#Adventure: The Engine
by Author Richard Crist, Ph.D.
FREE on Kindle from 2/19/2015 to 2/23/2015
Returning to his childhood home, Dr. Robert Bennett rediscovers an enigmatic artifact that had sparked his imagination when he was a boy. Now, as an accomplished archaeologist, and once again intrigued by the object, he reinvestigates the rocky ledge where all those years ago he’d found the artifact, and makes a discovery that can change the world. He soon finds himself swept up in an adventure that takes him to the ends of the earth, pitting him against an insidious enemy and presenting him with awe-inspiring intellectual challenges.
My book is an archaeological adventure novel, with some romance, but it's also a philosophical novel, and contains actual lessons in logic, ethics and aesthetics (I have a Ph.D. in philosophy from the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City and have taught at Hunter College and City College in NYC, and at Ulster County Community College in upstate New York). The book is meant not only to be a good read, but also to serve as an introduction to my Truth Engine, which promotes a unique method of debate—I see debate as an important way that society thinks collectively, and the Truth Engine as providing the most powerful method of debate. There’s also a science fiction component in the book.
There are 89 full-color illustrations. I created the illustrations in The Engine using the 3D graphics programs SketchUp and Blender. The first incarnation of The Engine was a browser-based video game I developed, and many of the book’s illustrations had their origin in that game.
For years I was a science fiction illustrator for Analog and Asimov's magazines.
I see the primary readers of my book as those who enjoy a good adventure story. And I see them as being intelligent, analytical-minded, and having an active interest in reason, morals and art.
In the book, Robert explores ancient buildings whose architectural design incorporates mysterious symbolic elements. These are elements that I developed over many years—since I was a boy, actually. Over the years, I realized more and more clearly how these buildings’ symbolic structures might be made to correlate with the complex structures of the Truth Engine, a device that emerged as the result my philosophical investigations into collective intelligence. I found that, eventually, both streams of thought, the intuitive and the discursive, came together easily for me, as if I had been unconsciously working on both together as a single project. I estimate that the actual writing of the book took two years, with editing and polishing taking perhaps another year.
The most difficult part of writing the book, by far, was the task of fitting together the logical, analytical parts—the “lessons”—with the expressive story-line. Some sections of the book went through many drafts, but I feel the lessons have now been seamlessly integrated into the narrative.
I chose to put an image of the house of Kholoruuf on the cover because this picture, which I created in Blender, conveys a sense of mystery. I think the image also connects with dream imagery, the house often symbolizing mind in dreams. Mystery evokes the desire for knowledge, a product of mind—I believe that the image, again, joins together the intuitive and the discursive.
I received my doctorate in philosophy from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in 2001. I have taught philosophy and logic in New York City—at Hunter College and City College—and have taught professional ethics at Ulster County Community College. My doctoral dissertation was titled Unity and Variety in Painting. In this dissertation I maintained that long-esteemed paintings are long esteemed because they contain a balance of unity and variety among their abstract elements. More recently I have developed an interest in collective intelligence and have created a system called the “Truth Engine” to help maximize it. By encouraging people to use the Truth Engine, I intend to play a part in eliminating those existing oppositions that are made manifest in public controversy among good people. My goal is to deal with such discord not by ignoring it or by facilitating compromise but by resolving it through the revelation—via Truth-Engine argument—of what’s really true, what’s really good, and what’s really beautiful. Empowered with more and more knowledge of this type, good people will become more able to bring happiness to the world. I am an artist and have worked as an illustrator for Analog Magazine and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. Recently, I have used Blender, the 3D modeling and animation software, and have written a step-by-step guide to the program called Blender Steps. I live in upstate New York near the Hudson River.