Friday, May 25, 2018

Non-Spoilery Reactions to Solo: A Star Wars Story

It seems like it was just five months ago that I was writing up some non-spoilery thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Apparently this is because it was just five months ago.

Is it too soon for more Star Wars?  A couple years ago I remarked to a friend that I was worried Star Wars was going to reach Marvel levels of over-saturation.  His response was, "But what if they keep making good ones?"

So, is the latest entry into the Star Wars cinematic universe, Solo: A Star Wars Story, any good?

I can honestly say I really enjoyed it!  By way of elaboration, I present my non-spoilery reactions to Solo: A Star Wars Story!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review Bonanza, Part Three: The Frankenstein Chronicles, Three Virgins, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and More!

The Frankenstein Chronicles
Welcome to Part Three of my Review Bonanza!  See also Part One, which covered Annihilation, The Laplace's Demon, River of Teeth, and Moreand Part Two, which covered The Expanse, The X-Files, Infomocracy, Navigators of Dune, and More.

Here in Part Three, I've got The Frankenstein Chronicles, Three Virgins and Other Stories by Manjula Padmanabhan, Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis, The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction by David Carrasco, and What Kind of Creatures are We? by Noam Chomsky. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review Bonanza, Part Two: The Expanse, The X-Files, Infomocracy, Navigators of Dune, and More!

The Expanse

As I mentioned in "Review Bonanza, Part One" I haven't been blogging quite as regularly in the last few months, so there are a lot of things I've meant to review that have sadly gone unreviewed on this blog.  In Part One I reviewed movies (Annihilation and The Laplace's Demon), fiction (River of Teeth), and non-fiction (The Island of Knowledge and Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy).

This time I've got two TV shows (The Expanse and The X-Files), two novels (Infomocracy and Navigators of Dune), and one work of non-fiction (What the Buddha Taught).  I even have a few more for Part Three, so stay tuned!  And despite my antipathy toward the superhero genre, I've also seen a few recent Marvel movies (Black Panther, Infinity War, and Deadpool 2), which I've decided to review in a separate Marvel Round Up post coming soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Laurel/Yanny Debacle: A Skeptic’s Amusement

As someone who's partially color blind, regularly mishears things, and has read a lot about philosophical skepticism, the thing I find most amusing about the Laurel/Yanny debacle (and the 2015 iteration: the Dress) is that people are so certain that the world has to be the way it appears to them.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Review Bonanza, Part One: Annihilation, The Laplace’s Demon, River of Teeth, The Island of Knowledge, and More!

The universe has conspired against me as of late when it comes to regular blogging.  Sad, I know!  But the good news is that this means I have enough of a backlog for a bonanza of reviews!  In this installment I've got two movies (Annihilation and The Laplace's Demon), a novella (River of Teeth), and two works of non-fiction (The Island of Knowledge and Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy).  Stay tuned for part two coming soon.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Book/Movie Reviews: A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One

Movie and book: A Wrinkle in Time

There's an old chestnut that the book is always better than the movie, but I'm not sure that's true.  Usually I think of a book and a movie as such different media that it's hard to say which is better than the other.  A book focuses on the creative use of language and has space for character development and background that rarely work in a movie, while movies work directly in images and sound in ways that the printed word can only evoke indirectly.  Nonetheless, I sometimes find it interesting to compare the two to see how a story works differently in a different media.

This spring two movies based on much-beloved books were released: A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One.  How did they fare as adaptations?  What did they give us to think about?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

42: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Back when I started this blog in December 2014, I had a lot of ideas for what it might include, and one of these ideas would seem to be essential for any blog on philosophy and science fiction: a review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!  For the past three and a half years my circuits have been irrevocably committed to composing this review.  I've also been preparing by spending much of that time wearing digital watches.

But considering that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has become a sacred text for science fiction fans, what can my humble exegesis contribute?  Giving up on the pretense of originality, let me discuss a few personal impressions, partly based on having re-read the novel most recently as part of my course on philosophy and science fiction.

The highest praise I have for this book is that it's not just a zany, hilarious read (although there's plenty of zany hilarity), it's also really good, thought-provoking science fiction.  And that's no mean feat - not quite infinitely improbable, but close.  My only real complaint is that Trillian (basically the only woman in the whole book) has almost nothing to do, although if I remember correctly, this changes in the later books.

(Spoilers ahead, but if you can't be bothered to take interest in your local affairs, I can't be held responsible...)