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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wednesday, October 5 - Luminarium by Alex Shakar

Wednesday night at 8 PM on KPFK:  Alex Shakar.  In Alex Shakar’s new novel, Luminarium, the funhouse of the virtual life is often funny, certainly ironic, but not so fun…not if you are disenfranchised, unable to exercise real-life power and trust your own judgment, or have fallen in love with the attractive woman neurology technician who conducts the experiment on your head, a helmet contraption which is supposed to somehow provoke your brain into doing something your “spirit” is usually tasked with, assuming you even believe at all or trust in that perception, and in fact accept that it exists.  Artificial spiritual intelligence!  “You” is the protagonist of this sci-fi philosophy novel, a romp and a scare at the same time.  Fred Bourdian is a troubled virtual utopian reality game developer whose twin brother, George, his Jungian other half, is in a coma, something like virtual life and virtual death at the same time.  Fred, and everybody else in this novel of big ideas, is a spiritual seeker for the 21st century, meaning that faith or belief could be anywhere, in real or virtual worlds, in memory or in magic, in commerce or in the New Age.  In Luminarium, Shakar, author of the previous novel The Savage Girl, engages the reader playfully and terrifyingly in the territory of metafiction, and of metaphysics, while telling a story of family, of brothers raised by their magician father and New Age healer mother.   In  his New York Times review, Christopher Beha compares Shakar to Don DeLillo, and whether this book is considering spirit or politics or technology, or all, simultaneously, Shakar’s storytelling makes his ideas urgent and compelling.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or downloadable free for 90 days at the station’s audio archives.  Support listener-sponsored anti-corporate community radio for free people!                   

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