute everything is there and the next it’s all gone. Or it could be that it all stays there and you disappear. It could be different for different people. You really need to experience it to really be able to understand."
Others are more confused. "I don’t get it," said a distraught marketing director, John Dobbs. "Is this a sequel to life? A prequel? It’s definitely in the same series. I was never really a big fan of Life, and now that Death is coming, I’m going to have a lot of questions I want answered before I sign anything."
Death has drawn harsh criticism both from the right and left. "It’s morally repugnant," both have said. "This will be a key issue in the 2004 election."
As a concept, Death is a certain hit. Though at times it may seem reduced to a cult obsession, it will inevitably return to the mainstream. Eventually, people will recognize it as something they need to have.
Said one market analyst: "Death. It’s a fresh market, a huge market, the sort of thing everybody’s gotta have." Due to its quiet, classical, yet shockingly sudden and new image, Death is predicted to be most popular amongst young risk takers and the elderly.
Upon discovering Death, many Life enthusiasts have vowed never to switch back. As one stated, "Death is the after-Life. There is no Life after Death."
Others disagree. "Death? Death has no power over Life. Life goes on. Life eternal, baby!"
A number of countries with dubious Human Rights records have attempted to appease citizens demanding basic freedoms and democratic reforms by offering them Death. "It’s really quite a good deal," said one would-be Iraqi freedom fighter. "I say, give me liberty or give me Death - to me, it doesn’t matter a heck of a lot which one." Many of the same leaders who offer death to their own citizens proclaim the merits of death and seek to export it to western countries. Thus, they have adopted the catchy slogan, "Death to the West."
While the origin of Death is unknown, the French claim credit for popularizing Death as early as the first Republic. As one nationalistic Frenchman claimed, "Haha, you stupid American. We had it first. We made it cheap. We made it easy. We have beaten you to death - you and your fancy automobiles."
Stalinist Russia disputes the French’s claim.