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The Sinusoidal Spaghetti
J.-M. Perelmuter
iUniverse, 213 pages

The Sinusoidal Spaghetti
J.-M. Perelmuter
Dr. J.-M. Perelmuter most recently taught physics at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia. He has done research in cosmology and astrophysics, publishing on topics such as the expansion of the Universe and the formation of galaxies. He received his B.A. in Physics and Mathematics from Beloit College and went on to receive his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Johns Hopkins University.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

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The Sinusoidal Spaghetti by J.-M. Perelmuter is the bones of 4 potentially interesting books tangled together like overcooked pasta left to congeal in the colander.

First there is the story of Meni Mendel, an astrophysicist who discovers and decodes a message from another planet that has been encoded into a pulsar. Fearing that no one will take his discovery seriously, he has a breakdown and ends up in an institution for rich and/or well connected crazy people. His doctor attempts to get his manuscript published as part of his therapy.

Then there is the story of his childhood friend, also an astrophysicist, who reminisces about their time together hacking into a computer system as he travels to South America where he meets another childhood friend (who is also an astrophysicist, I suspect there was something in the water) and attempts to prove Meni either right or wrong.

The book also shares the story of the literary agent who has been contacted to get Meni's book published. It's like there was a bit of Chic-lit mixed in as she angsts about her current relationship and sizes up every male she meets as a potential partner (as they size her up as a sex object).

Finally there is the story of the aliens, who are apparently just like us except for the fact that they are blue and sweat instead of crying. Theirs is the story of the race who too late learns that their planet is not the unlimited resource they previously thought and they are in a race against time to save the remains of their civilization before they are wiped out by an environmental catastrophe.

All of these are interrupted with sections on pop astrophysics.

If Mr. Perelmuter had taken one of these stories and expanded it with more detail then perhaps it could have worked. He does have a nice turn of phrase. Really, only the alien's story was uninteresting. However, there wasn't enough information to get me invested in any of the stories. I just kept thinking to myself, "OK. Fine. That's enough. Can we move on now?" and given how short this book is (even not considering that it contains five books all mashed together) this is a real problem. In addition many of the characters are inconsistent. For example the literary agent (who specializes in Science Fiction) has to have Pulsars explained to her but later in the book has no problem remembering what Drake's Equation is.

I shouldn't have been surprised. Like the boring, bland and clichéed story the aliens send out to the universe, this book was self published.

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.


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