June 27, 2008
I didn’t realize how many other Voynich books were out there. Some fiction, some non-fiction. Most seem to be very, very limited release so they wouldn’t have gotten any real distribution. I was reminded of this recently when I came across Nick Pelling’s blog who is a Voynich expert. He even wrote a book on the history of the Voynich and had it published by a publishing company he owns.
An automatic search engine pointed me to the blog because Nick commented on the upcoming release of In Tongues of the Dead http://voynichnews.blogspot.com/2008/05/in-tongues-of-dead.html
Nick doesn’t seem excited about the release of my book. To find out more about Nick and his ideas I encourage you to visit his website www.nickpelling.com
Finally, I’d like to apologize, in advance, to Nick Pelling. If you decide to read my book I apologize for all the literary license I took on representing the Voynich MS. It is a work of fiction using the Voynich as a mere device to help drive a story. The story isn’t meant to be a revelation to the Voynich but would hopefully entertain as a good read.
June 27, 2008
My new book, In Tongues of the Dead, is scheduled for release sometime this fall (probably October 2008). It is loosely based around the mystery of a book at the Beinecke Rare Books Collection at Yale University – The Voynich Manuscript (google it – there’s lot about it).
In brief, the manuscript is a hand-written book of over 200 pages that is estimated to be at least 500 years old, possibly older, and is full of strange hand drawn pictures of overweight women, mysterious plants, and star systems.
The manuscript was discovered by Wilfred Voynich in 1912 when the American book dealer was commissioned by the Jesuits to go through their extensive collection at the Villa Mondragone near Rome. Wilfred Voynich stumbled upon the ancient manuscript and thought it to be something of value and spirited it back to the US. Unfortunately, it appeared to be in a language Wilfred had never encountered before. On arrival, Wilfred showed the manuscript, widely, to experts in ancient texts. He expected to have verification of the value of the book and possibly even to trace its authorship to the noted Franciscan Friar, scientist and philosopher Sir Roger Bacon – a man often attributed as the father of the Scientific Method.
Unfortunately, most scholars dismissed the “Voynich Manuscript” (as it came to be known) as gibberish, rubbish, or worse – an elaborate hoax. No one could identify the language or decode a single word in the book. Wilfred was most disappointed and eventually gave up on selling his manuscript. His wife inherited the book in 1930 when Wilfred passed away. She held onto the book until her death in 1960 when she passed it on to a family friend, Anne Nill. Ms. Nill promptly sold the book to another book dealer, Mr. Hans Kraus. Being disappointed in his quest to ascertain the value of the Voynich Manuscript, Mr. Kraus eventually gave up on it and in 1969 donated it to the Rare Books collection at Yale University.
Over the years science’s ability to decode and translate documents has increased by leaps and bounds. Computers can now do what it took cryptologists years and years to accomplish. As a result, modern linguistic and cryptological analysis is often applied to the mystery of the Voynich Manuscript. Over and over again, the Voynich has resisted decoding. No one is certain of even a single word. This would not be such a great mystery if one could simply dismiss the manuscript as a bunch of random symbols from whom no meaning could ever come. However, modern analysis has consistently shown that the structure of the writings conforms to virtually all rules of language. Certain words repeat with regularity. Certain symbols, or letters, appear more often than others. Word size varies around a common length with regular variation. It is indeed a mystery. A book written over 500 years ago that modern technology cannot decipher.
Good material for a book – eh? Too bad there are some Voynich Haters out there. Read the next post.
June 20, 2008
So what does a psychologist and sort-of author do in his spare time. I play the Wii of course.
The Wii arrived in our house as a Christmas present last year. Ostensibly, it was for my kids. However, dad has spent a little time enjoying it as well.
I must say that I’ve been consistently impressed with it. The motion controls, selection of games, online applications and play (including having access to internet browsing right from the TV). Basically, it is pretty cool and a nice distraction.
So I managed to luck into getting one of the new Wii Fit things – this is the “exercise” game that comes with the Wii Balance Board. The Board is really just a sophisticated scale that functions as an extra controller. It’s actually really fun. Skiing, yoga, strength training, and keeping track of everything as you go. It’s quite good. I’ve only had it for a few days but I’m pretty solidly hooked.
The only down side? I’m now officially fat. Everyone else in my family was in the normal range (when the Wii checked out your fitness stats). After the Balance Board weighed me and got my height it announced to the room that I was overweight. That hurt. I need to lose somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds so it isn’t a lost cause but I was sure that I would squeak into the upper end of normal. Oh well.
June 10, 2008
Here’s a great BUT VERY DISTURBING movie.
Starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth as a nice couple heading out to their summer home with their son – the movie soon takes a dark twist when a pair of psychopathic, preppie teens starts to terrorize them. The movie is very dark, very raw. There are also some twists at the end that should break the suspension of disbelief but only serve to create more tension (I won’t give away what I mean).
Anyway, I recommend having a look at this one. It will leave a chill down your back. Not a typical Hollywood film (but therein lies the point).