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In Thinks..., David Lodge writes another witty satire on the vagaries and triumphs of contemporary British academic life and achieves a fine balance between multiple points of narrative interest. He gains much momentum from psychologically nuanced romantic intrigue, and also manages to offer intelligent speculation on the state of play in the scientific and philosophical investigations into the nature and workings of human consciousness, without preaching or becoming ponderous.
Thinks... recounts the experiences of Helen Reed, distinguished novelist, who accepts a creative writing teaching gig at the fictional University of Gloucester after the sudden death of her husband. Here she meets Ralph Messenger, scholar, spin doctor, philanderer and head of the illustrious Colt Belling Centre for Cognitive Science. Scientist and novelist spar:
She asks them what they were working on. Jim says robotics, Carl says affective modelling. Kenji says something indistinct that Ralph repeats for her benefit--genetic algorithms. "I can guess what robotics is," says Helen, "but what on earth are the others?"The form of the novel carefully mirrors its intellectual concerns. We are given Ralph's attempts to tape-record his random thoughts; Helen's more introspective diary and the often hilarious writing assignments of Helen's motley crew of students, who attempt literary solutions to the problems Ralph poses Helen. Written with enviable deftness, Thinks... manages to be generous to its characters and serious about the intellectual and ethical questions it poses for itself without losing satiric bite. --Neville Hoad --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Carl explains that affective modelling is computer simulation of the way emotions affect human behaviour.
"Like grief?" Helen says, glancing at Ralph.
"Exactly so," he says. "Though Carl is actually working on a program for mother-love."
"I'd like to see it," says Helen.
"I am not able to give a demonstration, I'm afraid," says Carl. "I am rewriting the program."
David Lodge is the author of ten bestselling novels and a novella. He also wrote two highly successful TV adaptations: his own novel NICE WORK and Dickens' MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. He taught for many years at the University of Birmingham, where he is now Honorary Prof. of English. Though a south Londoner by upbringing, he continues to live in Birmingham.
I'm reading it for a second time. Not one of his best. The most irritating things is that the computer science students are shown as glum, silent and stupid, while the arts... Read morePublished 12 hours ago by Ransen Owen
Written by a true professional. Has great humour, insight and verve. A highly recommend book and priced so well for the Kindle.Published 17 months ago by Antonio Moretti
No complaints about condition or service. All good.
An enjoyable a witty read - looking out for more by author.
A wonderfully innovative narrative and so very glad to see Professor Lodge back on the university campus - the place he really knows best (I'd leave Hawaii well alone !!). Read morePublished on 10 May 2012 by D. Sedgwick
David Lodge's 'Nice Work' appeared on my university reading list and I devoured it, transposing my lecturers onto my reading and identifying with figures of the industrial world I... Read morePublished on 10 Sept. 2011 by Cherry Coombe
Once upon a time David Lodge wrote satirical novels about a fictitious University, involving a little bit of good healthy sexual innuendo and quite a lot of wit. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2011 by Ms. Fiona Allen
This novel is light and inconsequential but fun. I read it years ago, when it first appeared, and when I was in the community of researchers into the science of consciousness. Read morePublished on 6 April 2011 by Andrew Ross
David Lodge is at his best when writing about what he knows and he knows campus life well. His protagonist, Ralph Messenger, is a cognitive scientist who is trying to record all... Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2010 by Moonlit
I first read this book in 2001 and have just re-read it with much enjoyment. It made me laugh out-loud: partly because of the familiarity of the setting in a university, the story... Read morePublished on 13 July 2009 by Bluebell