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Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (Anomaly) Paperback – 30 Aug 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: re.press (30 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980544009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980544008
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I read this book and began to Fall. It induces vertigo. From its opening pages you are pushed into a yawning void. An American artist travels to meet an online correspondent who has disappeared and left behind a profoundly disturbing manuscript, filled with cryptic notes and occult references.

"How long have I been in this room?" Such is scribbled in the margin, a desperate question that echoes something fundamental about being.

In Cylonopedia, we are treated to a Burroughsian fervour - the heated breath of the Middle East on the back of our neck. In a climate where fear is the desired method of calming the populace, Negarestani presents us with a text that is a living thing which defies literary and philosophical taxonomy.

Cylonopedia reveals the softness that lurks beneath the solidity of things, cracking the gridded pipelines of perception and sending you, wonderstruck, into the darkness in which you hear the buzzing of Pazuzu, the mutterings of Abdul Ahazered and the oozing burn of hot poisoned flesh.

If Danielewski's House of Leaves disturbed you with the Navinson Report, the Cylonopedia, with its heretical philosophy, does to politics, economics, mythology and religion, what Dreams in the Witchouse did to space.

Amazing work.
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Format: Paperback
Well, it was definitely an "interesting" read, having managed to get through it. Be warned: don't buy this book expecting anything as mundane as a plot. There's an extremely thin contextual layer and an (at least as far as I could tell on first reading) almost totally irrelevant introductory story, but the bulk of the book consists of quotes from various delusional, conspiracy-theorist style ramblings: all neologisms, non-sequiturs and looming, jargon-encased Big Pictures. In that sense, it's a very impressive reflection of what religion would look like if it really were delusional. It's thought-provoking, but mostly about what the point of the book really is - is it a joke, is it a depiction of delusional thinking, a comment on the superficial connections of "internet think", are we supposed to take the ideas being presented in mangled form seriously, is the mangled form part of the message, or is the point related to us actually wondering about that kind of thing?

So it's arguably always going to be succeeding at *something*, but not at being some kind of relatively straight horror-philosophy. For that, the read-at-face-value ideas themselves (or, there being anything inherently horrifying about them) weren't convincing / compelling / readable enough to be disturbing. Since that's what it seems to be being primarily marketed as, two stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I suppose it's appropriate that I can't tell you how I came to buy this book. At some point I must have followed a chain of links and recommendations which brought me to a point where I added it to my basket, but I cannot tell you how it came about. Apt, considering.

When I first started reading this, I got genuinely excited, because it seemed to be great. A combination of theology, politics, Lovecraftian horror, philosophy, satire all wrapped up within a narrative about a missing Iranian professor of the esoteric. It's very Lovecraft for the 21st century; the intellectual slowly opening more doorways into the unknown and paying a terrible price, and the overriding concept - that of oil as a malign, semi-sentient cthonian force which serves as the lubricant for not only war and politics and history but also of stories and ideas themselves is a powerful one. Fans of Lovecraft will recognise the glutinous lurking dread of the Dark Young of lightless Kn'Yan writ large.

The thing is, that whilst there's a lot to like, there's a lot not to like as well. And that's the problem.

One of the other reviewers has suggested that this is an updated version of the Sokal hoax - a notorious hoax on the self-regarding postmodern intelligentsia written by a physics professor who strung together a load of meaningless catchphrases and ideological ducktalking and got published in a leading cultural studies journal. Thing is, I don't think it is; there's so much work gone in here, with references and cross-references painstakingly noted (and genuine, in the most part) that it has to be serious.
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Format: Paperback
`Incomparable. Post-genre horror, apocalypse theology and the philosophy of oil, crossbred into a new and necessary codex.' (China Miéville, author of Perdido Street Station and The Scar)

`Reading Negarestani is like being converted to Islam by Salvador Dali.' (Graham Harman, author of Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things)

`It is rare when a mind has the courage to take our precious pre-conceptions of history, geography and language and turn them all upside down, into a living cauldron, where ideas and spaces become alive with fluidity and movement and breathe again with imagination and wonder. In this great novel by Reza Negarestani, we are taken on a journey that predates language and post dates history. It is all at once apocalyptic and a beautiful explosive birth of a wholly original perception and meditation on what exactly is this stuff we call "knowledge".' (E. Elias Merhige, director of Begotten and Shadow of the Vampire)

`This brilliant and exhilarating work is a forensic journey across the surface territories of the Middle East and into the depth of its sub-terrain. The earth is produced as a living artifact, gutted and hollowed out by nomadic war tactics, the practices of extreme archaeology and the logic of petroleum extraction. Inventing a radical new language and reconceptualizing the relationship between religion, geology, and ways of war, Reza Negarestani philosophically ungrounds thus the very grounds of contemporary middle-east politics.' (Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land)

`Cyclonopedia is an extraordinary tract, an uncategorizable hybrid of philosophical fiction, heretical theology, aberrant demonology and renegade archaeology.
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