Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
The MANIAC by Benjamin Labatut
Add The MANIAC to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf


Best Seller
The MANIAC by Benjamin Labatut
Hardcover $28.00
Oct 03, 2023 | ISBN 9780593654477

Preorder from:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Oct 03, 2023 | ISBN 9780593654477

    Preorder from:

  • Oct 03, 2023 | ISBN 9780593654484

    Preorder from:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Product Details


“Utterly absorbing . . . The book drives at the amorality with which von Neumann and his brilliant cohort set humanity on an apocalyptic path . . . [A] terrifying sense of skirting the abyss.” The Sunday Times

“A contemporary writer of thrilling originality . . . The MANIAC is a work of dark, eerie and singular beauty.” —Becca Rothfeld, The Washington Post

“Labatut’s unique framing of John von Neumann’s brilliance and his descriptions of the transcendent power of computers and AI creates a disturbing, awe-inspiring, and inevitable vision, one foreseen by von Neumann, of an ominous future dominated by near infinite technological possibilities.” Booklist (starred review)

“Labatut elegantly captures the sense of geniuses outstripping the typical boundaries of intellectual achievement and paying a price for it . . . Sharply written fiction ably capturing primitive emotions and boundary-breaking research.”Kirkus
“After the slender yet incendiary When We Cease to Understand the World, Labatut returns with a sensational epic of the Hungarian American physicist and computer scientist John von Neumann . . . Labatut mesmerizes in his accessible depictions of complex scientific material and in his inspired portraits of the innovators. In his previous book, Labatut grappled with the ways in which scientific breakthroughs offered new means of experiencing reality; this one succeeds at showing how acts of genius might break the world forever. Readers won’t be able to turn away.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“Labatut has created his own genre: fictionalized accounts of great minds in the history of science, whose genius drives them to madness . . . The MANIAC charts the sweep of modern computing, from its first inklings in punched cards used in jacquard textile looms, all the way to dramatic confrontations between artificial intelligence and acclaimed masters of chess and Go. Labatut’s prose is lucid and compelling, drawing readers on a frightening but fascinating journey; even the most right-brained among them will gain insight into the power and potential dangers of AI. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)


“Brilliantly cerebral.” Sunday Telegraph (five stars)

“[Labatut] is fast emerging as the most significant South American writer since Borges . . . There is no one writing like him anywhere in the world.” —Telegraph

“Intoxicating . . . this marvel of a book, which inspires awe and dread in equal measure, is stalked by the greatest terrors of the 20th century, yet its final heart-stopping sentence makes clear the greatest terrors are yet to come.” —Daily Mail

“A dark, strange novel by a rising literary star.” —New Scientist

“Absorbing . . . The MANIAC reads like physicist Carlo Rovelli crossed with the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft.” —Chris Power, Sunday Times

“Monstrously good . . . Reads like a dark foundation myth about modern technology but told with the pace of a thriller.” —Mark Haddon

“As addictive as a true crime tale.” Mail on Sunday

”Both entertains and provokes . . . His infernal vision of science captures something of the unsettling vertigo of living right here in the Anthropocene after all.” —TLS

“Labatut’s voice comes from the future, to free us from the curse of our present.” —Wolfram Eilenberger, author of Time of the Magicians

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Benjamin Labatut
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top