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The Lightning Stenography Device

2.97  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The first marketable thought to text device is released for public consumption in 2031. That same year, author Cassius Wagner will have a seizure. At least, that is what the novel says: the novel to which he awakens in fragments one morning after a late night of writing. This novel. Terrified to have a prophetic manuscript unfurling at his heels, his desperation to evade h ...more
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published March 19th 2018 by Painted Blind Publishing (first published 2018)
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Average rating 2.97  · 
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May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a hard book to get through, unfortunately, but not for the normal reasons.

For one, I did kinda like the premise and have always wanted to see it done in ways more glorious than the way Stephen King did it, namely the automatic typewriter from Tommyknockers, pouring out a novel telepathically, but what LSD did, here, turned it into an existential/literary/religious/meta twisty-turny writer's wet dream.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a writer, too, and a part of me really gets off on the deep wri
This book was very hard for me to get into and when I saw the part about a horse massacre, I decided not to go further. The two brothers didn't speak like two farmers from CO but maybe that's because they were more scientist than farmer, Others may like this book and I know I'm not giving a full review of the book but maybe it' will helps others decide if they want to read the book. I received this book in advance, to review, from NetGalley. and Painted Blind Publishing. ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
DNF @ 31%

This book is kind of killing me with boredom, and it's just too long to keep soldiering through it. 31% in, and I am still not sure where this is going. So either it's too smart for me, or just not my thing.

You could enjoy this is you like really tough literature, and I mean high brow, where you have to keep cracking at what things mean.

This was not for me.
BAM Endlessly Booked
Apr 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Netgalley #33

Many thanks to M F Sullivan, Painted Blind, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

I was reading this book, minding my own business, not really agreeing with the author but I at least understood what he was talking about then BOOM!!!!
It went off the deep end. Yeah, I seriously do not know what happened in section four. It was the most bizarre ending to the most obscure novel I have ever read in my entire life. After awhile I just skipped t
La La
4.5 on the blog.

MIND BLOWN! This book is super slow to start, but it was psychologically intriguing and rutting around in the philosophical, so I stuck with it. Around 20% the different characters begin to relate to each other and the plot picks up speed. The first half of the book takes place in 2031 and then switches to unknown times. The writing was engaging and I filled my Kindle with highlighted quotes and I never do this.

Now, I'm not saying it was intentional on the author's part, but the
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what an epic book. Before you start this book I highly recommend reading MF Sullivan’s first novel “Delilah My Woman”, that book is linked to this one in little ways and having that knowledge of the first book makes those links more effective. There are four parts to this novel and each one manages to stand well on it’s own. Part 1 is about the creation of the device and discovering what it can do. The device is called the Lightning Stenography Device (Or LSD for short), it’s a headband you ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Mar 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

2031 is the year that the first thought to text transcription device is released to the public. That's also the same year that Cassius Wagner, an author, has a seizure. At least, that is what his novel says - the fragmented novel which he wakes up to after a late night of writing. Afraid he has the makings of a prophecy on his hands, he's desperate to change his fate which prevents him from noticing that his editor might just be d
Apr 18, 2018 added it
Wow. That was something different!
This book looked to be unusual from the get-go: with a wonderfully exotic premise, and containing fantasy- my kryptonite- I picked it up with gusto. What I got out of it was something that could either be seen as a modern classic or, at times, very dense.
The Lightning Stenography Device is what’s at the heart of this book. Often shortened to LSD, it’s a device that transmits your thoughts straight to words on a computer screen. However, it also seems to have its
Caitlin Farley
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Literary fantasy with a pinch of horror and an existential twist that may leave some readers confused. The invention of the first thought to text transcription device is revolutionising the way authors work. Cassius Wagner is against the idea at first, but his author and editor girlfriend, Katherine, persuades him to try it. He’s so enamoured with the ease at which the device interprets his ideas that he soon purchases his own Lightning Stenography Device. One night he falls asleep while writing ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I feel as though M.F. Sullivan’s The Lightning Stenography Device is a book that will divide readers – you’ll either love this one or you will struggle to get through it. I feel as though there will not be many people in the middle ground between.

