Laurie's Reviews > A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
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's review
Sep 11, 2008

it was ok

Disappointing, truly. The sophomore work to her fabulous How the Universe Got Its Spots, this book tries to relate and entangle and depict the lives of two mentally tortured and brilliant mathematicians. It fails miserbaly. Levin was just trying to do too much here, so she failed to do enough. There was too much material just scanned over. She could have easily written two books, but then, I suppose that's been done, seeing as how she got most of her information from assorted biographies of the two men. In addition to her failure to fully relate the imapact of these men's lives, she also manages to, in Vonnegut style, insert herself sporadically into the narrative, making excuses that she could find a clever enough beginning and ending, citing mathematics as her cause. It just doesn't work. I found her interruptions irrelevant to the storyline, not to mention annoying and distracting. Basically, if you want to know about Turing and Goedele, read their individual biographies, and spare yourself the disappointment of thumbing through this abbrevaited and subpar attempt to tell their stories.

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