Luke Rhinehart is confirmed dead at far too young an age.
The senseless and sad death of Luke Rhinehart rips at our heartstrings.
'The world will miss Luke💔
What did Luke Rhinehart do?
Luke was best known as a American author (The Dice Man).
How did Luke Rhinehart die?
Luke Rhinehart's death was likely due to a broken heart.
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George Powers Cockcroft (born November 15, 1932), died November 6, 2020, widely known by the pen name Luke Rhinehart, is an American novelist, screenwriter, and nonfiction writer, with at least ten books to his name. He is best known for his 1971 novel The Dice Man, the story of a psychiatrist who experiments with making life decisions based on the roll of a die, including, near the novel's onset, the rape of his best friend's wife.
Cockcroft has described the origin of the idea for this seminal work variously, however, at the time of the publication of this work, "it was not clear whether the book was fiction or autobiography", all the more because its protagonist and author were eponymous, both were described as having the same profession (psychiatry), and elements of the described lives of both (e.g., places of residence, date of birth) were also in common; hence, curiosity over its authorship have persisted since its publication. Emmanuel Carrère, writing for The Guardian, presented a long-form expose on Cockroft and the relationship between author and legend in 2019, and in following with others, established the author Cockcroft as a life-long English professor living "in an old farmhouse with a yard that slopes down to a duck pond", a husband of fifty-years, father of three, and a caregiver to a special needs child.
The Dice Man was critically well received. It quickly became, and remains thought of as a cult classic. It initially sold poorly in the United States, but well in Europe, particularly England, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain. Writing in 2017 for The Guardian, Tanya Gold noted that "over the course of 45 years" it was still in print, had become famous, had devoted fans, and had "sold more than 2m copies in multiple languages" (e.g., as many as 27 languages and 60 countries have been claimed). In 1995, the BBC called it "one of the fifty most influential books of the last half of the twentieth century," and in 1999, after one of their reporters experimented, controversially, with dicing, Loaded magazine named it "Novel of the Century". In 2013, Alex Clark of the Telegraph chose it as one of the fifty greatest cult books of the last hundred years.
Cockroft continued themes—both comical and philosophical—introduced in The Dice Man—in two later novels, Adventures of Wim (1986) and The Search for the Dice Man (1993), as well as in a companion title, The Book of the Die (2000), none of which achieved the commercial success of The Dice Man. First published in 1971, The Dice Man was twice spoken of in the early 2000s as enjoying a renaissance, though a scholar writing on the subject has indicated no formal evidence for such.
2.1 Long comic philosophical novels
2.1.1 The Dice Man (1971)
2.1.2 Adventures of Wim (1986)
2.2 Comic satirical novels
2.2.1 The Search for the Dice Man (1993)
2.2.2 Naked Before the World (2008)
2.2.3 Jesus Invades George: an Alternative History (2013)
2.2.4 Invasion (2016)
2.3 Conventional novels
2.3.1 Matari (1975) (republished as White Wind, Black Rider (2008))
2.3.2 Long Voyage Back (1983)
2.4 Other books
2.4.1 The Book of est (1976)
2.4.2 The Book of the Die (2000)
3 Other works
4 Antecedents and influence
5 In popular culture
5.2 Television and radio
5.4 Magazines and books
5.5 Comics and related media
8 Further reading
8.1 Series in The Guardian
8.2 Other works
9 External links
9.2 Other works
George Powers Cockcroft was born on November 15, 1932 in Albany, New York to Donald and Elizabeth Cockcroft, both college graduates, his mother from Wellesley College. He was raised in Albany, where his father was an electrical engineer, and his ancestry included Vermont political notables. He received a BA from Cornell University in 1954 and an MA from Columbia University in 1956. In 1964 he received a PhD in American literature, also from Columbia. He married his wife, Ann, who would later become a writer of two romance novels and a volume of poetry, on June 30, 1956; together they have three children. His brother, James Cockcroft, is the author of more than 20 books, mostly on Latin American history and society.
After obtaining his PhD, he went into teaching. During his years as a university professor he taught, among other things, courses in Zen and Western literature. In 1969, while Cockcroft was teaching a study abroad program on the island of Mallorca, an Englishman starting a new publishing house happened to stop at a cafe in the same village, Deià, and was given a partial manuscript of The Dice Man to read by Cockcroft. Cockcroft was subsequently offered an advance payment for publication. Shortly afterwards, Cockcroft was encouraged by his course Director to take an early sabbatical from his teaching duties.
He remained in Mallorca to complete the novel, after which the publisher sold the American rights to the novel for a large sum, and within a year the film rights, allowing Cockcroft to retire from teaching and become a full time novelist.
He and his family spent a number of years traveling, sailing, and returning to Mallorca, including time spent on a large catamaran which became the inspiration for the boat in his novel Long Voyage Back. In the mid 1970s they returned to the United States and spent 1975 in a sufi commune, before moving to a large old farmhouse and former religious retreat in the foothills of the Berkshires in upstate New York.
