• Charles Arrowsmith

Review: The Making of Incarnation by Tom McCarthy (Washington Post)


If you’ve ever tried counting sheep and found yourself, rather than dropping off, wondering if there might be some kind of design underpinning the leaps and bleats of your woolly friends, Tom McCarthy’s new book might be for you. “The Making of Incarnation,” the British writer’s fifth novel, is an investigation of pattern and connection set in the world of motion studies. And lest that sound dry, rest assured it also asks such big questions as how can you fake zero-gravity lovemaking on-screen? and what happens if you put a bobsled in a wind tunnel?


“Incarnation,” for those stumbling over the title, is the name of a movie — “a grand space opera in the Star Wars mould, with princesses, kidnappers, pirates, smugglers.” The design of its special effects is the ostensible subject of many of the book’s chapters, vignettes in which bodies both human and machine provide the blueprints for mega-budget illusion. The company consulting on this work is Pantarey Motion Systems, a high-tech outfit whose motion studies have had applications not only in medical, military and sporting simulations but also in CGI. (The name presumably derives from “panta rhei,” a phrase usually attributed to Heraclitus that means something like “everything flows.”)


For the review in full, visit The Washington Post.

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