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The dice man by Luke Rhinehart
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The dice man (1971)

by Luke Rhinehart

Series: Dice Man (1)

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Title:The dice man
Authors:Luke Rhinehart
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The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart (1971)

  1. 00
    The Handicapper by Robert Kalich (bergs47)
  2. 00
    Yes Man by Danny Wallace (LadyHazy)
    LadyHazy: Another story about a central character who puts restrictions on his decision making, thus changing the outcome of their life.
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English (33)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
"The Dice Man" is one of those novels that could only have been written in the 1970s; catching the zeitgeist of a more permissible society. A stockbroker who decides to make all of his decisions on the roll of a dice. This, as you could imagine, leads him to all sorts of strife. I'm sure a lot of people have read this and mused on many important, thought provoking topics. Not me; I just read it, laughed a few times and went on with my life. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Sep 19, 2018 |
Wow. How do I begin describing this book?

Perhaps I should note why I even asked for this as a Christmas gift. I had heard about it via a song by one of my favorite bands, Talk Talk. A book that would inspire a song…and a song by Mark Hollis, no less. "The dice decide my fate," it says. Interesting. And that's the basic idea here: a practicing psychiatrist who has pretty much the ideal life by most of our standards is bored, apparently, and one day by inspiration decides…well, he decides he will make no more decisions. At least without consulting the dice. First, it's whether he will go downstairs and "rape" his best friend and partner's wife…

(Jim notes: Rhinehart calls it "rape", but the act appears to be consensual. More or less. Don't blame me, I'm only reporting this stuff.)

…and as time goes by, it develops into more of a therapy for himself, and then for patients. And then, a way of life. And then, a religion, based only totally random existence. It's kinda seductive in a bizarre way: you make no more decisions, the die makes them all. Want to know what you're going to do tomorrow? Sit down, write out a list of possibilities—throw in something outrageous for variety's sake, say, "I will go out and murder someone"—and then throw the dice. Whatever comes up, do it! And you MUST do it…otherwise the whole idea of the totally random life fails.

Obviously, this is not a book for everybody. It is potentially offensive on so many levels I can barely list them…it's profane, it's borderline pornographic, and it's almost completely wonderful. It goes on perhaps a bit too long for what it's about, and some of the sex scenes are WAY over the top. Your mileage, as they say, may vary. The point of view changes frequently during the story as well, and at times it seems pretty schizophrenic. But dammit, it fits within the context of the notion of randomness. But otherwise I can't fault it much. The scene describing where Luke manages to break out 38 mental patients—some of them quite violent—on the pretext of taking them to see "Hair" is a riot, but pales when compared to a (needlessly) graphic depiction of a "therapy" session arranged with a female patient. Research, you know. Some research! And Rhinehart's identity changes at least three times during this little vignette…

I can imagine there are probably some folks who took this thing as a cue for changing their own lives; in fact, the book itself reads, "Few books can change your life. This one can." Well, maybe, but not in any way I'd care to explore seriously. Or, as Mark Hollis said, "A good book, not a lifestyle I'd recommend." Still, it was deeply fascinating, almost disturbingly so.

"Create the options. Shake the dice. All else is nonsense."

Enjoy. Or not. ( )
1 vote Jamski | Jul 18, 2018 |
Not sure how this got to be a cult book. I enjoyed the 70s feel of the story, but couldn't get over the inherent flaw in the logic behind the idea of being liberated by assigning decisions to the roll of a dice. By inherent flaw, I mean that by both assigning a choice of action to the dice or by choosing to roll the dice in the first place, the choice is made by man not dice.

( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
The only reason I read this all the way to the end (apart from a masochistic streak that wont let me discard a book) is that is was a book club selection.

The premise of the actual story sounded fine even interesting about how one man decides to let the roll of a dice or die decide his entire life so far so good and then...

The first thing he lets the dice decide is if he should rape his neighbour who happens to be the wife of a colleague I mean WTF what kind of sick mind would even suggest that as an option for the dice?

From there the book goes rapidly down hill the kind of behaviour shown would have been bad enough in a single man with no responsibilities but..

1) The Diceman is a therapist responsible for the mental health of others
2) He is a husband who obviously doesn't care about his wife
3) He is a father who tries to draw his children into his sick world

As if that wasn't enough every woman the dice decides he should rape somehow ends up as a consenting adult surely that is a dangerous message to putting out or at the very least it is ill advised.

The other thing that got me was the man character "The Diceman" shared exactly the same name as the author I mean why would a writer want to associate themselves with the kind of sicko the book portrays?

Anyway you may have guessed I didn't like this book and would only recommend it to people who think "American Psycho" is a cult classic and who didn't feel the need to distances themselves from everything they had read in that book by reading a nice harmless childrens story to reassure themselves that the world is an OK place really. ( )
1 vote BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
An extraordinary book. This brilliant concept of rolling your life away simply blew me away.
In parts, it was simply hilarious and shocking in equal measure.
Brilliantly written, this has stayed with me for years.

( )
  jameserith | Jul 27, 2015 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
to A.
J.
M.
without any of whom,
no Book.
First words
I am a large man, with big butcher's hands, great oak thighs, rock-jawes head, and massive, thick-lens glasses.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
1. I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face an accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticsim; in psychology neurosis. The assumption is that a limited and bored self is the unavoidable, all embracing norm.

2. Love, one of society's many socially accepted forms of madness.

3. Success and failure mean simply the satisfaction and frustration of desire.
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Book description
Luke Reinhart is a psychiatrist, a husband and a father, his life locked down by routine and order - until he picks up the dice. The dice govern his every decision and each throw takes him further into a world of risk, discovery and freedom. As the cult of the dice grows around him the old order fades: chance becomes his religion, the dice his god.
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Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart - and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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