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I was particularly intrigued by the premise of Machina because it plays off an idea I have had for a story of my own. My idea looks pretty silly in comparison, though, because Machina is a sweeping, provocative novel that takes the idea of existence as far as it can go - all the way to God Himself. Described as "a speculative, metaphysical, philosophical, and very unusual novel," Machina works into its inner core a truly impressive array of profound ideas from science to religion to philosophy. It is a challenging book in this regard. If Schroedinger's cat means nothing to you or you're more than uncertain about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, you may have to work a little bit to appreciate the nuances of the story. For those of us who have at least dabbled in all sorts of crazy ideas and abstract notions (e.g., remote viewing, quantum mechanics) and sampled the intellectual traditions of different cultures, though, Machina is quite a treat indeed.
What would happen if God were to die? That's a question scientists are giving serious thought to as Machina opens. There have been ominous doings in the cosmos; certain stars, for example, have quite disappeared. Light and matter have begun to behave rather strangely in certain scientific experiments. Reports of metaphysical anomalies across the world have been increasing. Scientists are taking this very seriously, and their only conclusion is that God is dead - that God is no longer there to look down upon all of creation, and for that very reason natural laws have begun to break down and remote parts of the universe have up and disappeared. The world of Earth may suffer the same fate.Read more ›
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I bought this book together with BURN (2nd edition) of the same author based on the raving opinions of top-AMAZON reviewers (never had I seen more top100 and top50 reviewers commenting a book...). Usually they are cumulatively right. This time they are wrong. Oh, so wrong!
BURN was so bad that I was reluctant to pick up MACHINA for over 6 months. Not 20 pages into it I was regretting not throwing it out together with its predecessor. This is a book a half-educated, overly impressed teenager would write to impress his English teacher. And fail. Without the adolescence excuses.
MACHINA was written following the same recipe used on BURN - only emboldened to tackle more fundamental issues: elementary Philosophy (which seems to be exhausted with Descartes' famous quote), first semester particle physics (two simplified diagrams in all) and a lot of undigested science attempting to explain the question of...reality and the existence and nature of God. Any creative writer professor would advise: "stick to writing about what you know". Jonathan Lyons (a...creative writing professor no less) should take this solid advice. He is no master of the above mentioned subject matters.
And it shows.
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