The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart (Book Review)

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I got this book for free sometime last year, and it was recommended to me by a trusted friend as a ‘cult classic’, comparable to Fight Club:

Luke Rhinehart is a psychotherapist bored of the routines of everyday life. Believing that we suppress other selves when decision making (i.e. a self that wants to steal, rape, and murder), he begins experimenting with what later becomes DiceLife – decisions and reactions decided by the roll of a dice.

Slowly this snowballs, gaining him a fame among many: thousands who follow the way of the Dice (a new religion, of sorts), and those despairing at the suggestion of destroying free will and random chance being an increasingly common claim in court.

As a short story idea, I feel this book would have worked a lot better. I got the impression about halfway through that the author had an idea, and stretched it way too far:

Firstly, positive stuff: I found the writing style to be very witty, and did like the main character – I seem to have a liking for fairly sarcastic, cynical main characters.

Secondly, the negative: Far, far too many of the decisions focus on sex, making the whole concept of a DiceLife feel little more than a sexual experiment. About 300 pages the vast majority of decisions related to who will sleep with who, and how. I felt this to be very limiting in terms of shock or interest.

Another thing is that I just didn’t buy it as a viable suggestion – that the philosophy behind it was in anyway convincing. The whole thing was just a bit silly (and I am aware some people follow it since the books publishing – likely mostly as an affectation).

Ultimately I was disappointed with the book, but I did finish it. The writing was witty and it was an easy read. I just wish that the author either shortened the length or included more varied content – as it stands, some content could have been removed with little effect in terms of the overall story.

 

 

 

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