Randy Miller's Reviews > Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials

Cyclonopedia by Reza Negarestani
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Nov 29, 11

bookshelves: to-read

I haven't finished this yet, I'm barely 50 pages in, but I'm struggling with how to approach it. If I look at it as a sort of artistic emulation of the mystical, numerological, everything-is-connected obsession of a paranoid schizophrenic, then I find it interesting and unsettling. I can ignore the analogies that are, quite frankly, reaching (listing all the metaphysical/metaphorical ways in which oil can be said to be slippery), and I can ignore the justifications that are factually incorrect (Islamic fundamentalists have a vendetta against tall buildings specifically and seek to level the earth...have you SEEN the Abraj Al Bait in Mecca? Or, I don't know, any minaret anywhere?), because it's emulating the mind of the insane, it only needs the /illusion/ of depth and consistency. Given the number of allusions of Lovecraft, and the prominent role of madness in his work, I think this is a reasonable reading.

But sometimes I read it and I just think, here's a guy who thinks he's being way more clever than he actually is, intentionally obfuscating the text with ridiculous new words (blobjectivity?) and prose that would be considered unarguably awful anywhere outside of academia, using this obfuscation to hide the fact that most of his ideas are pretty half-baked and not nearly as coherent as he tried to present them as. And when I see it that way, it's infuriating.

But there are some great ideas in here, and I'm sure I'll encounter plenty more as I progress, so it's too early to say which train of thought I'm actually leaning towards. I want it to be the first, because that's the kind of book I would really enjoy reading, and it's the kind of book I was hoping for when I bought this, but I'm just not sure yet that it's a reading I'll be able to keep up.
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