Finally finished listening to it. I still think the characters were two-dimensional, but I don't read sci-fi for the characters; I read it for the mind-blowing ideas. Part of the ending had only Nobel Prize winners achieving near-eternal life, and humans the only intelligent life in the universe. Interesting stuff. It did get me thinking. The afterlife is a fantasy. I'm becoming more convinced that when you die, that's it -- lights out. There could still be a God (something had to kick-start the Big Bang) and having a limited shelf-life could mean we burn bright, burn fast; though that doesn't mean we should lead selfish, hedonistic lives.
I understand why religion thrives. Nobody wants to die. The afterlife is a nice safety net. I suffer in this world and am rewarded in the next. But the more I read, I see incredibly intelligent people are atheists. Maybe they're onto something.
Of course, maybe I'm just looking for an easy out. All of my sins would be a non-issue if life ends with my last heartbeat.