Luke Rhinehart

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Luke Rhinehart
Born George Cockcroft
(1932-11-15) November 15, 1932 (age 81)
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Genres Humor
Notable work(s) The Dice Man (1971)
Adventures of Wim (1986)
The Search for the Dice Man (1993)

Luke Rhinehart (born George Cockcroft November 15, 1932) is an American writer, most notable as the author of The Dice Man, a 1971 novel about a psychotherapist who casts dice in place of making decisions.

Much of Rhinehart's writing follows the style of The Dice Man. His unreliable narrator switches rapidly between first- and third-person perspectives, interrupting narrative flow with epistolary items from fictional sources. He gives the impression of a larger story, of which just a glimpse is seen.[1]

The genre of a Rhinehart novel is also unreliable, often varying between chapters. A single book might contain sections of thriller, erotica, comedy, romance, philosophy, and detective.[2]

Biography[edit]

George Cockcroft was born in the United States, son of an engineer and a civil servant. He received a BA from Cornell University and an MA from Columbia University. Subsequently he received a PhD in psychology, also from Columbia. He married his wife, Ann, on June 30, 1956. He has three children.

After obtaining his PhD, he went into teaching. During his years as a university teacher he taught, among other things, courses in Zen and Western literature. He first floated the idea of living according to the casting of dice in a lecture. The reaction was reportedly of equal parts intrigue and disgust, and it was at this point he realized it could become a novel. Cockcroft began experimenting with dice a long time before writing The Dice Man, but this made progress on the novel rather slow.

In 1971, a london based publisher, Talmy Franklin, published The Dice Man, Cockcroft's first novel as Luke Rhinehart.[3] Soon afterwards, he was engaged in the creation of a dice center in New York City.

In 1975 he was involved in a round-the-world voyage in a large trimaran ketch. Later, he spent some time in a sailboat in the Mediterranean, where he taught English and from there moved to a former Sufi retreat on the edge of a lake in Canaan, New York.

On 1 August 2012, at the age of 80, Cockcroft arranged for his own death to be announced. It was later revealed as a joke.[4]

Career[edit]

Diceman.jpg

Much of Cockcroft's writing follows the styles of The Dice Man. He switches rapidly between a first and third person view, and intersperses that narrative flow with excerpts from epistolary items. In one case, he even quotes from a future book that he did not actually write until more than two decades later. The moods of the book change rapidly to — not mixed together, but standing side by side with only a chapter number, if that, between them. In each of his books, Cockcroft focuses attention on only a few main characters, typically fewer than five.

There are two sequels to The Dice Man. In Adventures of Wim (later republished as Whim) a Montauk boy learns to embrace Absurdity in a quest for 'Ultimate Truth'. In The Search for the Dice Man, Luke Rhinehart's stockbroker son Larry Rhinehart tries to make sense of his notorious father's life and disappearance.

The Book of the Die is a collection of thoughts and ideas about dicing, much in the style that might be expected from Luke Rhinehart's previous work. It reads as a collection of parables, poems, proverbs and stories. Some are taken from his earlier books, some based upon folk sayings and popular writings, and some are entirely new for this book. Each chapter ends with six dice options, with the instructions "Read the options, throw out one or two (or all six) and replace them, then roll a dice and do as suggested."

Long Voyage Back, and Matari are more traditional approaches to fiction while The Book of est is non-fiction.

There are continuing plans to release the stories of either Luke, Larry or Wim as a movie. Cockcroft has written a number of screenplays himself, including one on The Dice Man, and Whim, in an effort to accelerate the process. There have been numerous developmental setbacks with this production (including Cockcroft's own attempts to buy back the production rights from Paramount Pictures) but it is still said to be in the works.[5]

Spin-offs and influences[edit]

The ideas in The Dice Man have influenced a number of musicians, writers, artists and commercial ventures.

Music[edit]

Luke Rhinehart has appeared in several songs:

Other music connections:

  • "The Dice Man" is an alias used by Richard D. James, the Aphex Twin
  • "The Diceman" is the alias used for certain projects of Colin James (Jolly James, Gregg Retch, formerly of Meat Beat Manifesto)

Other media[edit]

Four seasons of a TV travel series called The DiceMan was made between 1998 and 2000 by the Discovery Channel. The destinations and activities of the participants are determined by the roll of a die.[6][7]

There have been at least three documentaries on 'Dice Living' and the philosophy of The Dice Man, including a fifty-minute short film called "Dice World" by Paul Wilmshurst, produced by Channel 4.[8]

In theatre, The Dice House was staged in London's West End. Written by Paul Lucas, the play was inspired by The Dice Man.[9][10]

Journalist Ben Marshall spent two years from 1998 to 2000 experimenting with being a Dice Man and reporting his experiences in Loaded magazine. Loaded subsequently named Luke Rhinehart as novelist of the century.[11][12]

Larnie Reid Fox popularised the idea of the DiceWalk, students of psychogeography having already pioneered the art or science of random or whimsical excursions.[13]

Commercial ventures[edit]

The brewers of Rolling Rock pale lager launched a series of adverts based around the Dice Man theme,[14] and even a 'Dice Life' website, now defunct.

In the 1980s, the UK comic 2000 AD published several Choose Your Own Adventure magazines under the name Dice Man.[15]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]