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Synopsis

This book journeys from one far-flung topic to another to test the reader’s curiosity and powers of lateral thinking. Robert Pirsig wrote in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.” This also applies to the joy that writers experience when letting their minds drift and when wondering about humanity’s place in the universe. To this end, Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves is a collection of personal essays on topics the author contemplated after a Mediterranean journey. Subjects include fugu sushi, zombies, French writer Marcel Proust (not to mention cartoon guides to Proust), parallel universes, DMT-induced realities, hallucinogenic worms, Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, Thomas Jefferson’s decimated Bible, religious states, uncommon psychiatric disorders, drug-induced visions, Lucia Joyce, Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ, Albert Einstein, shamanist Terence McKenna, Burning Man, the business of book publishing (including famous rejected books), quantum theory, and the humming toadfish, whose incessant underwater droning at a perfect A-flat was a mystery for years. Complete with illustrations, Pickover's book entertains, informs, and invites his readers—old and new—to test their powers of lateral thinking and to see the world in a fresh way.

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