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November 16, 2008

Is this viral? I got a strange book unexpectedly in the mail…

Nothingness “…I got a book in the mail yesterday. It came from Sweden, with sufficient postage. It was in a white envelope, with my name and work address written by hand in pen. On the envelope, there was also a note that said "Will tell you more when I return!" Inside was a white volume, hardback, called "Being or Nothingness", with the well known picture by Escher on the cover of two hands recursively drawing each other. The author is given as "Joe K". There is also a sticker that says "Warning! Please study the letter to Professor Hofstadter before you read the book. Good Luck!".

Inside the front cover is, indeed, a neatly typed letter to Doug Hofstadter, with the right Bloomington address etc. It is dated Nov 9, 2006. It relates to what is presumably a prior acquaintance between the letter writer and Hofstadter. The letter is signed "The Writer". I'd reproduce the whole letter, as this is getting interesting at this stage, but then I'd have to do the same for the whole book, because it is an interesting little text, quite incoherent in an artistic way, that mingles themes from Hofstadter's Strange Loop, Douglas Adams, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The text is vaguely related to some Christian themes, but also to recursion and the meaning of life.

Now, I have no idea who sent this, nor can I imagine anyone I know in Sweden doing so…”

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November 16, 2008 in Pranks | Permalink


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I wish I'd been sent a copy. This might be your guy here...looks like pseudo biblical, Joe K. , not too long.


Keep us up to date on what develops. I tend to think it is an attempt at viral marketing but it could also be an ARG from somebody like the producers of LOST, since they are known for this kind of thing.


Posted by: Chris Damitio at Nov 18, 2008 4:41:05 PM