Tal Cohen's Bookshelf: A Collection of Personal Opinions about Books


Science Fiction


Computer Science

Book In-Jokes
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The Fiction Collection
“I wonder... What's in a book while it's closed... Because as soon as I open it, there's a whole story with people I don't know yet and all kinds of adventure and deeds and battles... All those things are somehow shut up in a book. But it's already there, that's the funny thing. I just wish I knew how it could be.”
Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
The Science Fiction Collection
“A wild dream and a far one -- but no wilder and no farther than some of the dreams of man.”
Clifford D. Simak, City
The Non-Fiction Collection
“That's the reason they're called lessons: because they lessen from day to day.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
The Computer Science Collection
“Think of a computer program. Somewhere, there is one key instruction, and everything else is just functions calling themselves, or brackets billowing out endlessly through an infinite address space. What happens when the brackets collapse? Where's the final “END IF”? Is any of this making sense?”
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
Book In-Jokes

Here I try to maintain a list of book in-jokes: little jokes that most readers won't notice, hidden in otherwise serious books (for more about what “in-jokes” are, see at the end of the list).

I'll need your help: if you find any such in-jokes, let me know. Please include the word “injoke” in the subject.

The books are listed in no particular order.

Book Reviews Book Reviews: Fiction Science-Fiction Book Reviews Non-Fiction Book Reviews Computer Science Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card was the first author ever to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for two years in a row, let alone for a book and its sequel. The first book was Ender’s Game, the sequel was Speaker for the Dead, and together with Xenocide and Children of the Mind they form Card’s Ender Wiggin Quartet.
[Science Fiction]
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Another tome on the subject of “self” and the possibility of AI, Douglas R. Hofstadter’s Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Langauge approaches these issues as part of a discussion on the art of translation.


Could it possibly be that modern communication networks lead us to one of those rare crossroads between really far-fetched science-fiction and reality? In Darwin Among the Machines, George B. Dyson speculates that huge-scale non-human intelligence will inevitably evolve around us. Plus, the book is a refreshing history of both computing and evolution science.
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Ray Bradbury is a master storyteller with a very rich imagination. His book Driving Blind is a collection of four old and seventeen new short stories.


Simon Singh describes the fascinating story of the riddle that confounded the world’s greatest minds for 358 years, in Fermat’s Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem.
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[See earlier reviews]
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