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Meme Update #2

In This Issue: 
The Truth Machine


I wish you and all your loved ones a prosperous and happy 1997! This year,
let's resolve to be even more conscious of the words we live by and the
words we say to others.


BOOK REVIEW - fiction

Halperin, James L. The Truth Machine (Ballantine, 1996).

First-time author Jim Halperin knows how to spread memes. He first put the
entire text of this speculative novel on the Web as freeware, then
micropublished The Truth Machine himself in hardcover (doing an excellent
job, I must say) prior to Random House making his baby their lead title for
Fall '96. Now Warner Brothers has bought the movie rights. What's the magic
of this book?

For the memeticist, anything dealing with a fundamental change in the way
ideas are communicated is prime reading material. Halperin builds an
all-too-credible future around the premise of the invention of an
infallible lie detector. (Trenchantly, the Truth Machine's creator is not
just any inventor but the world's greatest computer programmer. It stands
to reason that such a device would be largely software. And it's about time
us programmers got something - we've had a hell of a time!)

Halperin's style reminds me of a cross between Heinlein and Crichton. His
main strength is the believability of the near-future setting, complete
with amusing "news bulletins" about future current events. Neither plot nor
characters are complex, but this is definitely a can't-put-it-down novel,
as the societal and personal forces set in motion by the invention of the
Truth Machine play out to their climax in a Hellenic foreordainment.

You can order this book through the Amazon.Com Memetics Bookstore by
clicking here: