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piiskoor

Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

McGlue
Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth - Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos, Annie Di Donna David Foster Wallace's Everything and More had a brief introduction I am probably misquoting: the temptation in writing about math is to write about the mathematicians. And cue madness, arrogance, appalling behavior... (and put the math back in mothballs, and bury the trunk in the basement.)

Logicomix is, alas, a biopic. It collapses Bertrand Russell's ideas too neatly into his life story, and that life story too neatly into a overplotted and-then-he-met-Frege-and-then-came-the-war-and-then-he-attended-Godel's-lecture house of cards. (Worse yet, it relies upon a framing device, whereby the comic's creators tussle over how to tell the story, a graphic-narrative chestnut that could certainly still work if done well and does certainly not work well here.)

My esteemed GR friends David G and Buck suggest that Logicomix may be constrained by the medium, but that's like writing off the tv sitcom after watching Friends. You could do worse, but this book's Bertie and Ludwig, like Rachel and Ross, are maddeningly reliant upon tedious conventions many more worthy others ignore.

It gets a bump because it's got at least a rudimentary sketch of the conceptual tussles around (in? of? with?) math, and they're just damn interesting.

Someone get Douglas Hofstadter to work on a comic.