Review of "Bad Twin" by "Gary Troup"

International communism. The bubonic plague. The mischievous “Others” from Lost Island. All of these things are worse than Bad Twin.


But not by much.

The author of Bad Twin, Gary Troup (the name is an anagram for “Purgatory”), perished in the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 over Lost Island. The manuscript was discovered by the fuselage survivors of the crash, and has figured into two episodes of LOST.

Bad Twin is the tale of two “mirror image” twins (identical except one is right-handed and the other is left-handed). The mystery starts at as a rehashing of The Prodigal Son, so much so that the characters discuss that parable looking for clues. Gradually more thematic elements are introduced and rehashed — from Shakespeare, Dante, and more. All of this should add up to a top-notch mystery, especially for LOST fans. It doesn’t.

The connection to the mythos of LOST is unclear. While LOST elements are mentioned — The Hanso Foundation, Alvar Hanso, the Widmore clan, and even Paik Heavy Industries, the book either takes place within a fictional world within that fictional world, or is even less related to the show than the online game, The LOST Experience. For instance, in the second season finale of lost the Widmore family played a vital role. However, Bad Twin is of negligible help in understanding it because the TV show focuses on the UK side of the family, while the book discusses the American side.

Bad Twin has some interesting twists, but most of the plot is either painfully predictable or merely arbitrary. An ending that would be controversial in a better written book, and the political implications thereof, are telegraphed early by the author. At the same time the last section seems composed of one “As it turns out” after another, as the author ties up one lose end after another.

As both an extension to the TV show LOST and a mystery, Bad Twin falls flat. If you want to spend more time on LOST, listen to the very good, free podcasts developed by the online community of fans. The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack, the Generally Speaking LOST Podcast, and the theory-heavy LOSTCasts are all better than Bad Twin. Those expecting a fun mystery would do better to read Dean Barrett (previously featured on tdaxp), especially his Skytrain to Murder.

Do yourself a favor. Avoid Bad Twin.

Variations of the OODA Loop 3, The Sophisticated Boydian Loop

Note: This is a selection from Variations of the OODA Loop, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06


A more detailed version of the OODA loop was presented by John Boyd and two other authors in 1995.35 The more complex Sophisticated Boydian loop allows one to skip the decision stage completely and even to go backward. With this, the sophisticated OODA loop now features both “feedback” and “implicit guidance and control.”36 von Lubitz37 et al provide an excellent summary

Two aspects of the loop are striking: its multidimensional complexity and its dynamic nature that encompasses both time and space. The deceptively simple Loop represents arguably the best depiction of the complexity of interactions and interrelationships involved in critical thinking and decision-making processes., and how actions based on these processes together with other, external, inputs affect the environment, and hence – the next revolution of the loop. Importantly, all actions within the loop are simultaneous – action does not interrupt observation or decision does not relieve from the need to orient. Contrary to the commonly committed error, OODA loop does not represent a linear process developing along the time axis but a process that develops simultaneously within the operational sphere where time is but one of the constituent elements.

Note that the authors do not recognize the Sophisticated Boydian Loop as merely one variation, but rather the only acceptable OODA loop. Other authors38 share this bias. While this version, which is seconded by Beaumont,39 also includes details within observation such as “genetic factors,” the Sophisticated Boydian loop has also been visualized without these sub-processes.40

Variations of the OODA Loop, a tdaxp series:
Variations of the OODA Loop 1: Introduction
Variations of the OODA Loop 2: The Naive Boydian Loop
Variations of the OODA Loop 3: The Sophisticated Boydian Loop
Variations of the OODA Loop 4: Pseudo-Boydian Loops
Variations of the OODA Loop 5: Post-Boydian Loops
Variations of the OODA Loop 6: Bibliography

Leaving On a Jet Plane (Again)

Naerly a month after boarding a plane in Omaha, I’m about to leave Zhongguo Beijing. After a pretty good day, the country seems to want me gone, too. I haven’t been arrested or reeducated in remotest Tibet, yet, but the PRC’s inane blocking of gmail (corresponding with an incredibly slow-down of my secure proxy) has made it extremely frustrating and difficult to attend to some last minute chores. Add to that the iTunes decision not to let me download track 4 of That Hideous Strength (probably just another tech snafu, but still aggravating), and I’m less than a happy camper. Oh, and wae-up is probably at four tomorrow. Great.

I received word from one reader that Blogspirit was not letting him post comments. If you are having technical difficulties with this site, please email me, and I’ll respond once I’m back in the United States, and free from Communist censorship and unreliable (yet greatly appreciated) web proxies.

Update: Mere seconds after posting this the multi-hour embargo of gmail was lifted. Hurrah! Score another one for the power of blogs! 😉

Update 2: Mere seconds after posting this, the multi-hour embargo of gmail is back on. Boo! Score another one for the power of one-party rule. 🙁