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Mindjack Magazine

september 15, 1999

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Books / Digital Culture:
The Last Page
by Rachel Singer Gordon
Review of Seth Shulman's Owning the Future.

Novel:
vCity 1.0
by Dr. Adam L. Gruen

20 days in the life of a 21st century virtual city simulation.

Selected Articles:

Technology:
The Struggle Goes On
by David Howell
Class and the Information Age
09/05/1998

Culture:
The New Face of Customer Service
by P.L. Frank
A Razor's Edge column.
02/10/1999

Books:
The Nudist on the Late Shift
by Po Bronson
reviewed by Rachel Singer Gordon

Games:
Ridge Racer Type 4
reviewed by Donald Melanson

Henry of Atlantic City
buy this book at Amazon.com

Henry of Atlantic City
by Frederick Reuss


reviewed by J.M. Frank


Henry is six and has memorized an entire library of ancient Gnostic philosophical texts. His father, head of security at an Atlantic City casino, is too busy hiding from police and the mob to care for his unusual child. The mother is unknown (though Henry guesses at one time it might be a woman named "Ten cents a dance" who had lived with his father).

The story unfolds as Henry moves from place to place, not really satisfied to call any of them home. He runs away, unintentionally sabotages situations and astounds priests, psychologists, and police along the way with his seemingly wise answers pulled from Gnostic works.

Henry is an unusual child for other reasons besides his amazing memory and his unusual upbringing. His reality slips at times from the present into the cities of the Byzantine Empire. Henry also believes he is a saint and has an angel who speaks into his ear.

Henry is an instantly likable character for his childlike innocence mixed with precocious statements. As adults attempt to interpret his pronouncements, the results are often humorous and endearing. People try to read more into the child’s words than is actually there leading to situations at times reminiscent of the Peter Sellers movie "Being There".

Surprisingly, Henry is one character that actually becomes less likable over time as it becomes increasingly clear that he is more a talented parrot than a genius and as his careless behavior gets him into more and more trouble. But this is a relatively minor criticism, especially about a six-year-old who has suffered quite a few tough breaks.

This is a worthwhile book that will leave the reader thinking not only about the characters, but about the philosophical issues brought up. The writing style does an excellent job of bringing the reader into a six year old’s world while allowing the reader to see implications that a child would not. The result is a touching and thought-provoking novel.

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