Reading: Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy

I’ve tagged this as reading, but was actually an audiobook listen, my first in some time. I found myself looking around for podcasts and being a bit frustrated, I opened the Libby app and borrowed Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy just because it was available and near the top of the list. I otherwise had no intention of reading the book.

It works great as an audio book, being written as a dialog between a psychiatrist and a patient. So to me it’s one of those trick books where the action takes place in a single setting, largely in the minds of the characters via speech. It’s subject is math, the nature of reality with a strong emotional charge. Mostly the math and physics seem to be pretty well represented. Some other subjects not so well, but par for the course really.

An interesting contrast with The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler which I recently read, as both are vehicles to discuss our response to scientific advances, whether math, artificial intelligence or neuroscience. Nayler’s book is a more conventional plot based exposition of the problem, McCarthy takes a more rarified intelectual approach. Yet both show how well fictional tales can be used to explore our world and our reaction to it.

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