Seeking Cognitive Estrangement

By Erik van Mechelen

Thoughts and observations on the strange inside and all around us.

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Seeking Cognitive Estrangement - Issue #19

Lifestyle GamificationHow Ryan Holiday gamifies notetaking and research to produce book-length projects. (Medium)User ExperienceDark Patterns are designed to trick you (and they’re all over the Web) (Ars Technica, Jul 2016)Behavior DesignTakeaways from BJ Fog…


Your next book: Rise to the Rahz

"A cool mix of Wool, Red Rising, and Mistborn." - Ben WoodAnd here's what another reader said:Rise to the Rahz grips you from the get-go, and will have you reading from chapter to chapter desperate to know what happens next.The intricate, and realistic underg…


Try my novel - Issue #17

"A cool mix of Wool, Red Rising, and Mistborn." -Benjamin Wood***My novel is out in paperback! (and e-book, published by Tablo)Also!The amazing mods at /r/fantasy have schedule me to do an AMA (ask me anything) for their 300,000+ subscribers on June 27 at 9am…


Seeking Cognitive Estrangement - Issue #16

Allons travailler!-Erik


Seeking Cognitive Estrangement - Issue #15

Quote I’m thinking about: "Was everyone else really as alive as she was?... If the answer was yes, then the world, the social world, was unbearably complicated, with two billion voices, and everyone’s thoughts striving in equal importance and everyone’s claim…


Erik van Mechelen - Issue #14

For literary critic Darko Suvin, the key to cognitive estrangement is the presence in a story or novel of what he calls a 'novum', that is a device or machine that is absolutely new and whose presence compels us to imagine a different way of conceiving our wo…


Professional reader? - Issue #13

For all my writing and reading recommendations, go to


Essay Series - Issue #12

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M Sapolsky. I will put this book into conversation with the goals chapter of Life 3.0: On Being Human in the Age of AI.Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace …


Cumulus, Russia, and a Critique - EvM Issue #11

In short: I started writing for Bound (I'm writing the sourcebook material for Cumulus), and I'm rereading and annotating Reality is Broken in between edits to Actionable Gamification and the creation of several essays. The novel critique I received at 4th St…


Erik van Mechelen - Issue #10

I'm looking for beta readers to go on a quest w/ me. But I want to know what YOU want for your help: Aren't a reader but know someone who reads avidly? Tell me. 


Issue #10: Letters to authors who changed me

Here's what I'm reading (links to my Scribd collection)And some more here (links to my Goodreads collection)


Issue #8 - Shifting to Community

This time I'm asking for something from you :) If you know someone who would benefit from amazing feedback from a warm writing community, please send this to them or ask them to check out the Story Stadium. Thanks! And thank you for reading 🎈


Issue #7: Submissions and Memory eBook

I just submitted three short stories to Bound ( If you join my reading group you can give a quick read of the openings I submitted. Just private message me once inside! I'm @evm there.


Issue #6: Ask Me Anything

Orwell's collected essays - George OrwellOrwell made writing about politics an art-form


Issue #5: Cycle of Creativity

Meaningful work requires effort and attention, which also usually means time. I wish you well in whatever is drawing your effort and attention this weekend. 


Issue #4: Threads of Peace

Hit reply if you found any part of this interesting. Even one-word answers. Trying to get to know what interests and what doesn't :) Best -Erik


Issue #3: Small steps scale big mountains

Beta reading just got under way. I feel lucky that so many people have taken the time to read and give their reactions and perspectives. There is a lot of work to do on the novel and I am ready for the next phase of that challenge. 


Issue #2: Beta Reading Begins Soon

Synopsis: For three quakes, a girl’s skill with bow and brush lets her survive alone in the Shadows. In this mysteriously abandoned underground city—part of a vast system called the Known Caverns—Shikayne listens to thousands of stones in efforts to uncover s…


Issue #1: Writing a novel

Thanks to everyone who has already jumped on board the beta reading team. I will release a synopsis soon, but this book would be shelved in sci-fi/fantasy at a Barnes and Nobles. Go HERE to get set up and await further instructions: https://enigmatic-waters-3…