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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by…
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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos (Illustrator), Annie Di Donna (Illustrator)

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Title:Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth
Authors:Apostolos Doxiadis
Other authors:Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos (Illustrator), Annie Di Donna (Illustrator)
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read, eBooks
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis (2009)

  1. 60
    Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: An obvious suggestion (surprised it's not here already). Both are creative and fictional riffing off of formal logic and incompleteness.
  2. 50
    Bertrand Russell : the spirit of solitude, 1872-1921 by Ray Monk (sharder)
    sharder: Where Logicomix gives the 'cartoon'-version (and does it very well!) of Bertrand Russells life, Ray Monks biography of Russell is the classical biography. As with his biography of Wittgenstein it is both reliable, "complete" and a good read. (The biography is in 2 vols., this is the first).… (more)
  3. 30
    Gödel’s Proof by Ernest Nagel (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: A brief explanation of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for the lay reader, recapitulating some of the history of logic included in Logicomix.
  4. 20
    Feynman by Jim Ottaviani (yokai)
    yokai: Un portrait d'un autre grand scientifique en BD beaucoup plus réussi que celui de Russel.
  5. 10
    Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel by Rebecca Goldstein (michaeljohn)
  6. 10
    The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing by Martin Davis (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Another story about Logic and the contribution of Leibniz, Cantor, Frege etc.
  7. 00
    Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Serviette)
    Serviette: Going deep in the world of ideas
  8. 00
    Pythagorean Crimes by Tefcros Michaelides (GIEL)
  9. 00
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (MarkYoung)
  10. 00
    The System of the World by Neal Stephenson (MarkYoung)
  11. 11
    Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Graphic novels with historical subject-matter straddling the line between fiction and non-fiction and containing the parallel story of their own creation.
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English (68)  French (6)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (84)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
‘Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoan to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoan, who gives us this assurance.’
—Bertrand Russell

‘Logic! Good gracious! What rubbish! How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?’
—EM Forster

Logicomix has the admirable idea of presenting us, in comic form, with the story of the search for the logical underpinnings of mathematics in the early twentieth century, told mostly through the life of Bertrand Russell.

Usually, when this story comes up at all, it seems to be told by way of a prelude to the birth of computing (in, for instance, Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which rushes past Russell to get to Turing), so it was nice here to see it placed front and centre. And on the whole, the details of these often quite abstruse theoretical investigations are very well explained here, embedded as they are in the context of the main players' personal lives and professional rivalries.

I really love Bertrand Russell for the way that his professional logicalism did not impede his towering moral authority – he embodied a pacifistic, anti-authoritarian activism that was awakened during the First World War and that lasted until the end of his life, when he was still being dragged away from protests by police in his eighties. This moral sensibility takes a backseat to the quest for logic in the book, though it's definitely there – a framing story concerns Russell's feelings about pacifism in the 1939 war, and within the main story the authors are careful to show the effects of the first war on all the major characters.

I have to admit, with my ideal image of Russell in mind, it was painful for me to read about the way he behaved towards his first wife and his children, about which I knew nothing before I read this. The authors – as they themselves explain – are very concerned to make sure that this is a story about these mathematicians' and philosophers' private lives as well as their professional investigations. Though I have to admit, the drama in the forbidden relationships and family secrets never seemed quite as engaging to me as the actual nerdy stuff about logic.

I had lingering doubts as I read this of whether it was really suited to the comics form: somehow, it never really felt like it was playing to the strengths of the medium. I was also not convinced by the choice to include several metanarrational interludes in which the authors and illustrators talk about how best to tell the story; this seemed, on the whole, more of a distraction than anything else, although a final section set during a present-day production of the Oresteia is a tour-de-force.

