Fragment Seven: Infinitely Reflexive Nihilistic Conjecture

Chapter Five

We open with a lengthy paragraph discussing how the Earth is actually a biological organism.

The waters and the lands were the flesh and blood, the skies and air were skin and bones, and the Supersurface Cave Network was the nervous system that linked to the spine and core brain (page 109).

There’s a reference to Gaia theory, which actually exists, so I guess I should give Eng credit for referring to something someone actually believes. I’ll also remove credit for positing that a Cave Network can operate as some sort of nervous system.

Anyway, there’s enormous tubes of rock that crisscross the planet’s surface and are supposedly essential for the world’s survival. Our heroes are at one of these tubes.

Dennagon asks Lyconel how they can get the Key, and Lyconel helpfully exposits that the earth has two poles – the Alpha and Omega. Hinting that this does take place on our Earth, since the Greek alphabet is a thing. And only Team Lyconel is open-minded enough to travel to them. But they need weapons first. They roll a stone away from a crack in the tubes and head inside to pitch blackness, Lyconel leading Dennagon by the talon.

As they go, they argue about certainty.

“Certitude implies that something is irrefutable, yet in complete darkness, I can say that anything is certain.”


“Because I can never be certain that anything is happening, so all possibilities must be happening at once.” (page 113)

Dennagon thinks that Lyconel is a complete moron for believing this, and explains that it defies logic, and “what one observes is essentially real”, which is a bit of a simplification. From there, Lyconel launches into a parable about a dragon in a box for three days, that could be either dead or alive which is quite obviously Schrödinger’s cat. It goes on for a couple pages:

“Then if no one can say for certain that the dragon in the box is dead or alive, then it must exist in both states simultaneously.” (page 115)

Which is completely misinterpreting Schrödinger’s cat, since it’s a thought experiment designed specifically to point out the absurdity of applying the principles of quantum mechanics to real-world situations.

Who would have guessed Eng doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about?

This goes on a while longer, but I won’t recap it. Here’s the thing, though. I’m not a physicist. I’m not very good at math and I only dabble in quantum mechanics. But I do really, really enjoy reading about these things. It’s the mark of a good writer to take a fascinating – yet extremely complex – concept and write about it in such a way that a layperson, with a little bit of careful reading, can understand and appreciate that concept.

Eng is, hands down, the worst writer I have ever seen take a stab at writing about these kind of concepts. It’s bad enough that he’s just completely wrong about at least half of his conclusions, but even when he’s talking about things that might be somewhat true, he’s deliberately making them harder to understand with his pretentious, esoteric writing. That’s how you get sentences like this:

“Just as the stars are painted onto the celestial sphere unchanging, particles can occupy only one point in spatial and temporal currents.” (page 116)

According to Kenneth Eng’s resume, he wrote this book in five weeks. And he’s proud of that [!] because that makes him the “Fastest novelist in America.” I’m willing to bet he spent next to no time on rewrites.

We bounce over to Nomax and Lefius who are standing guard outside. There’s a very long paragraph of incredibly pretentious prose which tells us they didn’t have a Purpose before meeting Lyconel, but now they want to find the Lexicon because they’ll be omniscient. Wow. It’s almost like character development. They’re up to a single dimension!

Ballaxior and Nomax get into an argument for reasons that are unclear and Nomax accuses him of leading the Technodragon to them.

Ballaxior did not refute the accusation, for he knew that uncertainty rendered anything possible and it was therefore pointless to make any argument of it (page 121).

Uh…no. Uncertainty doesn’t render anything possible, and even if it did, this wouldn’t be any less moronic. Sentient beings are not completely rational, and the fact that an action is theoretically possible has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you fucking did it.

Back to Dennagon and Lyconel. They reach a large cave and Lyconel switches on a 20th-century light bulb. The room is packed with weapons. Dennagon is fascinated by the guns. Lyconel explains that the guns existed in “the future, or rather, a future.” (page 123) There’s some discussion about multiple realities and universes, just in case this book wasn’t confusing enough already. They argue. It’s not interesting, but there is this sentence:

“Then I would say that your infinitely reflexive nihilistic conjecture requires logic to live.” (page 124)

As they sort through the weapons, Dennagon messes with a grenade launcher and accidentally blows a hole through the wall. Eventually Lyconel gives him a pistol and they roll out.

After some time they arrive at a living wall of fire they have to walk through. Dennagon pulls out his spellbook and casts a protective spell on himself. They all walk through and the other dragons don’t need the spell since the fire won’t actually harm them. Well, that was a creative way to fill two pages with nothing happening.

They debate the first law of thermodynamics for a couple pages until a flame-tornado starts up and sucks them all in. After a bit, Dennagon gets thrown out, just in time to be attacked by Arxinor the Technodragon. There’s a fight scene which lasts for six pages, so I’ll summarize the important bits:

  • Dennagon gets stabbed through the heart. He’s ok.
  • Arxinor gets stabbed through the throat. He’s ok.
  • Eventually, the fire sweeps them apart.
  • There’s a lot of thesaurus abuse.

We rejoin Lyconel & crew outside the fire where the tornado dumped them. She kinda wants to go back for Dennagon, but Ballaxior says there’s no point. Lyconel accepts this rather easily, which is odd.

Her hopes on finding the Key were in great jeopardy, lost within that wall of fire (page 144).

I’ve gotten the vibe from this book that Kenneth Eng is a bad writer. More to the point, I’ve gotten the vibe that Lyconel thinks the Key is Kind Of A Big Deal and also Important. She’s already risked her life a couple times trying to get Dennagon involved, why is she giving up so easily, if he’s so important to her cause?

Then again, I probably shouldn’t expect much from a book Eng shit out in five weeks.

Anyway. They all head off toward the Alpha Pole.


  4 Responses to “Fragment Seven: Infinitely Reflexive Nihilistic Conjecture”

  1. Several questions for you, Rorshach

    1. Is it just me or are these sports shorter than yours usually are?
    2. Are you planning on sporking anymore Stanek?
    3. Are there any other books you have in mind to spork besides Stanek and Tesch (whenever the hell she decides to put out her next book)?

    Quite enjoying these by the way. Dennegon is probably the least likable protagonist I’ve ever seen.

  2. Besides all the science and fiction writing fail, I find it particularly ridiculous that Eng claims that writing this book in five weeks makes him “the fastest novelist in America.” Nanowrimo proves that plenty of other writers can write novels much faster (and much better) than Eng can.

  3. So these dragons know all about computers and particle physics and such, but they still think that the stars are unmoving points on a “celestial sphere”?

  4. I feel like I need to send Eng DVDs of Bill Nye the Science Guy and then some Cosmos for good measure. Probably the Sagan one, because I assume he would completly ignore Neil De Grasse Tyson on skin colour alone…