The Lightning Stenography Device is a book with a wonderful premise, one that sucked me in instantly. I was intrigued by all the possibilities, and I wanted to know more. Such is what had me jumping into the book, and what convinced me to continue turni
Armando Negron
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This will go down as one of the oddest books I've read recently. It is indeed a very interesting premise, here we have a contraption called the "Lightning Stenography Device" (conveniently shortened to the acronym LSD) which allows you to transform your thoughts into written words. I'm pretty sure that professional writers could only salivate at the thought of such an invention. Funny that one of the characters in the story (most of the characters are writers) pokes fun at another for writing a ...more
William Bitner Jr.
Genre - Fantasy/Metaphysical
Pages - 472
Publication Info - Painted Blind Publishing (March 19, 2018)
Format - Kindle
Stars - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The Lightning Stenography Device” by M.F. Sullivan is a literary evolution. Told in four parts, with each part being a story unto itself and later inter-woven into the whole. The first three parts are pretty much near future fiction and stick to the same cast of characters and storyline. Part 4 deviates from the first 3 parts and takes you on a mind altering journey. Be
Sean Randall
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Right up to Felicity I was very much enjoying myself. I clearly lack the cerebral capacity to appreciate the ending of this novel, unfortunately.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-2018
Filled with surrealism and philosophy, The Lightning Stenography Device forces the reader to question what they think they know about life and existence and is likely to appeal to fans of The Picture of Dorian Gray.


The Lightning Stenography Device, or LSD for short, boasts the ability to aid in writing by translating someone’s conscious thoughts into text on a computer screen. What it wasn’t supposed to do was work when the user was unconscious. Yet, when one of the creators wakes after
Mark Martinico
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well this is an unusual creature. I quite liked it. I didn’t completely love it, but I liked it. This is a story with four separate narrators, presented one at a time, the first three of which collectively provide a synoptic view of the events of the first half of the book. I fear though that some readers may fault the direction in which the fourth narrator goes in the second half of the book, as it is rather unexpected, and decidedly different. I myself don’t fault that, and in fact would tell ...more
Ash Friend
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is like a deep dreaming art generator. Or the synesthesia-dreams one might experience after taking ayahuasca. Or experiencing a very lucid dream, or mushroom-fueled psychiatric session guided by a psychiatrist with somewhat dubious ethics but impeccable aesthetic taste.

The book operates on multiple levels-- the surface story is somewhat reminiscent of a Pynchon novel, with a sympathetic but quirky protagonist desperately trying to be seen by their lover. A sinister genius with a new t
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The beginning of the book is about a device that transcribes thoughts to "paper". For some people the device writes a story while they sleep - and that story is prophetic. The characters are interesting and dynamic. A lot of weird stuff happens, and I love it.

The second half of the book is completely different and I thought it was amazing. I couldn't put it down until the end. It's a pure fantasy with magic and witches and kings. Taken as a whole, the book was really good. It was all very philo
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading The Lightning Stenography Device, I thought it was a great premise for a book. But, as I kept reading, the more confusing the book became too me.  At one point, during Cassius's chapters, I had to stop reading and I almost DNF'd. But, I have a personal vow to never stop reading a book and I picked it back up. I will say that the book was beautifully written and was very descriptive. I do think that the author should have stuck to two people to follow. It would have made th ...more
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it

Two brothers, Hermes and Enoch, managed to create a device which can perfectly re-transcript one's thoughts into words without the actual act of writing. They call it the Lightning Stenography Device, or LSD, and for anyone who's ever tried to write something (anything, really), this is a dream come true. But what does it mean when the LSD start to re-transcript real, actual events and thought processes, prophesy them even, when the user is asleep?

