Luke Rhinehart

From Academic Kids

Luke Rhinehart is the pen name of the author George Cockcroft (see that entry for a biography). Luke Rhinehart is also a character in some of Cockcroft's books. In this article "George Cockcroft" refers to the author, while "Luke Rhinehart" refers to the character.

Contents

The books

Much of Cockcroft's writing follows the styles of his first book: The Dice Man. He switches rapidly between a first and third person view, and intersperses that narrative flow with (fictional) excerpts from journals, minutes of meetings, and other sources. This gives the impression of a larger story, of which just a glimpse is being seen. In one case he even quoted from a future book that he did not actually write until over two decades later. The moods of the book change rapidly too; a single book might have sections of erotica, thriller, comedy, psychology, romance, philosophy, and detective in it - not mixed together, but standing side by side with only a chapter number, if that, between them. Many believe that the best parts of the stories are the sections of sheer hilarity, which come in brief ten page bursts. These sections of carefully timed comic relief include a sex scene in the middle of a river, various dice parties, and a hallucinogenic tomato plant.

On the other hand, Long Voyage Back, and Matari show that he is entirely comfortable writing somewhat more traditional fiction, and Book of Est shows that he is capable of writing wholly factual accounts too. In all his books, Cockcroft focuses attention on only a few characters — typically less than five. Other characters are introduced, but solely as caricatures or plot devices.

Bibliography

Forthcoming

There are also continuing plans to release the story of either Luke, Larry or Wim as a movie. Cockcroft has written a number of screenplays himself, including one on The Dice Man, and WHIM, in an effort to accelerate the process, and both projects are being pushed forward on several fronts.

Spin-offs and influences

Companies have often attempted to profit from the ideas of The Dice Man, and a few such ventures are noted below. The ideas in the book have also influenced a wide range of musicians, writers, artists, some of whom are listed below.

Commercial ventures

Dice have always been colloquially referred to as rocks and the makers of Rolling Rock lager, sensing a good tie-in, launched a series of adverts based around the diceman theme, and even a Diceliving website (now defunct), and have since been associated with Luke's books. Indeed, the rise from the dead of Rolling Rock in the late 1990s has partially been attributed to the rise of dicing at around the same time, fueled, perhaps, by Internet chat rooms where role-playing is common.

In the 1980s, the UK comic 2000 AD published several Choose Your Own Adventure magazines under the name Dice Man.

Music references

The Dice Man has turned up in several songs:

Other music connections:

  • The Manga Bros [1] (http://www.mangabros.demon.co.uk) make aleatory music according to the principles of The Dice Man.
  • "The Dice Man" is an alias used by Richard D James, the Aphex Twin
  • "The Diceman" is the alias used for certain projects of Colin James (Jolly James, Gregg Retch, formerly of Meat Beat Manifesto)

Other art

Art which exploits the principle of randomness is called aleatory. Several pieces of aleatory art have been partially inspired by the writings of George Cockcroft.

The Discovery Channel recently hired a pair of part-time dicers to do a Diceman Travel programme (http://www.diceman.co.uk) based on the dice. Where they go, what they see, and what they do, all are based on the roll of a dice. Apparently it has been popular, though the tendency of the dice to steer the couple off in strange directions has caused problems for the producers and editors.

On film, there have been at least three documentaries on diceliving and the philosophy of the dice, including one 50-minute short film called Dice World by Paul Wilmshurst, produced by Channel Four.

Ben Marshall, of Loaded magazine, spent two years from 1998 to 2000 experimenting with being a diceman and writing up his experiences in the magazine. This seems to have been a big hit with the readers, and Loaded subsequently named Luke Rhinehart as writer of the century. Praise indeed.

Larnie Reid Fox invented (or popularised) the idea of the DiceWalk, which was featured in the May 28, 2003 edition of sfweekly, students of psychogeography having already pioneered the art or science of random or whimsical excursions.

External links

  • DiceWalk (http://www.infoflow.com/larnie/dicewalk/index.html)
  • lukerhinehart.net (http://www.lukerhinehart.net/) - created by George Cockcroft
  • Six Sided Homepage (http://www.algonet.se/~kajn/) - fan site with discussion forum
  • Randomness (http://www.freewebz.com/randommess/dice.htm) - fan site with online dice roller
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