What would it feel like to wake up inside the head of someone who writes about science for a living? John Horgan, acclaimed author of the bestseller The End of Science, answers that question in his genre-bending new book Pay Attention, a stream-of-consciousness account of a day in the life of his alter ego, Eamon Toole—a blogger, college professor, and divorced father.
This work of fact-based fiction, or “faction,” follows Toole as he wakes up in his rented apartment in upstate New York, meditates with the mantra “Duh,” commutes via train and subway to an engineering school in New Jersey, teaches a William James essay on consciousness to freshmen, squabbles about Thomas Kuhn with colleagues over lunch, takes a ferry to Manhattan and spends the evening with his bossy, Tarot-reading girlfriend, Emily, on whom he plans to spring a big question. Throughout the day, Toole struggles to be rational while buffeted by fears and yearnings. Thoughts of sex and death keep intruding on his ruminations over quantum spookiness, the neural code, the Singularity and free will. Pay Attention is a profane, profound meditation on the entanglements of our inner and outer worlds and the elusiveness of truth.