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Literature / The Dice Man

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"Anybody can be anybody"- Luke Rhinehart"
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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.

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

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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.
  • 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.
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  • Unreliable Narrator
  • Villain Protagonist- When the die demands it.

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