Tag Archives: review

On ‘Division by Zero’ by Ted Chiang

This is a short, spoilerific rumination on the short story ‘Division by Zero’ by Ted Chiang.

We are told in the opening paragraph of this story that, unlike what we may have learned in elementary school, the result of division by zero is not infinity, but “undefined”.

This is a story about negation, about depression, about suicide. Both characters have attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

Renee is a brilliant mathematician whose world is shattered when she proves something quite basic simply isn’t true. This introduces uncertainty into the simplest of things. She has proved that any number can be equivalent to any other number. She becomes depressed and tries to kill herself.

“Her concentration was gone, and last night she had had a nightmare about discovering a formalism that let her translate arbitrary concepts into mathematical expressions: then she had proven that life and death were equivalent.”

But her partner Carl finds himself in a similar state because of his inability to help Renee. He has experience of attempted suicide, as well as comforting others who had been suicidal. His world view was that he could handle this kind of situation. He can not.

“He had always had reason to consider compassion a basic part of his character, until now. He had valued that, felt that he was nothing if not empathic. But now he’d run up against something he’d never encountered before, and it rendered all his usual instincts null and void.”

Renee’s situation is to Carl what the now-unreliable mathematics is to Renee. They are both mired in uncertainty.

The ending of the story is foreshadowed by the opening paragraph. It is, in fact, a division by zero: undefined.

(Division by Zero can be found in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others)

 

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Meanwhile, in the Grimdark Land of Grimdarkness…

The first major review of MAKING WOLF is up over at Nerds of a Feather.

“Sometimes, though, novels have no interest in the heights of achievement, in evil as something that can be banished or defeated, in heroes of any sort. In such books, instead of sharing the triumphs of the protagonist, the reader is made complicit in their sins. Making Wolf definitely fits into the later category, creating a rich and haunting narrative that moves with power and destructive energy of a truck tearing a man in half.”

Read the rest here.

It’s a damn fine review, with great insight.

So you might want to buy the book 🙂

wolf

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“(The) horrifying entities of Lovecraft and the terror-in-the-mundane that is Stephen King’s signature”

American Elsewhere is a work of classic American horror.

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It’s written with energy, verve and great imagination. It evokes both the unknowable, horrifying entities of Lovecraft and the terror-in-the-mundane that is Stephen King’s signature, but Bennett manages to create something unique.
Wink is the perfect American small-town, with town halls, sun-dresses, gossip, and surgical lawns. The main protagonist inherits property there, but soon begins to peel back the veneer of perfection to find the unspeakable.
The book skips along briskly with interesting characters and intriguing set pieces. My only complaint is that it drags ever so slightly in the climax.
Recommended

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Mad Max: Fury Road is…

Mad Max: Fury Road is…

A transcendent action movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road is…

An operatic, large canvas spectacle.

Mad Max: Fury Road is…

A narrative with all plot points developed.

Mad Max: Fury Road is…

Utterly satisfying.

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Even More Monkey Business…now with added Nosferatu

First, Nosferatu in India Ink. This is an old painting, but I still like it, so I’m adding it here apropos of nothing.

Count Orlok as played by Max Schreck in 'Nosferatu'

Count Orlok as played by Max Schreck in ‘Nosferatu’

Next, another review and recommendation of my story The Monkey H0use:

It’s qualified, but any paragraph that mentions me and Ligotti in the same sentence…I’ll take it as praise, thank you very much.

Also.

My friend Zen Cho has a story up at Kaleidotrope called ‘Monkey King, Faerie Queen’

No, we did not coordinate. Just one of those coincidences.

 

 

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Brief Monkey Business

My story The Monkey House in Omenana Magazine got some love from Skiffy and Fanty:

“This dystopia is set not in the future but in the eighties and follows the Orwellian tradition while being rather Kafkaesque, but adds enough facets, from dark fantasy elements to the chronic illness of the protagonist, to create something entirely new.”

 Read the rest here.

Also, Omenana has released the pdf and flip version of the magazine with new illustrations.

This goes with ‘The Monkey House’:

 

 

 

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“Haunting on multiple levels”

DANGEROUS GAMES BIG

 

Very kind comments from The Skiffy and Fanty Show about my story Honourable Mention in the anthology Dangerous Games.

“Tade Thompson’s “Honourable Mention,” which is haunting on multiple levels, is also a monster story. It’s also about the horrors of an entirely different form of consumption — the victims of exploitative labor systems, slavery as well as others. An emigrant to Britain, Tito plays the Nigerian game ayo, and Thompson adds to the historical game higher stakes, sleep deprivation, and what one man’s desperation will drive him to do to win. This was both the game I found most interesting and the story I found to be most thought-provoking.”

Dangerous Games is out now in all good and evil bookshops.

 

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