There's lots to get out of this book and I'd definitely recommend it, but in the end it's one of those pieces that I admired more for its concept than its execution. Illogical perhaps – but that, as the book demonstrates, is to be expected. ( )
1 vote Widsith | Jun 19, 2017 |
This book was okay. It's a comic that straddles historical fiction and biography, providing the life story of Bertrand Russell as well as some background in developments of logic in the early twentieth century. It's occasionally interrupted by pages where the creators of the comic discuss creating the comic. These moments I found twee and not very insightful. The main story is fine, though not very deep, and I was irritated at the number of things the creators outright made up yet still ascribe character significance to-- the whole book is driven by a dichotomy between madness and logic in Russell's life that has no basis in reality.
1 vote Stevil2001 | Feb 12, 2017 |
Great book. One of my favourites so far. ( )
  JatinNagpal | Nov 30, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The art is fun, and I found the discussions about logic and its foibles interesting. I think I would have liked it better as a straight biography of Bertrand Russell; the drive to make a fictional story out of what is actually a pretty interesting subject confuses me. Why add layers of fiction to something good enough on its own?

I admit that the idea of "historical fiction" just doesn't do it for me. Makes no sense. Tell a true story and call it historical, or tell a traditional story and call it fiction. I don't like blending the two.

And, finally, the end of the book lost me. What was the point? Maybe I am too tired to put it all together. But, rather than wrapping things up in a meaningful, poignant way, I felt like the end just sort of petered out. Like they were just done and wanted to draw some cool pictures.

But still, worth a couple days' read. ( )
  ThePortPorts | May 8, 2016 |
The idea behind Logicomix in and of itself is fairly unique and hard to imagine (which I suppose lends itself well to the novel's theme of reality sometimes being a rather big object of uncertainty that is difficult to represent through abstraction, and that this may or may not lead to, or arise from, mental complications such as neuroticism), being a pseudo biography of (mostly mathematical) philosopher Bertrand Russel and his attempts to build foundations for mathematics with other big figures in this field at the time, such as Wittgenstein and Kurt Godel, that is also a graphic novel. I say pseudo biography because the authors are clear to point out that they've taken some liberties with Russel's life to make it seem more like an actual novel or story rather than a non-fictional biography. This isn't to say it's a complete "what if" kind of novel, as the story does in fact follow Russel's life accurately for the most part, especially when it comes to his and other philosophers' main arguments, but some meetings between characters in the story are either loosely supported by real evidence, or probably untrue.

Either way, the result is a rather interesting novel-biography that not only has a fairly nice-looking art style to it, that is perhaps deliberately minimalistic to an extent to compliment the theme of "pure simplicity" that the authors imply at least some mathematicians wish to attain, and also has a lovely amount of detail to the settings and inspired interpretations of actual philosophers (seeing Wittgenstein's huge eyes was fairly enjoyable from the moment he entered the stage), but is also a great, "user-friendly" introduction to mathematics in general and an enjoyable exploration into what it means to be a mathematician, philosopher, analytic, or anyone interested in "certain truth" really. Two other great themes behind the book, I'd say, is that it A) Gives readers characters to relate to with its makers, as the authors and artists often chime in to break the fourth wall and show their reactions to various events throughout the book and discussions on how to best write it, and (B) Shows how math truly is 'everywhere'. I had heard about this before in a TED Talk, but it wasn't until Wittgenstein started comparing language to abstract symbols and Russel discussed his attempts to utilize logic as a pacifist to solve the political problems of the two world wars that I truly began to get a better understanding of what this idea means.

All in all, it's a delight to read with a unique premise that is actually pulled very well off. If you're at all surprised by the notion of a math book that is also a page-turner and character study, then you may want to take a look into this book. ( )
1 vote MMMMTOASTY | Mar 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
LJ Best Graphic Novels 2009: "This biography of the troubled and driven Bertrand Russell packs in a surprisingly entertaining introduction to academia’s Big Ideas of Truth and Meaning by focusing on the thinkers and their passions. Fascinating and charming, with deft color art"
 
Logicomix grippingly recounts the turmoil of the 20th-century logical world.
 
All of this is presented with real graphic verve. (Even though I’m a text guy, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the witty drawings.)
 

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Apostolos Doxiadisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Donna, Annie DiIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Papadatos, AlecosIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Papadimitriou, Christos H.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bardy, AnneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Karatzaferis, DimitrisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paraskevas, ThodorisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This innovative, dramatic graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein.… (more)

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