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Labatut, Benjamin

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The MANIAC: A Masterpiece of Historical and Philosophical Fiction

"The MANIAC," a compelling novel by Benjamín Labatut, has been named a Best Book of 2023 by The Washington Post, The New York Public Library, and Publishers Weekly. This national bestseller and New York Times Editor's Choice pick is celebrated for its captivating blend of historical narrative and philosophical exploration.

Centered on the Hungarian polymath John von Neumann, "The MANIAC" traces the profound impact of his legacy on the twentieth century and the dawning age of artificial intelligence. Labatut, recognized for his electrifying work "When We Cease to Understand the World," brings his thrilling originality to this novel.

The book explores von Neumann's transformative influence across various fields, including game theory, programmable computing, AI, digital life, and cellular automata. Through the voices of his family, friends, colleagues, and rivals, Labatut presents a panoramic view of a mind that reshaped our world.

"The MANIAC" weaves a literary triptych, beginning with Austrian physicist Paul Ehrenfest and culminating in the historical matchup between Go Master Lee Sedol and the AI program AlphaGo. This narrative encapsulates von Neumann's vision of self-reproducing machines and the evolving intelligence that transcends human understanding.

Labatut's work is not just a novel; it's a journey through the deepest questions of human existence and our relationship with technology. With its dark beauty and riveting narrative, "The MANIAC" is a work of fabulous momentum, confronting readers with essential questions about our species' future.

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