LUMINARIUM ALEX SHAKAR PDF
Luminarium [Alex Shakar] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. “Heady and. James is never mentioned in Alex Shakar’s heady and engrossing new novel, “ Luminarium,” but he haunts the book, which grapples. Picture yourself stepping into a small, cuboid room. In the center squats an old recliner, upholstered in black vinyl.”.
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Luminarium by Alex Shakar
Open Sahkar See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Luminarium by Alex Shakar. Luminarium by Alex Shakar. Fred Brounian and his twin brother, George, were once co-CEOs of a burgeoning New York City software company devoted to the creation of utopian virtual worlds.
As the study progresses, lines between the subject and the luimnarium blur, and reality becomes increasingly porous. Meanwhile, Fred finds himself caught up in what seems at first a cruel prank: But the thing that separates ,uminarium from other books that discuss avatars, virtual reality and the like is that Alex Shakar is committed throughout with trying, relentlessly, to flat-out explain the meaning of life.
This book is funny, and soulful, and very sad, but so intellectually invigorating that you’ll want to read it twice. This novel is sharp, original, and full of energy—obviously the work of a brilliant mind. Hardcoverpages. Published August 23rd by Soho Press first published January 1st To see what luminarikm friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Luminariumplease sign up.
Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jul 13, Randy rated it liked it. It seems fitting that Alex Shakar would open his novel, Luminarium, with an invitation. Not your garden variety party invitation, mind alez.
Something a bit more oblique, less straightforward. But an invitation nonetheless. Picture yourself stepping into a small, cuboid room. In the center squats an old recliner, upholstered in black vinyl.
At the end of the arm, where the bulb and shade would have gone, hangs shaoar It seems fitting that Alex Shakar would open his novel, Luminarium, with an invitation. Allex the end of the arm, where the bulb and shade would have gone, hangs instead a sparkly gold motorcycle helmet, a vintage, visorless number with a chin strap.
To amend his pecuniary situation, Fred decides to participate in an experiment in which his brain will be electronically manipulated to reproduce sensations associated with states of religious ecstasy. It is at this vulnerable moment that we join Fred—or, perhaps it is more correct to say we are joined to Fred—and it is this initial experiment and its mind-expanding aftereffects that propels the ensuing narrative and palls the novel with a surreal haze. Which brings us back to that second-person opening, our invitation.
Indeed, the story is at its best when these themes bubble up organically through action and dialog. For example, this scene where Fred, still feeling the lingering aftershocks of a recent experiment and flush with confidence at the prospect of getting a job, develops an impromptu alter-ego: He was already nodding before he processed that final o.
Beyond humiliated, pretty much giving up at that point, he just kept nodding, resigned to the secretary calling him by a name that could have belonged to some hobbit mob henchman. The exchange speaks to the mercurial nature of identity, the slipperiness of personality, how difficult it is to ever pin someone down to one set of characteristics.
Even when that someone is you. And, as the novel progresses, Fred finds the people around him ever-shifting, transmuting from the familiar to inversions or permutations of their former selves.
His brother George is sending him mysterious messages and appears to be sabotaging their former company even as he lies comatose in the hospital. Meanwhile, his younger brother, the workaholic Sam, has transformed their former company from an idealistic virtual reality paradise called Urth to a military and emergency training environment and who seems to be setting Fred up for failure and humiliation.
When we love someone, who do we love?
That person, or our idea of that person? When we touch them, it is not the touch we experience, but our consciousness of the touch. These questions of duality and our own frustrated attempts to drill down aoex the core of reality are suggested throughout the narrative. Which brings me to my few disappointments with the novel.
Namely that Shakar can be a bit heavy-handed and tends to beat one over alec with his motifs: I get it already. This predilection leads to plenty sloggy passages like this: If some greater force and purpose were at work in all this, he wondered, then why all the subterfuge? Why all the arbitrariness of quantum fluctuation and genetic mutation? Why the absurdity of brains that could simulate some sense of that greater life only when they misfired? What good was a truth that could be perceived only through delusion?
How would one ever really know what the truth was, in such a system? How would one luminariu know from one lumlnarium to the next the right thing to do, the right way to go? Did you get through all that? Not only is this section tedious, but it also leaves the reader feeling as though he is being led by the nose.
And further, these are questions that are raised with greater economy elsewhere via action and metaphor. Still, despite these faults, I found Luminarium to be a smart and moving read. On the other, a paen to the bonds of family and the ties that bind all of humanity. The way we all move to the future while looking ever back to our past. View all 3 comments. Oct 07, Jason Pettus rated it really liked it Shelves: Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.
I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally. So before anything else, let me caution my fellow New Weird fans that Chicagoan Alex Shakar’s Luminarium is not the trippy sci-fi novel that its cover, jacket copy and breathless Dave Eggers blurb promise it to be, and that those picking it up expecting it to be such are going to be severely disappointed, Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.
So before anything else, let me caution my fellow New Weird fans that Chicagoan Alex Shakar’s Luminarium is not the trippy sci-fi novel that its cover, jacket copy and breathless Dave Eggers blurb promise it to be, and that those luminzrium it up expecting it to be such are going to be severely disappointed, especially by the “anti-trick” ending that provides a rational explanation for all the bizarre things that happen before it.
Full of all kinds of wonderfully nerdy details sure to delight any metaphysical tech-head for one shakae example, the ’70s Cray supercomputer that one brother gives the other as an elaborate joke gift, which is then turned into the online-startup “Prayerizer. Although the book definitely has its problems, which is why it isn’t getting a higher score today — I would’ve liked to have seen less academic stream-of-consciousness, for example, and more Chabonesque action scenes, such as the wickedly great section where our punch-drunk hero rampages through the headquarters of his startup’s new corporate masters — Luminarium is nonetheless well worth your time, but only for those prepared to enjoy it for what it is instead lumimarium being disappointed lhminarium what it’s not.
It comes recommended in that spirit. Not sure why I only liked, but not loved Luminarium. The concept was certainly novel. His older brother, Sam, now in charge of the company George started with Not sure why I only liked, but not loved Luminarium. His older brother, Sam, now in shakr of the company George started with the three of them, could not care less about George, having visited him maybe once. He begins paid experiments involving a helmet, lights, electrodes, etc. To complicate things further, he begins receiving highly technical messages from none other than his brother George.
I thoroughly appreciated the parts about Celebration, Florida, as well as the party magician scenes, which were actually relatively minor parts. The romance between was awkwardly cute. The relationship between the twin brothers was well illustrated, especially contrasting with older brother Sam.
The same can be said about Virtual Gaming, also extensively shkar. In all, this science fiction, fantasy, neurology story with a virtual gaming world as well as the supernatural luminarimu world within the mind in addition lmuinarium the real world was definitely an engaging, even very educational read, but was covering more than it maybe should have, the result being a slightly unfocused story line with one too many ideas.
Other than that, I cannot say why I liked, rather than loved Alex Shakar’s novel. It had all the appearances of an all-time-favorite, but somehow fell short.
So we delude ourselves into certainty. Am I good at my job? Yes, you just got a raise and your performance evaluation was fine. But how does that person know? They’ve got experience in the field.
If someone else had done it, how would I have done? Fine; there are standards to be upheld. Who creates those standards? People with even more experience who know what they’re doing. But how do they KNOW? None of us do. Delude yourself all you want.
Rationalize, justify, go t Doubt is pervasive. Rationalize, justify, go to therapy, alwx the crushing doubt at bay: But don’t pretend, for a second, that you actually know anything.