Erik T. Ray — A Genius You Should Know About

March 24th, 2004

Erik T. Ray is a creative genius, in the classical sense of the word. I first heard about him when I was studying CS at Oberlin College. Many of my classmates were obsessed with something called The Lambda Expressway — an amazing and bizarre serial novel in the tradition of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Phantom Tollbooth. But it wasn’t until I heard Erik’s musical version that I became hooked — trust me, you should click on this link to hear some of that work for yourself (note: the site is a bit slow to download from, but it’s worth the wait). I’ve always thought that Lamda Expressway should be serialized on NPR — it’s that good — people should know about it.

What’s amazing about Erik is that he has invented not only a world, but a range of technologies, and even it’s architecture, some of which he is now proposing to build and live in as a solution for the housing problem. He is also a little insane — for example, his proposal to lick the world is funny and interesting. Basically, he tastes tourist attractions and other things, and keeps a log of his impressions of them. He’s got a number of other proposals you might want to check out. He also has a very retro all-ASCII blog in which among other topics he discusses his recent projects on archimedean chair
construction. You will find many other fascinating and totally original curiosities, toys, devices, artworks and ruminations on his Site. He’s also the only person I know who lists his height on his bio in astronomical units (his bio, like everything else he makes, is full of hilarious and ingenous quirks).

Erik T. Ray is someone who really should be widely known, read, and enjoyed — but he’s not particularly interested in self-promotion. So it’s up to those of us in his unofficial fan-club to get the word out. If you find his stuff interesting, pass it on.