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The Angle Quickest for Flight

by Steven Kotler

Four Walls Eight Windows 1999

Infinity and the Mind

by Rudy Rucker

Princeton Science Library 1995

I'm not the kind of person that commonly reads books with references to philosopher/mathematician Georg Cantor, so it was somewhat unusual when the two things I was reading at the time both salted the pages with his name. I've been absorbing Rucker's Infinity and the Mind in small pieces for the last six months. It's a series of lectures on the concept of Infinity, from its history to its categorizations to its applications. It can be a very difficult subject, but Rucker has the ability to gradually step your mind through the complicated reasoning that leads to interesting revelations. There is a lot to think about, so slow reading, with lengthy pauses for proper mental digestion, works best. There is no practical application to this knowledge in day life, but it does give my brain the mental equivalent of a healthy cardio-vascular workout.

   In comparison, The Angle Quickest for Flight is a fictional conspiracy piece populated by inventive prose and unusual characters. The pace is measured, but overall it's a quick read, as Kotler stitches together the Kabbalah, murderous Mexican padres, the Vatican, a retiring smuggler, vague psychic abilities and an albino Rastafarian (among other things) into an original mixture of ingredients. Its climax is reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark -- you may like that or not -- but its body is fascinating in its imagery and cast. For extra special enjoyment, read both books at once and watch for Cantor synchronicities.

--Andreas Oo