Publication Date: 04/07/2024 ISBN: 9781782279822 Category:


Benjamin Labatut

Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 04/07/2024 ISBN: 9781782279822 Category:
Paperback / Softback


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From the author of When We Cease to Understand the World: a thrilling, kaleidoscopic book about the destructive chaos lurking in the history of computing and AI

‘Monstrously good… Reads like a dark foundation myth about modern technology but told with the pace of a thriller’ Mark Haddon

In a scintillating mix of fact and fiction, The MANIAC tells of the dark foundations of our modern world and the nascent era of AI.

At its core is John von Neumann, a titan of science who revolutionised fields from game theory to computer systems and helped develop the atomic bomb. As illness unmoored his mind, his work pushed further into areas beyond human comprehension and control.

With dazzling mastery, Benjamin Labatut weaves von Neumann’s story together with the crises in physics at the beginning of the twentieth century and humanity’s showdown with artificial intelligence a hundred years later. Innovative and disquieting, this book plunges us into the most profound questions of humanity, where reason teeters on the brink of chaos.

Publisher Review

'Brilliantly cerebral' - Sunday Telegraph (five stars) '[Labatut] is fast emerging as the most significant South American writer since Borges... There is no one writing like him anywhere in the world' - Telegraph 'Reads like physicist Carlo Rovelli crossed with the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft' - Chris Power 'Imaginatively told through the fictionalised personal testimony of von Neumann's friends and family, the novel is as engrossing as it is disturbing' - Financial Times, Books of the Year 'Intoxicating... this marvel of a book, which inspires awe and dread in equal measure, is stalked by the greatest terrors of the 20th century, yet its final heart-stopping sentence makes clear the greatest terrors are yet to come' - Daily Mail

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