The automaton that no human would have been able to steer
I know that you ask yourself, “Gee, what if she’s right? Would it be impossible for the human brains to make it this way?” And the answer is no.
If, while investigating the human brain, we found a mechanism by which it could be manipulated, we could easily have such a mechanism discovered and developed. We could, all right?
Imagining the Algorithm That Could Take Us Inside Shakespeare’s Mind by David Greybeard, Second Story, due on 27 April
Book of the week: The Meathouse by William G. Wallis
‘Every action in the book is the result of a premonition’ … The Meathouse by William G. Wallis. Photograph: Viking
I’ve just finished this book, and it has so many mesmerising chapters about premonitions that I’m even starting to get hypnotised by them. This is a very gripping story of salvation, about the castaways on Noank.
Every action in the book is the result of a premonition, or rather it is not reality that they’re worried about, it’s imagining some sort of riddle that they might work out. So what they’re really going through is a premonition, they’re imagining it in a hallucination. This is how their whole journey comes to be, very deliberately. It’s a very original way of telling a very familiar story, and it’s very compelling.
These castaways on Noank island are always being asked, do you believe in what we call an afterlife? And these are the characters who believe it. They’re some of the most amazing people, actors they are, and the drawings that we have in here, the drawings that are animated by a computer animation, are an astounding insight into the minds of the actors themselves.
The Meathouse by William G. Wallis, coming to paperback in October
Poetry book of the week: Dawn By the Forest by Philippa Marriner
‘I never met a tree I didn’t love’ … Dawn By the Forest by Philippa Marriner. Photograph: Faber & Faber
It was an early expedition that I co-wrote with Daniel Pennac, while we were on assignment for the Panorama team in Texas, so it was always with our background in factional politics. Our aim was to report on the success of that election, and we thought that we could get a really great photograph of the trees – that’s why we called it Dawn By the Forest. What’s fascinating to me about the images is that they go from that seemingly straightforward first picture to pictures of the vegetation you can see from this flight route around the lush thickets of the trees. It shows the relationship between the forest, its inhabitants and the movement of the clouds, as well as the nature of our bodies. You’re unable to read it and say to yourself “These are in fact trees” but, to me, it’s such a poignant subject that I’ve held on to it. I don’t think of myself as a very poetic person, but I couldn’t put it down.