Welcome to the second book review installment! What did you think of the first one? Are you not amused?

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Without further ado....

Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don't find out til too late that he's been playing with two queens all along.

The Diceman

(Rhineheart, Luke)
(Flamingo, 2003)

"God does not play dice with the universe."

~Albert Einstein

 

The notorious Diceman, originally published in 1971, is a curious torch-passing of generations. Exemplifying the attempt to bridge the cultural gap between free-love laced drug use of the 1960’s to the narcissistic drug use of the 1970s. The work coalesces into a curious blend of satire, wish-fulfilment and the horrifying.

Authored by George Cockcroft’s semi-autobiographical pseudonym, Luke Rhineheart, the book explores ideas from his own research in psychology and the use of random decision making in therapy.

Following Dr. Luke Rhineheart, the work explores his uses and abuses of psychoanalytical practices. Most particularly using dice to explore the ever-controversial themes such as divinity, sexual experimentation, murder and rape.

Reflecting on feelings inadequacy in life, Rhineheart begins, quite shockingly, with the chance interaction of a playing card and a proverbially loaded die at a neighbour’s poker night. From this initial experiment his methods evolve so that not only are his actions random, but the possible results of each roll. His experiments evolve from a practicable lifestyle alteration, to one which intercedes in every facet his life.

As he falls to the addiction of the die, his family falls apart, his university position becomes untenable and the government becomes embroiled in his mad dash to escape the mundane.

In a thrilling conclusion, the reader is left unsure of the reality of many aspects of the story. Though the work’s true dynamism flows from the book’s attempts to grapple with the zeitgeist of the time.

Ideas of consent, sexuality, morality and spirituality mix and meld into a malleable morass. Rhineheart, is hero and villain, sinner and saint, icon and idol. To some the die is a fresh approach to the human condition showing the value of our self by bending action to self-reflection. While others view his methods as anathema to morality and society, a threat to every institution it confronts.

The Diceman, is not just compelling, but also challenging reading, making us question not only our decisions and beliefs, but also the very sense of self and other. To paraphrase the jacket of the book itself: “Many books can change your life, this one will, if you let it”.

Mr. E. Ruth

(@Generic_Dave)

 

Diceman (1).jpg

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