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Operators and Things

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Psychedelic memoir of the healing power of schizophrenic hallucinations in the 1950s
Published May 4th 1976 by Signet (first published 1958)
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The most baffling thing about this book is that it isn't more widely known than it is. I've no real idea why - perhaps because it was written and published in the '50s, rather than the more receptive '60s? Or, more likely, because of its subject, madness? Or that a lot of readers just aren't sure how to take it: as fiction or as fact? If it's fiction, then I guess you could very loosely class it as science fiction, although I've read a lot of that and I don't know of anything else quite like thi ...more
Derek Davis
I picked up a paperback 40 years ago that has sat on my mind like a restless beast. It's had an effect on me like nothing else I've read, nothing I've since experienced.
How did I come on Operators and Things, and why could I not relate it to anything else in the world? My hazy answer (not recollection) is that I must have picked it up because of the bizarre title and opened it at random. I had no idea what I was reading. I just knew that it scared the living shit out of me.
Over time, I've read I
A fascinating, if difficult, read. Difficult because you have to be constantly careful not to take the book for more than it is, which is to say, a highly subjective and potentially flawed (perhaps even fictional) account of the narrator's experience with paranoid schizophrenia and its interface to the previous and subsequent normality.

I think the gist of what I like most in this book lies in the metanarrative, in watching the narrator - clearly an intelligent and perceptive individual - trying
Bri Fidelity
I've never actually seen or owned a copy of this book - when last I checked, it was 30 for a battered paperback copy on Amazon, and I'm neither that rich or that reckless - but there's at least one PDF copy floating around the Internet that I recommend wholeheartedly. (A reprint, passing publisher-types, would be nice.)

[ETA: Passing publisher-types, thank you very much.]
Octoff Malheiro
Feb 08, 2008 Octoff Malheiro rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People of The Immovable Race
Recommended to Octoff by: Lawrence Joseph Davis 7-14-42/3-26-07
Schizophrenia is attosecond communication..
Normal or average Human beings are not set up for this quality of comm.

1 in 17,000 have enhanced minds..
1 in a billion complete two way flow of information.
1 incarnate being has total access/7^72^999 applications
per attosecond..
The one incarnate being would naturally be considered

The aboriginal 1st people knew that the 'crazies'
were children close to the Great Spirit..

The Great Spirit is altogether different from the gods
of the world rel
"Burt explained. I could see why he had been chosen spokesman. What he had to say, he said clearly and in a few words. I had been selected for participation in an experiment. He hoped I would be cooperative; lack of cooperation on my part would make matters difficult for them and for myself. They were Operators, the three of them. There were Operators everywhere in the world although they rarely were seen or heard. My seeing and hearing them was, unfortunately, a necessary part of the experiment ...more
The Hermit's
A complex account of a 6 month long spontaneous schizophrenic episode and the subsequent healing. I could relate to the complexity of delusions, hallucinations and paranoia and her understandable urge to suddenly leave her surroundings after experiencing insidious stress in the workplace.
Absolute must-read. Wise, optimistic, illuminative and most enjoyable.
Sep 19, 2008 Jackie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to make sense of schizophrenia
This is adventure - the writer is tipped into it against her (conscious) will. Her courage and humour are evident. It is about alientation in modern society, healing, integration and mental health. I would love to know what happened to her next...

I read this book in 1977 and loaned it out, never to have it returned. Got it again on Amazon and it is just as interesting second time around 30 years later. I noticed different things this time though.
Fascinating....a true account of schizophrenia from a personal perspective, written in the fifties by a woman who apparently succumbed to the disease, describes her experience, and apparently became free from it on her own.
Terrifying little memoir of a woman failing to do it for herself, because of the misogyny of the early 1950s and her misunderstood, stigmatized mind and how the two things coalesced and bred a horrible little life for her.
A clear and compelling description of mental illness. It helps those of us not so challenged really understand what it is like for the one struggling with schizophrenia.
Ostensibly the memoir of a recovered schizophrenic. Unlike any other (auto)-biography I've ever read.
Jennifer Wingard
Definitely an interesting read... especially the section on office politics and "Hook Operators".
Alana S
Really interesting book about one persons experience with schizophrenia!
accidentally read at work in PDF form; thanks, metafilter!
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