When my father was given about three months to live (cancer of the liver, inoperable then), he started making gallows jokes about time: no magazine subscriptions, he said, no more serialized stories, and, of course, no green bananas. Black humour abounds. I like Woody Allen's line: "I don't mind dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." You'll note that we are thinking about dying, not death. A new literature seems to have arisen, not from the dead but from the dying, coping with denial but also making the most of the time still allotted. And these days there is more time. Unless by war or murder, people don't die as quickly as they used to. Terminal illness is often protracted (and painful). Death-defying - no, death-delaying - treatments enable sick persons to buy more time, that is, if they want it. Some don't. That's another discussion. The focus here, based on the recognition that time is finite and short, is producing more than penultimate humour, it's creating amateur philosophers, amateur because untrained, but swiftly learning how to deal (or not) with the last great journey. Remember Samuel Johnson's line, "Knowing you're going to die in a fortnight concentrates the mind wonderfully." More people know now when they're going to die. Think about it.