Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Logicomix: an epic search for truth

by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou
with Alecos Papadatos (art) and Annie Di Donna (color)

Abso-frickin'-lutely amazing! But I'm afraid if I tell you what it's about, you probably will think it sounds really boring...

This graphic novel tells the life story of philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell, who sought a solid logical foundation for mathematics and instead discovered a paradox that demonstrates the impossibility of describing, or even locating, such a bedrock from within the system of math, set theory and formal logic. Amazing, right? I mean, have you ever asked yourself whether "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves" contains itself? Of course it doesn't, because if it did, then it wouldn't, in which case it would, because it couldn't... Perhaps there's a reason so many logicians go insane (or why the insane are attracted to the study of formal logic).

Just like Russell's paradox, this book is self-referential, with segments on how the authors and illustrators worked on constructing the story, discussion of the meaning of the story and of story-telling itself, and even an allegory of sorts relating to the Greek tragedy The Eumenides, the last play in the Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus.

Monday, December 06, 2010


by Dale Peck

I like the first half of this book, when the green-haired small-town gay boy is secretly shtupping the hot corn-fed (half-Latino) jock. But I guess that's been done before, notably in Geography Club by Brent Hartinger.

The second half of the book went all weird and creepy with the introduction of a new character. That's also been done before, but this one sort of goes double creepy in an unappealing and unsettling way. The ending is all over the place: hopeful, hollow, heartbreaking. Made me give the book an overall negative rating.

Another complaint I have is that it fails to make use of the opportunity to deliver a safe-sex message. In fact, the only time condoms are mentioned, two teen characters are mocking adults' use of them. A quarter of a million Americans are HIV-positive and don't know it, and it isn't necessarily safer in the rural Midwest, where the story is set. So get tested, fools, and remember, Safe Sex Is Hot Sex!