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Science, surrealism, number theory, and more dead Sigmund Freuds than you can shake a stick at.
This is not a novel.
This is not a short story collection.
This is Self-Reference ENGINE.
Instructions for Use: Read chapters in order. Contemplate the dreams of twenty-two dead Freuds. Note your position in spacetime at all times (and spaces). Keep an eye out for a talking bobby sock named Bobby Socks. Beware the star-man Alpha Centauri. Remember that the chapter entitled “Japanese” is translated from the Japanese, but should be read in Japanese. Warning: if reading this book on the back of a catfish statue, the text may vanish at any moment, and you may forget that it ever existed.
From the mind of Toh EnJoe comes Self-Reference ENGINE, a textual machine that combines the rigor of Stanislaw Lem with the imagination of Jorge Luis Borges. Do not operate heavy machinery for one hour after reading.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Toh EnJoe was born in Hokkaido in 1972. After completing a PhD at the University of Tokyo, he became a researcher in theoretical physics. In 2007 he won the Bungakukai Shinjinsho (Literary World Newcomer’s) Prize with “Of the Baseball.” That same year brought the publication of his book Self-Reference ENGINE, which caused a sensation in SF circles and which was ranked No. 2 on SF Magazine’s list of the best science fiction of the year. Since then, EnJoe has been one of those rare writers comfortable working in both “pure literature” and science fiction. In 2010 his novel U Yu Shi Tan won the Noma Prize for new authors. In 2011 his “This Is a Pen” was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize, and he won Waseda University’s Tsubouchi Shouyou Prize. In January 2012, he won the Akutagawa Prize with “Doukeshi no Cyo” (Butterflies of a Harlequin). His other works include Boy’s Surface and About Goto.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a strange, fractured book about a strange, fractured event (the deliberate fragmentation of spacetime by massive artificial intelligences in their struggle with humanity). To counteract that perhaps off-putting description, I will also say that it is also highly readable, wildly imaginative and intelligent, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The title is apt, as the book is often commenting on itself. More than anything, it resembles something by Stanislaw Lem. If you think that's a good thing (as I certainly do), then it's very likely you will enjoy this book. If you prefer linear, straightforward narratives... well, you should go read something else. It's not perfect. There are a few oddities which may be the result of the translation. The massive artificial intelligences are constantly referred to as "giant corpora of knowledge", which is a very strange expression in English, and got a little grating when repeated several times per page in places. At one point the number 2 to the 20th power is described as "a number that made a billion seem modest". Well, no: 2 to the 20 is just over one million. Also, although at the beginning of the book there is a "Mapping of Maps", indicating links between various chapters, I was unable to decipher what these connections might be; this may just mean that the author is smarter than I am. Furthermore, although there are a lot of interrelations between different chapters, there are a couple that have no apparent connection to the larger scale structure of the book. These are minor quibbles. If you like science fiction that exercises your brain via both form and content, give this a try. I hope more of EnJoe's work will be translated into english.
Rambling and disjointed. I guess that was the point. Can I get a refund?