"Of the nature of Death and the Dead we may enumerate twelve kinds. First there are those who become new gods, for whom new universes are born. Second those who praise. Third those who fight as soldiers in the unending war with evil. Fourth those who amuse themselves among flowers and sweet springs with sports. Fifth those who dwell in gardens of bliss, or are tortured. Sixth those who continue as in life. Seventh those who turn the wheel of the Universe. Eighth those who find in their graves their mothers' wombs and in one life circle forever. Ninth ghosts. Tenth those born again as men in their grandsons' time. Eleventh those who return as beasts or trees. And last those who sleep."
From "Forlesen" by Gene Wolfe, originally published in Orbit 14 (1974), edited by Damon Knight
This quote was brought to my attention by the newly revised and updated Gene Wolfe page at Wikiquote, edited by a friend of the blog.
"Forlesen" is chilling and Kafkaesque. I highly recommend it. Gene Wolfe is one of the great treasures of science fiction and fantasy. His substantial body of first-rate work puts him at or near the top of the list of best authors in the genre.