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Book Title: Neuropath|
The author of the book: R. Scott Bakker
Edition: Not Avail
Date of issue: May 29th 2008
ISBN 13: 9780752891514
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 418 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.5
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This review is pointless; it is deceptive, illusory and filled with meaningless rationalizations. Yet I’ve become conscious to the fact that I am writing it. Or I believe at least that writing it is an act of my own volition. Now that I’ve lost my entire audience with my incoherent ramblings, I can assure you that I haven’t descended into philosophical lunacy or decided to embrace my inner nihilist. (I’m all for spanking one’s inner nihilist, by the way.) Instead, I find myself slowly coming to grips with Scott Bakker’s unsettling new novel, “Neuropath”. And “unsettling” may just be a drastic understatement!
“Neuropath” is closer to an extreme paradigm shift in which what you think you know is utterly transformed into something else, something unknowable. It’s Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” reworked for the postmodern crowd; a book that drags us out of our illusions kicking and screaming into the light provided by cognitive psychology and neurology. It strips everything it means to “be human” including the definition of “human”. It’s an amazing and brilliant must-read thriller that will resonate through you long after you’ve finished reading it. But ignore all this; it’s just my rationalization module working overtime.
Thomas Bible is a professor of psychology at Columbia University. Suffering from the failure of his marriage, he finds solace in being a father to his two children, Frankie and Ripley. One night, his best friend since his college days, Neil Cassidy, a brilliant neuroscientist, arrives on his doorstep. (Bearing booze, an ex-college roommate’s duty, of course.) As the two of them get drunk that night, talking, Neil finally reveals to Tom that he has been lying about his job. For the past few years, Neil has been working for the NSA, interrogating terror suspects through the use of invasive neurosurgery. By flicking off certain neural switches in the brain, Neil has discovered that he can get the terrorists to tell him everything he needs to know. Thomas is horrified by this revelation, only reassured by Neil claiming that he has recently quit the NSA.
As Thomas arrives at work the next morning, he is greeted by FBI agents. The agents play for Tom a disturbing video sent anonymously to them. The film details a neurosurgery in which the patient, who is conscious throughout the procedure, feels either pleasure or pain when the unseen neurosurgeon flicks a switch in her brain. Thomas is appalled at the video, struggling to comprehend what he has witness, when the FBI agents shock him even further—his buddy Neil is believed to be the neurosurgeon responsible. Soon, Thomas finds himself helping a beautiful FBI agent, Samantha Logan, track down Neil as he continues to commit further atrocities. Struggling to uncover Neil’s motivations for the mutilations, Thomas finally decides Neil is engaging him in “The Argument”, a discussion from their college days about free will being an illusion and the dire consequences that follow from that fact. At the same time, Tom finds himself falling in love with Agent Logan.
While chasing after Neil, Thomas discovers his life spinning out of control. Surprise twists and turns lurk around ever corner. Just when Thomas thinks he understands Neil’s motivations, circumstances shift to show him how truly clueless he is, and when his son Frankie is abducted, his desperation nearly leads him over the edge. Will Tom be able to save Frankie in time?
Bakker’s novel is so intriguing it is almost impossible to put down. The action flows from one shocking incident to the next, filled in between with profound and disturbing insights. This elevates “Neuropath” above other contemporary thrillers in that it is an intellectual powerhouse of a novel. Bakker offers interesting observations and questions on selfhood, consciousness, love, morality, and government regulation. It’s impossible to read the novel and not reflect on it, as it shakes the very foundation of what we conceive of as humanity.
Bakker’s descriptions are beautiful and poetic, lovingly crafted and fresh. For example in describing Manhattan, he writes: “t once archeological, like a vast inscription with Central Park the indent of some God-King’s seal, and yet statistical, like a great 3-D bar graph, charting the sum of human hopes against the GDP of nations—a Powerpoint presentation frozen in monumental stone.” Or a simpler example in describing a forest blocking Thomas’ view of Neil’s cabin: [t:]he trees defeated the distances, obscuring any glimpse of the cottage.” This is evidence of a mature artist’s hand at work, filling his words with both beauty and thought. It’s an irresistible combination for the reader, and Bakker works it masterfully.
What Scott Bakker did for the fantasy genre with the “Prince of Nothing” trilogy, he also does here for the futuristic thriller: namely, set the bar for greatness. For fans of science fiction or thrillers, “Neuropath” is a must-read classic, chilling, original and truly disturbing. It grabs you by your mind, and shakes you hard, never relenting, never apologizing, leaving you shattered by the end. Whether you hate it or love it, you are guaranteed to feel it.
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Read information about the authorRichard Scott Bakker, who writes as R. Scott Bakker and as Scott Bakker, is a novelist whose work is dominated by a large series informally known as the The Second Apocalypse which Bakker began developing whilst as college in the 1980s.
The series was originally planned to be a trilogy, with the first two books entitled The Prince of Nothing and The Aspect-Emperor. However, when Bakker began writing the series in the early 2000s, he found it necessary to split each of the three novels into its own sub-series to incorporate all of the characters, themes and ideas he wished to explore. Bakker originally conceived of seven books: a trilogy and two duologies. This later shifted to two trilogies, with the acknowledgement that the third series may yet also expand to a trilogy.
The Prince of Nothing trilogy was published between 2003 and 2006. It depicts the story of the Holy War launched by the Inrithi kingdoms against the heathen Fanim of the south to recover the holy city of Shimeh for the faithful. During the war, a man named Ansurimbor Kellhus emerges from obscurity to become an exceptionally powerful and influential figure, and it is discovered that the Consult, an alliance of forces united in their worship of the legendary No-God, a nihilistic force of destruction, are manipulating events to pave the way for the No-God's return to the mortal world.
The sequel series, The Aspect-Emperor trilogy, picks up the story twenty years later with Kellhus leading the Inrithi kingdoms in directly seeking out and confronting the Consult. The first novel in this new series is due for publication in 2009.
Whilst working on the Prince of Nothing series, Bakker was given a challenge by his wife to write a thriller. To answer this, he produced a science fiction thriller based around a serial killer who can control and influence the human mind. This book, Neuropath, was eventually published in 2008. Inspired, he wrote a second thriller titled The Disciple of the Dog in 2009.
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