Dec 2, 2010

I Really Want to Read This: LOGICOMIX: an Epic Search for Truth

Since it's Christmas season, I have no problem featuring some comics that I really want to read but can't, for various reasons (e.g., out of print, I live in the Philippines and it's a small comic so it won't come here, I'm short on cash, whatever). It's not like anyone can get them for me, so I won't feel like I'm fishing for it.

Originally published in Greek, LOGICOMIX: AN EPIC SEARCH FOR TRUTH is written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, drawn by Alecos Papadatos, and colored by Annie Di Donna. I'm not sure if it's ever coming to the Philippines, and I would love to read it.

I don't say it much here (if I've said it at all), but I majored in mathematics (as well as economics) in college (and yet, that's not what I do... yeah, the term "specialization" doesn't really apply to me). I did it out of a genuine love for the subject, because I love mathematics, and because, uh, quite frankly, I'm good at it. I even have a copy of the documentary about Andrew Wiles proving Fermat's Last Theorem.

One of the most brilliant guys to ever walk the face of the earth was Bertrand Russell. He was the father of set theory, which goes a long way into explaining how numbers work.

This book is about his life, and I just think it's such a cool idea for a book, and it would show people that math isn't as dry as it's made out to be.

I'd love to read it.

Here's the official website.


J. L. Bell said...

By coincidence, I finished reading Logicomix for the first time this week. It is very interesting, especially in how it sets up the narration and what I have to call "the story of the storytelling."

Russell's life provides a biographical structure, but in the end I found the book disappointing as biography because it was selective and incomplete.

In that regard, I found Suspended in Language, about Niels Bohr, a more satisfying melding of 20th-century biography and high-level thinking in comics form.

Duy Tano said...

Interesting! The page count does seem to be really small to be truly satisfying; it's just that I really love Bertrand Russell. The man was ridiculously brilliant.

In terms of its being a story does it have more substantial things to say than "This is how Bertrand Russell lived"?

Unknown said...

Both Logicomix and Suspended in Language sound like something I would like. Always thought the feud between Edison and Tesla would make a cool graphic novel. Thanks for pointing me towards some new good reads.

Duy Tano said...

Hey, actually, that'd be a great idea for a new post: suggestions for more biographies!

The Edison/Tesla one would take up an inordinate amount of space. I would think it would have to be a series of novels.

J. L. Bell said...

The story of Logicomix, in my eyes, isn't so much Bertrand Russell's life as one strand of it: the attempt to find a completely logical basis for mathematics, and thus for life. That story ends by running into the wall of Kurt Gödel, for this book's purposes.

Other aspects of Russell's life get cursory treatment, if any. The authors (who are characters themselves in a parallel narrative of the creation of the comic) acknowledge leaving out his older brother, for instance. His year in jail for protesting WW1 gets one panel, and it's in there because that gave Russell the time to complete one of his books. His other social activism hardly appears at all. His son's schizophrenia is mentioned as a sign of the irrationality in the world rather than something Russell as a father had to deal with.

That said, I have no doubt that Logicomix is the best Bertrand Russell comic out there.

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