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Heart of the Original

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  12 reviews
True creativity, the making of a thing which has not been in the world previously, is originality by definition. But while many claim to crave originality, they feel an obscure revulsion when confronted with it. The really new is uncomfortable and disturbing. Repetition of the familiar is preferred. The hailing of old ideas as original lowers the standard for invention and ...more
Hardcover, 133 pages
Published September 10th 2015 by Unbound
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  70 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, essays
If you're going to write a book banging on about the importance of originality in thought and expression, you'd better make sure it's written in a really god-damn original way. And Steve Aylett's prose is, right enough, so original that after a few pages many readers may be forgiven for thinking that that's quite enough originality for one day, thanks. Like Nabokov, but to an infinitely greater degree, Aylett creates sentences so utterly stripped of banalities and stock phrases that they almost ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
One day at work, I opened my mail and this book was in it. I received it without request from the author.

It is deceptively short, packed densely with interesting examinations of ideas related to creativity and originality. While this won't be for everyone, if you enjoy a deep dive into philosophy where most of the examples are literary (heavy on science fiction examples), you will enjoy this. I did!
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
An example of how I choose what to read next from my book pile: the cover of ‘Heart of the Original’ was visually appealing and matched my hair (freshly dip-dyed green) and dress (purple). Prioritising books once I’ve borrowed them from the library always requires arbitrary choices. I initially searched out ‘Heart of the Original’, however, because Steve Aylett is the funniest writer I have ever read. I recommend Lint in particular and also the Only an Alligator series, which I intend to re-read ...more
Jay Green
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found myself wanting to highlight every sentence in this book. A tour de force that exemplifies creativity and originality at the same time as it explores those very same topics. Alan Moore has it right: "Force-fed with ideas until its liver explodes, this staggeringly brilliant book has scarcely a line in it that won’t make you wish you’d thought of it first." ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books, innovation, poetry
Reading this book was an enervating experience. Postmodernist manifesto or irreverent prank? Most of the time, I couldn’t make head nor tails of it. But the crumb trail of brilliant one-liners, bizarre factoids and pointers to offbeat authors kept me going. Certainly, there is a place for this kind of book, “ … a book like an alien fruit, a book like a rack of honeycomb, a book like a cognitive cathedral, a book that behaves like a liquid but explodes like a solid, a book that has pops and scrat ...more
Alex Sarll
Noting that our culture always talks about prizing fresh thinking, while acclaim and success in fact go to the comfortably dilute and familiar, the reliably awkward author of Lint offers a hilarious, thought-provoking treatise on what originality is, how to do it, and above all how to get away with it. It's equal parts genuine creative manifesto and a piss-take of the nonsense you find in manifestoes, often at the same time. When he discusses primitive man, for instance, and how in cave art "Woo ...more
Rob Adey
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrifyingly high proportion of good sentences. I've got three pages of references to follow up from this. ...more
G. Brown
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In order to understand The Heart of the Original we must first attempt to understand its author, Steve Aylett, but we find this is impossible for several reasons. Aylett is almost as mysterious as he is brilliant. Great portions of his history have been erased from the universe. One thing seems clear: Aylett was created in the core of a pulsar by an alien god who hates pasta. Was he reared for the special purpose of creating amazing works of non-fiction such as The Heart of the Original? There i ...more
Simon P
Aug 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
I liked parts of this book, the parts that are like absurdist self-help for writers. It's certainly interesting.

Or is it? It might be an odd, angry text that doesn't really say anything except "I don't find many media to be that unique or interesting"? Fair enough if that's your perspective, but without a cogent argument to support that assertion and more importantly without an alternative, all we really have is an absurdist whine.

The premise of the book, that only truly original thoughts and wo
Neon Books
Sep 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Steve Aylett promises a lot in the video introduction to his most recent book Heart Of The Original. In its pages, we’re told, we’ll “discover why the same idea is repeatedly hailed as a breakthrough, why obvious outcomes are met with surprise, why almost any situation is improved by a berserking hen, why the best way to get into something is to think of it as mischief, and how you can locate new ideas by thinking spatially.”

Full review at:
Mark Harding
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Still digesting this one.
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Steve Aylett (b. 1967) is a satirical science fiction and slipstream author of several bizarro books. He is renowned for his colorful satire attacking the manipulations of authority, and for having reams of amusing epigrams and non-sequiturs only tangentially related to what little plot the books possess.

Aylett left school at age 17 and worked in a book warehouse, and later in law publishing.


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