On 1 August 2012, the "death" of Rhinehart at the age of 79 was announced by email to 25 friends, beginning with the words “It is our pleasure to inform you that Luke Rhinehart is dead”; it was later revealed the “Death Letter” was instigated as a playful hoax by Cockcroft. Reactions ranged from sorrow to gratitude and amusement.
In July 2018, Cockcroft appeared as a Guest of Honor at the International Art Book and Film Festival (FILAF) in Perpignan, France, after which he undertook an interview tour of Paris and London.
George Cockroft has written eleven books as Rhinehart, in four main categories and styles:
Long comic philosophical novels: The Dice Man (1971) and Adventures of Wim (1986) (later reworked and published as Whim (2002 and 2015));
Shorter comic satirical novels: The Search for the Dice Man (1993), Naked Before the World (2008), Jesus Invades George: an Alternative History (2013) and Invasion (2016);
Conventional novels: Long Voyage Back (1983) and Matari (1975) (republished as White Wind, Black Rider (2008)); and
Other books: The Book of est (1976) and The Book of the Die (2000).
Long comic philosophical novels
These follow the distinctive style of his first book, The Dice Man. From one chapter to the next Rhinehart switches between first- and third-person views and intersperses the narrative flow with (fictional) excerpts from journals, minutes of meetings, pseudo-religious texts and other sources. In one case, he even quotes from a future book that he did not actually write until more than two decades later.
As the different viewpoints and sources have unique voices, the novel’s mood often changes accordingly from chapter to chapter.
Presenting these multiple fragments from multiple viewpoints together results in an unconventionally rich and complex cubist narrative structure. It reflects what Rhinehart has said: “I have always conceived of myself as being multiple – having, you know, a dozen different selves, if not a thousand different selves, at any given moment.”
The Dice Man (1971)
Rhinehart’s first novel is considered a modern cult classic. It tells the story of a psychiatrist who, dissatisfied with his limited roles and routine life, begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice. The novel is noted for its subversion and permissive attitudes in chapters concerned with controversial issues such as rape, murder and sexual experimentation.
Adventures of Wim (1986)
Adventures of Wim is an effort to create a new interpretation of the story of Wim, a Montauk boy born of a virgin mother, declared the savior of the Montauk nation, and his life quest for Ultimate Truth. The entire book is made up of sections taken from other, fictional books, and so provides a multi-faceted account of ‘one of the greatest figures in the 20th and 21st Century’.
Comic satirical novels
The Search for the Dice Man (1993)
A sequel set 20 years after The Dice Man, which tells the story of Rhinehart’s son, Larry, who has built a highly successful and stable life, having rejected his father’s embracing of Chance. On a quest to find his father however, Larry’s life of order and routine becomes enveloped in chaos, the legacy of his father’s work.
Naked Before the World (2008)
From a draft written at the same time as The Dice Man, this comic novel celebrates the lives of both hippies and the establishment in 1960s Mallorca through the story of Katya, an innocent Catholic art student who arrives on the island to study abroad. Katya is thrown into a world of artists, frauds, sex, drugs and the struggle to discover who she really wants to be.
Jesus Invades George: an Alternative History (2013)
This satire revolves around the chaos that would have ensued had US President George W Bush woken up one morning in 2007 possessed by the spirit of Jesus Christ. The story playfully reveals and deconstructs the hypocrisy of government and modern politics.
Aliens invade Earth for the sole purpose of having fun. Hyper-intelligent and able to morph into multiple forms, they play games with culture and infrastructure, from computer networks and social media to corporate culture and human relationships. The resulting mayhem reveals the primitive nature of our society, and offers an alternative vision for the human race.
Matari (1975) (republished as White Wind, Black Rider (2008))
Set in 18th Century Japan, the beautiful Matari is joined by two zen poets as she flees from her husband, a samurai lord who is giving chase with intent to murder her. A lyrical and poetic tale of love, honor and morality.
Long Voyage Back (1983)
A nautical action-adventure novel and story of human endurance and spirit. It follows a group of people sailing aboard a trimaran, and their struggle for survival as they escape the aftermath of nuclear war.
The Book of est (1976)
The Book of est is a fictional account of the Erhard Seminar Training (est), a personal transformation course created in 1971. Although controversial, many participants experienced powerful results through the course, including dramatic transformations in their relationships with families, their work and personal vision. In this book, the reader is put in the place of a participant, to experience a sense of being in the training room and the spirit of what takes place there.
The Book of the Die (2000)
A “handbook of dice living” intended to help free readers from barriers to an unfulfilled life. It follows the philosophy that people must give up their illusion that a self can control life; they must let go. A collection of proverbs, essays, cartoons, poems, scenes from movies and more form this guide to creating a more playful and unpredictable life.
