Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Big Machine

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Big Machine

A Novel

by Victor LaValle

Big Machine
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2010, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

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About this Book

Beyond the Book

Parapsychology vs. Skepticism
While the Washburn Library is a purely fictional invention, it does have an analog in the real world: the Rhine Research Center, once known as the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, and home to the Institute for Parapsychology until 2002. Formerly affiliated with Duke University, the Rhine now operates independently a short distance away from the campus and continues to conduct research into consciousness, specifically, those aspects that for many years have resisted scientific explanation. While the Center has moved beyond its original mission in the 1920s to conduct experiments on extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK), it still focuses largely on topics shunned by traditional science. For instance, the Center’s current research interests include "human biofields, telepathy, and mind-over-matter." Its official research organ, the Journal of Parapsychology, contains articles with titles like "What is Beyond the Edge of ...

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