This book is exactly how intelligent literary fiction should be.
Quantum physics deals with the behaviour of objects in the microphysical, subatomic, world. In this context Einstein had many discussions with physicists who were committed to an interpretation from which they concluded that nothing – the moon included – exists unless it is being observed. In other words: if you look at the moon, the moon exists, if you turn around and look in the opposite direction, the moon no longer exists. I suspect not many people would take this kind of reasoning seriously if not a genius, Albert Einstein, had taken it seriously.
With this somewhat unusual introduction let me tell you what this amazing novel is all about. Ultimately, it is a very beautiful love story. Without exception, the major characters in this book are likeable people. As you get to know them you would like to meet them, perhaps share a bottle of wine with them and talk about religion, God, reality, the US president Laura Georgina Bush, the CIA, about neutrinos and leptons, out of body experiences, love, sex, immortality and the best way of walking through a solid wall.
Some of these topics may sound unrealistic. They are and they are not, readers will have to decide that for themselves. They are presented in an often comical fictional context. But just let me remind you of Einstein’s discussions with physicists about the existence (or non-existence) of the moon. So don’t make up your mind about the reality of our world too quickly. The author’s great achievement with this book is that he manages to embed these largely philosophical topics in a gripping plot about the life experiences of Simon and Ambrosia, the couple at the heart of the novel’s love story.
This book is interesting and hugely entertaining; it presents challenging ideas and is very witty. It is exactly how intelligent literary fiction should be. I couldn’t put it down. It cost me a night’s sleep and made me change my priorities the following day. I am truly excited about this novel and recommend it highly.
Kate Jones, Pasadena, USA, writes about "Now - Being and Becoming": "As usual, this reader was awed by the author's cosmic range of thought, global vocabulary, the boldness of his ideas, the potpourri of philosophical sources, and his charming self-revelatory candor." Yes, the same happened to me. I was impressed. In one way or another, the book deals with all the big - really big! - actually: the Biggest! - philosophical issues known to mankind. What is reality? What is time? What is infinity? What does it mean to be dead? Who am I? Is there a God? Who is God? Who is God's God? And the book is also a great love story, perhaps even a personal love statement by the author? But not only does the author ask these very big questions within the framework of a novel, he also provides a multitude of possible answers. Actually, more than that: He speculates like there is no tomorrow (and maybe there isn't) and as you read his ideas you feel that he really must have had a ball of a time writing this book.
If I had come across this book ten or twenty years ago I would have read it several times and given it 10 stars. This book could easily have become my "bible" for, say, a couple of years. In the meantime, however, I have stopped searching for answers to all these fascinating questions. As a consequence, to me these questions are no longer what they used to be. They are no longer quite as important as they used to be, they are just questions that may or may not find an answer after my departure from this world.
There will be readers who love this book and read it several time and there will be readers who are wondering what it is all about, but even they, I think, will be able to appreciate the depth of philosophical thinking in this novel. That in itself deserves 5 stars. And then there is the love story! The love story that forms part of this book is timeless, original and absolutely splendid. I do recommend this book without hesitation, but please do not approach this book with any particular expectations. Just read it and follow the flow and you will be rewarded and amazed.
Every now and then you come across a book you wished you had read years ago. "DELUSIONS - Pragmatic Realism" is one of these books. It tackles the biggest philosophical, religious and scientific issues head on. And when I say the biggest, I do mean the BIGGEST: What is reality? 99.99etc99% of my body, of the chair I am sitting on of the planet I call home is empty space. What does that make me? Empty space? There are a few possible answers to that question. I won't give them away. Is there a God? And if there is a God what might this God look like? Can you trust science? Did it REALLY all start with a Big Bang? Can religion provide answers? These are the topics the author of this book writes about. At the same time this book could be called a letter to a famous atheist. (I would love to read the atheist's reply.)
When you read this book you can feel that every thought, idea and piece of knowledge you encounter just had to come out of the author's ... well, head, I guess. (I hesitated. Just now the question occurred to me: how can a book come out of 99.99etc99% of emptiness? - Never mind. The book can explain this.) It would not surprise me if it didn't take the author more than a few months to write it. Accordingly, sometimes the book is a little bit all over the place: jumping from one thought to the next and then back again. This was okay with me. It made for very entertaining reading. This is not a boring textbook. Apart from the many, many interesting facts it presents, it is humorous, witty, at times sarcastic and always thought-provoking. I liked it very much and highly recommend it.
PS: Maybe the 99.99etc99% emptiness is the "solid" staff and we just can't see it? A delusion and illusion...
Stan Law is never boring. Whether you read his fiction, nonfiction or short stories, he is entertaining and thought-provoking. I enjoyed these three stories very much: Mirror, Flash and the Man who couldn’t die. They contain messages, they even made me feel slightly uncomfortable. At the same time I marvelled about the creativity of the author’s mind. Or am I talking about … another mind? That takes me to another topic. Reality… Actually, it is the same topic. There is one topic only. Just ask the MAN WHO COULDN’T DIE. –– Oops. This seems to happen to me every time I read Stan I.S. Law: I get sucked in. But that’s a good thing. Fred Schäfer, author of The Invention of the Big Bang.