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Literature / The Dice Man

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"Anybody can be anybody"- Luke Rhinehart"

The Dice Man is a novel published in 1971 by George Cockcroft under the pen name Luke Rhinehart and tells the story of a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice. Cult black comedy favorite.

Luke Rhinehart, respected psychiatrist and family man, is in a slump. Bored to insanity by his humdrum life, he conducts a psychological experiment to destroy the self, by letting the role of a die determine his next actions. From here, after surrendering his will, he takes all the risks he's denied himself. The path of the dice however, leads him to become a cult leader, adulterer, underground activist, millionaire, asylum inmate, murderer and fugitive.

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Not to be confused with the British travel documentary inspired by the work which shares its name, or with comedian Andrew "Dice" Clay.


This work provides us examples of:

  • Artistic License – Medicine: When a patient tells Luke he likes to sodomize and kill young girls, Luke is depressed that he can't tell anyone due to patient confidentiality. In reality, a practitioner should break confidentiality as soon as s/he thinks the patient will be a danger to themselves or others.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer- Luke's behavior is initially downplayed as this.
  • Comedic Sociopath- Luke again.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope - Luke's first dice-determined decision is whether or not to rape his best friend's wife.
  • Shown Their Work- the parodies of Freudian, Jungian and behavioral psychology.
  • Übermensch- Luke and his Way of the Dice.
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  • Unintentional Period Piece - Many. Two being referencing Bob Dylan as though he is current, and a child steals $3 and is able to buy 23 comic books with the money.
  • Unreliable Narrator
  • Villain Protagonist- When the die demands it.

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