Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review of The Blind Geometer by Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson’s 1986 The Blind Geometer is an interesting thought experiment at the intersection of blindness and spatial geometry.  Told through the eyes Carlos Oleg Nevsky, Robinson presents the life of a sightless person working for the government as a mathametician.  Helping an office mate with a confidential situation that Nevsky and his cutting edge knowledge may be able to assist with, the story quickly becomes intriguing.  And when introduced to the enigmatic Mary to help carry on the investigation, not everything is as his senses would tell him, a deeper examination needed. 

Presenting the life of a handicapped person from a sensual perspective, Robinson should be commended for putting himself, and as a result the reader, in the shoes of a blind man with the aim of realism.  Olevsky happening to be a brilliant geometer who loves modern classical music (not an oxymoron) and baseball—or at least beepball, the story is full of references to be followed up on.  Everything from philosophy (Husserl and Derrida) to mathematics, to the fictional blind detective Max Carrado; Robinson has done his homework.  But what else does one expect from the author...

Essentially a one-off, The Blind Geometer is no more complex than the title.  More a springboard for further inquiry, reader who enjoy the theory and science behind things will enjoy the novella most. All else will have to settle for a simple yet engaging story of a blind man’s mystery.  The sex scene is a bit… conical (and as a result, comical), but the remainder suits matters admirably.

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