techno-gimmick--"The Machine of Understanding Other People"--allows
the hero of this novel to dip into the minds of a random assortment of unique
souls, taking us along for a voyeur's fun, as we inhabit the consciousnesses of
beings ranging from a typical adolescent to some visiting ETs.
May 25: On this day in 1938 Raymond Carver was born. Carver's poem "Luck," about a nine-year-old who wakes to an empty house and the leftovers of his parents' party, is all too autobiographical: "What luck, I thought. / Years later,…