Thursday, February 22, 2018

Con Nooga 2018!

Me at Con Nooga in 2017

This weekend I'll be spending some time at Con Nooga, one of the surprisingly many sci-fi/fantasy/horror/anime/comic/gaming, etc. cons that take place here in the relatively small city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA (you can read about one of the others, Chattacon, here).  I also attended Con Nooga in 2016 and 2017 (see photographic evidence above!), so this will be my third Con Nooga.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Some Interesting Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2017

Some of the books discussed here!

Last year I wrote a post called "Most Interesting SF/F Novels of 2016" instead of a traditional "Best of" or "Favorites" list like I did for 2015.  As I explained with my post on TV of 2017, there's something a bit presumptuous about a "Best of" list considering that there's a lot of great stuff I haven't personally experienced.  Nobody can get to everything, after all.

So this year I thought I'd entirely forego the traditionally bombastic claims and settle for a post on some books published in 2017 that I felt were interesting.  I'm not ranking these, since each is interesting for different reasons, although careful readers will be able to discern my favorites.  This list is also focused on my reading in science fiction and fantasy.  I do read other stuff (especially philosophy books), and you can find see what I've been reading on my Goodreads profile.  While you're there, please feel free to add me as a friend!

You may also notice that I'm not posting this until mid-February of 2018.  I got a bit behind on my reading schedule (one book on this list is responsible for most of it!), and then I got a bit behind on my blogging.  Alas, I also have a job and other non-blog things going on.  But here I am at at last!  So without further ado, some interesting science fiction and fantasy books of 2017!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Some Interesting TV of 2017

I was originally planning to write a "Best of" list for my favorite TV shows of 2017, but I've gotten a little tired of the genre of "Best of" lists.  There's a mind-boggling amount of TV content available these days, so it seems a bit presumptuous to claim that the best of it can only come from the measly percentage that I've seen.  Also, these shows are all different enough that it seems unfair (impossible?) to rank them against each other.  Besides, it's mid-Februrary 2018, so it seems a bit late to march in the "Best of 2017" parade.

Instead I give you: Some Interesting TV of 2017!

(Note also that I'm limiting myself to science fiction and fantasy broadly construed.  I'm also only talking about shows that came out in 2017.  And I'm leaving out a few I did watch, like The Orville and The Mist.  I'll wait for a future post to tackle the latest episodes of The X-Files and Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, which were released in the US in 2018).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Reminders: Nazis are Bad and February is Black History Month


Maybe I was naïve, but until the last couple years I thought most people had figured out the whole "Nazis are bad" thing.  But then came the resurgence of explicit white nationalism and the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA.  More recently such hate has found its way to my own backyard: there was white nationalist propaganda featuring a picture of Hitler saying "Hitler was Right" pasted over a Black History Month sign at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Wed. Feb. 7, 2018.  (See the image below).

Friday, February 9, 2018

Listening to Asian Philosophy: Responses to Pigliucci

Śaṅkara, Maṇḍana, and Ubhāyabhārati engaged in philosophical debate

In an earlier post I mentioned a recent conference presentation of mine that generated a blog post from philosopher Massimo Pigliucci.  In my earlier post I reproduced the original handout from my talk.  Here I'm reproducing (maybe for posterity, maybe for fun) some of my responses to Pigliucci's post, particularly on the topic of "Eastern philosophy."  You can see all of the comments on his original post.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Truth Shall Set You Free? - Naiyāyikas, Stoics, and Skeptics on Philosophy and the Good Life

Marcus Aurelius: Stoic, Emperor, Horse Lover

I recently gave a talk at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association called "The Truth Shall Set You Free?: Naiyāyikas, Stoics, and Skeptics on Philosophy and the Good Life."  Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher of science with an interest in Stoicism, was in the audience and recently wrote a blog post about my talk on his blog How to Be a Stoic (you can find his post here).

Given the interest in the talk, I thought I might reproduce my handout here on my blog.  So, here it is (with a few minor edits).  If you wish to learn more about any of the schools and figures I mention here, check out the bibliography at the end.  I may reproduce my comments on Pigliucci's post as a separate post here.  Stay tuned.