Though best known as a novelist, Rhinehart has also written nine screenplays: five are based directly on his novels: The Dice Man, The Search for the Dice Man, Whim, Naked Before the World, and White Wind, Black Rider. Two others are direct Dice Man sequels featuring the original character: The Dice Lady (co-written with Peter Forbes), and Last Roll of the Die (co-written with Nick Mead). Two other screenplays, Mawson and Picton's Chance, are original concepts.
The music and spoken word album, The Dice Man Speaks, on Dice Man Records, a new imprint of bizbro CREATIVE, features the pseudonymous Rhinehart and Sputnik Weazel and was released in 2018. On it, Cockcroft/Rhinehart performs spoken word passages voiced over acoustic and electronic musical pieces by Weazel.
Antecedents and influence
To date there appears to be a single published scholarly work on the idea's appearing in Cockroft's The Dice Man, a conference paper from Shanna Robinson of the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney in Australia; in addressing the popular accounts of Dickson on its having the "impact of religious conversion on millions" and the suggestion, again in popular media (by Dickson and Adams), that the dicing theme was, at that time, "enjoying a renaissance", Robinson writes:Although acknowledged that there has been no research at this point establishing the veracity of this, a number of other manifestations of dicing lend some credibility to the idea that it enjoys a certain level of popularity.
Also, the starting point for David Colton's 2019 PhD thesis, ″Canned Chance, The commodification of aleatory art practice″ is the Dice Man novel. The novel, and the use of dice and other tools for accessing chance are discussed here. See Manchester Metropolitan University, http://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/view/creators/Colton=3ADavid,_G=3A=3A.html
More generally, art exploring the application of chance or randomness in its expression is referred to as aleatoricism, and at least one academic, Richard Hoadley, a faculty member in Music and Performing Arts at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, refers to the writings of Cockcroft/Rhinehart in their teaching on aleatoricism in art.
In popular culture
This section needs expansion with: a prose summary of the important popular culture references to Cockcroft's works—not a list, which can be left at The Dice Man article page—that is based on published reports of the Cockcroft/Rhinehart inspiration, and not WP:OR. You can help by adding to it. (November 2019)
The Talk Talk song, "Such A Shame", was inspired by The Dice Man.
Television and radio
Four seasons of a television travel series called The Diceman were made between 1998 and 2000 by the Discovery Channel. The destinations and activities of the participants were determined by the roll of a die.
UK Channel4's broadcast of Diceworld (1999, Paul Wilmshurst directing), a 50-minute television documentary about Cockcroft/Rhinehart and some of the people influenced by his novels, led to a resurgence of interest in Cockcroft/Rhinehart's books, and in various related "dicing projects". A further documentary was produced in 2004, a collaboration between Cockcroft/Rhinehart and director Nick Mead, entitled Dice Life: The Random Mind of Luke Rhinehart.
Inspired by The Dice Man and written by Paul Lucas, the play The Dice House premiered in the United Kingdom in 2001, and went on to staging at the Arts Theatre in London's West End in 2004.
Magazines and books
Controversially, journalist Ben Marshall spent two years from 1998 to 2000 experimenting with dicing, and reporting his experiences in Loaded magazine; Loaded subsequently named Cockcroft/Rhinehart as novelist of the century.
Murder mystery author Terry Mitchell often uses characters who throw dice to make decisions, and in his own personal life, Mitchell created the "dice road trip", "dicing to eat", and "The Sacred Journey", each of which used dice to make decisions about life decisions.
Comics and related media
The UK comic, 2000 AD, published the Gamebook magazine title, Dice Man, in 1986; in total 5 editions were created by Pat Mills through October of that year, with script and game by Mills, covers by Glenn Fabry, and with art and lettering done by various individuals at 2000 AD. The relationship between this comic title and the similarly titled Cockcroft work has been established.
The brewers of Rolling Rock beer launched an advertising campaign in the United Kingdom in 1998 based on The Dice Man theme, a campaign that included a short-lived Dice Life website. The relationship between this campaign and Cockcroft's work has been established.
San Francisco artist Larnie Fox created War Toys, "an exhibit of kinetic sound sculptures", for which an activity, "The Dicewalk", inspired by Cockcroft's work, was part of its closing ceremony.
This section needs expansion with: a standard Wikipedia presentation of the section subject, including publishers, changes in title or subtitle, to forwards, etc. You can help by adding to it. (November 2019)
The Dice Man (1971).
The Book of est (1976).
Long Voyage Back (1983).
Adventures of Wim (1986).
The Search for the Dice Man (1993).
The Book of the Die (2000).
Whim (2002 reissue of Adventures of Wim).
White Wind, Black Rider (2008). Reissue of Matari.
Naked Before the World: A Lovely Pornographic Love Story (2008).
Jesus Invades George: An Alternative History (2013)
Luke Rhinehart Luke Rhinehart
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