Book review: The Universe Solved

I was first introduced to the ideas and theories of Jim Elvidge in an interview he did with Red Ice Creations Radio. His clarity, intelligence and wit impressed me so much that it prompted me to write to the author and try acquire a review copy of his book The Universe – Solved! – a work that proported to be “a new provocative view of the nature of reality”. I was not disappointed.

Elvidge’s background is rooted in engineering. Having gained a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Elvidge has kept pace with the latest research, theories and discoveries in the varied fields of subatomic physics, cosmology, articifical intelligence, nanotechnology and the paranormal. Coming from an Electrical and Electronic background myself, what astonished me most about his book was the clarity and lucidity of his writing. Most of the engineers I came across during my time working for Raytheon were completely incapable of communicating in a language that the layperson could appreciate or understand; over-engineering things to the point of insanity, and getting patted on the back by their caravaning contemporaries for doing what should have resulted in a disciplinary hearing. Then again, most of the engineers I’ve met were on ridiculously high salaries for what appeared to be little more than pursuing a career that involved staring at a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for 9 hours a day. Also, most of them were so rooted in their academic education that anything that deviated into the areas of fringe science would be categorised as utter nonsense.

Not so with Jim Elvidge. To put it simply, The Universe – Solved! is a treatise on a concept that has become quite commonplace in today’s mainstream culture: the idea that reality might not be exactly what we think it is, and that perhaps we are actually living in a simulation. Popularised largely by the half-rate movie The Matrix and its dismally dull sequels, this is not a new idea, and authors like Philip K. Dick have been exploring these concepts in their fictional writings for many years.

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