12 March 2015

Land of Matta: A philosophical phantasy

Now available

Published 27 May 2015:

The Land of Matta: A philosophical, quantum-mechanical phantasy 

About the book:

A fantasy in the sense of Alice in Wonderland, but not for children.
It's cock-and-bull like Tristram Shandy, but without the digressions.
It's satire in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels, but the satire is on modern science.
The humour is British, like the Goons or Monty Python.
The protagonists are two young students, Phi and Psi, finding their way in life. In Book I, In Quest of Mu, they go in search of the ancient Mu, a philosophical refugee from Athens to Upper Matta.
Mu himself is on a philosophical quest to answer his guiding question, Why is there movement at all, rather than standstill?
In Book II, The Way Back to Anaxaton, the main character turns out to be the mysterious Willy P., the power behind the scenes.
Matta stands for 'mathematics', but there are no formulae, only a more or less playful, historical treatment of maths along with a couple of Greek symbols.
The quantum mechanics is accurate, but blown up to fantastic proportions with fun-loving, unbridled literary licence. This makes it look superficially like sci-fi, but it's subtler.
The philosophical strand is substantial, but presented narratively and playfully camouflaged. The presentation is tongue-in-cheek, so the reader constantly has to decide at each point whether it's serious sense or straight-faced nonsense. Usually it's both.
It has some quasi-Platonic dialogue, and the whole is borne by philosophical questions subversively at work in the background.

Table of Contents 

Book I: In Quest of Mu 5

1. Phi and Psi set off 7
1.1 Mu’s quest 8
2. Arrival in the Land of Matta 13
2.1 Nosear, capital of Matta 15
2.2 At Prof. Walter Suchburn’s 16
2.2.1 Integrator Zinbeil 17
2.2.2 Mu’s emigration to Matta 20
2.3 Integrative slippery dips in Zinbeil Park 27
2.4 A second evening with Prof. Suchburn 32
2.5 Wal’s student, Roger, exercising ineffective standstill 37
2.6 A third evening with Wal 42
3. Maxham in Lower Matta 51
3.1 Canoe trip to Welliton, Maxham on the reverse-flow Yadaraf River 51
3.2 Prof. Valery Eigen and her electron-horse at the Planckstein Stud 53
3.3 Crucial advice from Prof. Eigen’s assistant, Lethae 63
4. Eilgorb in Upper Matta 69
4.1 Seminar with Gamma 70
4.2 First day: dynamic situations, perceptors and conjugal products 72
4.3 Second day: operators, bras and kets 80
4.4 Second day, second half: the location perceptor 89
4.5 Farewell dinner with Gamma 97
5. Underway to Matta Matta 103
5.1 Tunnelling through Mount Carid 103
5.2 Abmootak Diophantine Solutions 106
6. Matta Matta 119
6.1 Arrival in Parmenian Matta Matta at Kappa’s 120
6.2 Angela Momenta and the Simple Harmonic Oscillators 124
6.3 A drink after the show with Kappa, Tau and Chora 131
6.4 An encounter with simple harmonic oscillators 140
7. A public debate between Mu and Zeta (Zinbeil) 145
7.1 At Tau’s and Chora’s 145
7.2 Debate disk one: Calculating movement 147
7.3 Debate disk two: Question of time 156
7.4 Debate disk two: Question of time (continued) 163
8. A final farewell from Mu 171

Book II: The Way Back to Anaxaton 179

1. Leave-taking from Matta Matta 179
2. Return to Lower Matta 187
2.1 An evening with Lethae 189
2.2 Hiring electron-horses 198
3. On the way through the Wodanaz Forest 203
3.1 Underthrowlingen and Watchmaker Gidnaestnebod 204
3.2 The Rutaneneir organic community 210
3.3 Pedestrian crossing in the forest 216
3.4 Edeirfdlaw and a renewed meeting with Roger 220
3.5 A theatrical performance on time introducing Willy P. 225
4. Held captive in the cyberworld 237
4.1 E-mares in the cloud 237
4.2 Forced labour in the bit-string copulators of Turingia 243
4.3 Escape from Turingia 249
5. A stay in hospital 257
5.1 A mysterious, spontaneous recovery 257
5.2 In the clutches of neuroscience 258
6. Hitting the trail again 267
6.1 An encounter with the young Sussicran 267
6.2 Ph. R. H. 279
6.3 An excursion to Estyflop battle-field 286
6.4 Oneiric messaging from Quantasia 289
6.5 A whirlwind party 297
7. Last leg of journey 307
7.1 Back in Nosear with Wal 309
7.2 Marj Kcam’s lecture in Zinbeil Park: The infinitesimal gap 310
8. Back home in Anaxaton 323

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