THE SIMULATION HYPOTHESIS

AN MIT COMPUTER SCIENTIST SHOWS WHY AI, QUANTUM PHYSICS AND EASTERN MYSTICS AGREE WE ARE IN A VIDEO GAME

A well-crafted discussion of simulation that is unexpectedly persuasive.

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A writer explores the idea that life is merely a simulation in this nonfiction book.

What if the real world isn’t real but just some kind of computer program? As Virk (Treasure Hunt, 2017, etc.) puts it, “The fundamental question raised by the Simulation Hypothesis is: Are we all actually characters living inside some kind of giant, massively multi-player online video game, a simulated reality that is so well rendered that we cannot distinguish it from ‘physical reality’?” Though the idea first entered the public consciousness courtesy of the blockbuster Matrix films, it is actually a topic that has interested people for far longer than video games have been around. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave suggests a similar concept, as do the teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism. Jung was interested in the notion of mental projection while Philip K. Dick—who frequently imagined such situations in his fiction—firmly believed that the world was a simulation. In this book, Virk explains how the Simulation Hypothesis is not as out there as it may initially seem, outlining how computer science, humanity’s understanding of physics, and mystical traditions going back thousands of years all point to the idea that the world may not be as “real” as people think it is. The author’s prose is clear and accessible, laden with pop-culture references and elucidated scientific concepts. He excels, particularly, in making the notion of a simulated reality—something that many readers might brush off as a subject best left to the very high and very paranoid—feel relevant to everyone: “The goal of what we call science is to understand the nature of reality. If we are in fact inside a video game, then science becomes a matter of ‘discovering’ the rules of this video game.” Most readers will likely not come away convinced that they are living in the Matrix, but, particularly with his discussion of quantum mechanics, Virk proves that reality is a much trickier thing than people are usually inclined to admit. Those looking to expand their brains for a few hours should enjoy this cerebral work.

A well-crafted discussion of simulation that is unexpectedly persuasive.

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9830569-0-4

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Bayview Books

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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