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The Land of Matta

A philosophical, quantum-mechanical phantasy

Michael Eldred

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e-book cover: The Land of Matta at Amazon.compaperback cover: The Land of Matta
Available from  Amazon.com, CreateSpace, in Kindle e-book format, and from other Amazon online bookstores worldwide (e.g. at amazon.de as a paperback or Kindle e-book) under the title The Land of Matta: A philosophical, quantum-mechanical phantasy CreateSpace 2015 358 pp. ISBN 978-1512208009. See also the philosophical companion to this book: A Question of Time: An alternative cast of mind and listen also to its companion song, The Ballad of Phi & Psi.
"Eldred strikes a wonderful, absurdist tone that harkens back to an earlier age of children's fantasy... buoyant cartoonishness... A fantastical puzzle that may be too difficult to solve." Kirkus Reviews.
A Pilgrim's Progress in Quantum Action "Eldred brings ideas that are having a profound influence on our culture, but which are poorly understood, into both imaginative and cognitive grasp by means of a road trip in a parallel world with many resemblances to our own. Two friends are followed in their search for understanding, using methods of travel that are aspects of the phenomenon and examples of the ideas that intrigue them. Along the road they meet highly original and entertaining characters who are easily recognised as representing various modern theoretical positions taken on the nature of reality and our responsibility in interpreting, even in obstructing and deforming it. A story also of the hidden roles fear, ambition, and will for power play in ostensively pure intellectual pursuits. All told with a sparkling sense of humour and conceptual clarity." J. S. Bragdon, Amsterdam
Comments by two of the book's protagonists:
"One of the funniest books I've ever read." G.W. Zinbeil
"More than thought-provoking." Megaristes Athenaios
e-book cover: The Land of Matta at Amazon.com

About the book 

A fantasy in the sense of Alice in Wonderland, but not for children. It's cock-and-bull like Tristram Shandy, but without the digressions. It's satire in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels, but the satire is on modern science. The humour is British, like the Goons or Monty Python. The protagonists are two young students, Phi and Psi, finding their way in life. In Book I, In Quest of Mu, they go in search of the ancient Mu, a philosophical refugee from Athens to Upper Matta. Mu himself is on a philosophical quest to answer his guiding question, Why is there movement at all, rather than standstill? In Book II, The Way Back to Anaxaton, the main character turns out to be the mysterious Willy P., the power behind the scenes. Matta stands for 'mathematics', but there are no formulae, only a more or less playful, historical treatment of maths along with a couple of Greek symbols. The quantum mechanics is accurate, but blown up to fantastic proportions with fun-loving, unbridled literary licence. This makes it look superficially like sci-fi, but it's subtler. The philosophical strand is substantial, but presented narratively and playfully camouflaged. The presentation is tongue-in-cheek, so the reader constantly has to decide at each point whether it's serious sense or straight-faced nonsense. Usually it's both. It has some quasi-Platonic dialogue, and the whole is borne by philosophical questions subversively at work in the background.

The author 

Michael Eldred is an Australian philosopher, mathematician and translator currently living in Cologne, Germany. He gained degrees from the University of Sydney, including a doctorate in philosophy. Over a long career he has published copiously in several languages in the areas of hermeneutic phenomenology and socio-political philosophy. Books include Critique of Competitive Freedom and the Bourgeois-Democratic State: Outline of a Form-Analytic Extension of Marx's Uncompleted System 1984, Phänomenologie der Männlichkeit 1999, Heidegger, Hölderlin e John Cage 2000, Capital and Technology: Marx and Heidegger 2000/2015, Social Ontology: Recasting Political Philosophy Through a Phenomenology of Whoness 2008, The Digital Cast of Being: Metaphysics, Mathematics, Cartesianism, Cybernetics, Capitalism, Communication 2009, A Question of Time: An alternative cast of mind 2015 and Thinking of Music: An approach along a parallel path 2015.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Michael Eldred, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.
Last modified: 18-Mar-2016
First put on site 28-May-2015

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