“You know why I love reading, Cassius?
Karen Puchner Oneil
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked it. The plot and details were good. I’m not a word y person but it was great and I enjoyed reading it. Can’t wait to start another of her books!! My new favorite author
C.E. Clayton
I’m going to just come out and say this upfront: this is a weird book. Absolutely gorgeous in terms of writing and its literary finesse, but the story is… odd. In short, “The Lightning Stenography Device” (or LSD for short, ha) is about a thought to text device (basically you think instead of typing, taking away all hesitation from getting words on the page) that has managed to write a story while a pair of writers was asleep. Which is cool! These stories somehow predict the future! Crazy, right ...more
K Fray
Aug 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't for the life of me remember where exactly I found this book. I know it was a NetGalley book that got lost to the annals of archives, and I had to go back through and track it down again so that I could read it and review it. (Not that I've done a great job of that lately, but hey, we're not talking about that...) This one had an interesting premise, that spoke to me as an author. The Lightning Stenography Device (or LSD as they so creatively acronymed it to) is a contraption you put on y ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
The Lightning Stenography Device by M. F. Sullivan was not what I expected. I can sum it up in one word – boring. I tried multiple times to finish. In the end I could not force myself beyond 28% complete. Therefore, it goes to the DNF list with no regrets.

I knew going in the book was classified as literary fantasy; therefore, I expected the pace to be slow and the story thought provoking. I got the slow part, but never in a million years would I count it as thought provoking. Maybe I did not re
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book from the author. I had the opportunity to review or not.

It took me longer to read this book than others of the same size. The premise of the book, an electronic device that turned thought into text was fascinating and thought provoking (no pun intended). I found myself reading some of the text slowly in order to absorb what the author was intending.

The book starts with the creation of a new, esoteric device by two brothers. The Lightning Stenography Device, o
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
I don't know what to say about this book. I gave it a shot and it didn't deliver.

The Lightning Stenography is about two brothers who have created a device that records thoughts and prints them out. One brother is having his thoughts/dreams recorded and interprets that this is a book his mind is writing. I thought this sounded interesting and I decided to give the book a shot. Unfortunately, the book is too philosophical and steeped in debate about the existence of God. One brother is slightly pr
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF, but not because it was completely terrible. Mostly because it was a bit of intellectual hard slog.

Don't be misled by the 2 star review, I am following the Netgalley system of responding to "would you recommend this book?" with "not really, it depends"

Hermes accidentally invents software to decode the human consciousness via a device known as the Lightning Stenography Device, or LSD. Enoch is jealous, and many strange happenings ensue

The majority of people I know would not be interested in r
K. J. Harrowick
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The voice and the writing in this book is stellar. It has a captivating narrative that threatens to suck any reader right into Hermes' and Enoch's world.

At the time I picked this up, I was so excited by the premise. I love bizarre stories. What didn't resonate with me though is how deeply philosophical the book got right away. While there are times this path would call to me to continue on, I'm currently at a point in my readin
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't expect this book to be as deep as it turned out to be. I really went into it thinking it would be a light, but interesting, science fiction. I almost stopped reading it several times because I felt lost in the twists and turns. Since I hate to not finish a book, however, I kept on and eventually got comfortable with being a little lost for a while. This book is deeply philosophical and isn't a light read by any means, but I
Mar 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
(Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review) Death by Prose.
I could not finish the book. I tried but just could not push through the dense and confusing prose. When I stopped I was only at 32% after 21 hours of trying to give it my all. I can only sum up the experience as follows: it felt as if I was reading scrambled eggs that needed to be unscrambled to uncover and understand what the author was really trying to cook. DNF NO RECOMMENDATION
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really don't know what to say about this book. First off, it was way too techy for my personal taste. Secondly, I don't typically like books set in the future. The characters were good, well developed but I couldn't relate to them.

I think that lovers of sci fi would enjoy it.

*Thank you to the author/publisher/Netgalley For the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest opinion*
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An Ohio native who attended college in Virginia before moving by train to Arizona, MF Sullivan is an author and playwright currently living in Southern Oregon. Sullivan is the author of DELILAH, MY WOMAN (2015) and THE LIGHTNING STENOGRAPHY DEVICE (2018), as well as the forthcoming DISGRACED MARTYR TRILOGY (2019-2020). All her work is available on, Barnes &, Painted Blind Publ ...more

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