Monday, July 30, 2018

2018 Hugo Ballot, Part Four (Artists, Zines, Campbell Award, Etc.)

Voting for the Hugos can be a bit exhausting, but I think it's worth it.  If you want to get in on the action, you have until tomorrow (July 31) to do so (see here for details).  Every time I tell myself that next time I will leave myself more time, but I always run out of time.  Where does the time go?  Maybe I need a time machine.  Oh, well.  I guess I'll get started.  (It's about time.)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

2018 Hugo Ballot, Part Three (Related Work, Dramatic Presentation, and More)

I've already submitted my votes for this year's Hugos for Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Best Short Story (see my ballots here and here).  But there are a lot more categories!  So ... many... categories.  You can see all the finalists in all the categories here.  There are more categories, honestly, than I can hope to vote for before the July 31 deadline.  I think I can manage a few more at least, so here's what I think about Best Related Work, Best Graphic Story, and Best Dramatic Presentation (Long and Short).  I'm not going to vote for Best Series because I haven't read any of them.  I'll probably also skip the editor categories because I don't feel as plugged into the professional side of science fiction as I feel like I ought to be to vote for those (although editing is a lot of work and deserves recognition, so I may change my mind there).  Hopefully I'll get to the other categories in Part Four!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Rewatching the Matrix Sequels

Morpheus in The Matrix Reloaded

Like many teachers of philosophy who love science fiction, I show clips from The Matrix whenever I teach anything to do with external-world skepticism.  It's a nice way to dramatize the question: how you could know that you're not in some radically different world like the Matrix right now?

Another thing I often mention to my students is that I pretend the sequels (The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions) never happened.  The Matrix is a science fiction classic.  The sequels ... not so much.

But was I right?  Could my assessment of the sequels when I first saw them 15 years ago be as wrong as Neo's belief that he's not in the Matrix?  These questions were there like a splinter in my mind.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

So the other day I thought I'd conduct an experiment to answer these questions by rewatching the sequels.

Friday, July 27, 2018

2018 Hugo Ballot, Part Two (Novelette and Short Story)

Check out my 2018 Hugo Ballot, Part One to see what I had to say about the categories for novel and novella.  In this post I'm moving on to novelette and short story.  One of my favorite things about voting for the Hugos (which you can do, too!) is that it exposes me to new things and keeps me something like up-to-date with the SFF field.  This is especially true with the short fiction categories as I don't read nearly as much short fiction as I ought to.  So, thanks, Hugo awards!  There's some really great stuff this year!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2018 Hugo Ballot, Part One (Novel and Novella)

This year's voting for the Hugo awards is due on July 31, 2018, which means (as usual) that I'm scrambling to read as much as I can before the deadline.  So far I've read enough of the novel and novella categories to come up with a ballot.  You (yes, you!) can still sign up to vote with a supporting membership even if you aren't going to San José, CA for Worldcon.  Sign up here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Modernity Expanded: The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in Early Modern India 1450-1700 by Jonardon Ganeri

I thought it might be interesting to post a review on the philosophy side of my interests.  So here you go!

The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in Early Modern India 1450-1700 is a groundbreaking work, even for Jonardon Ganeri's always extremely high standards.  There are at least three ways in which The Lost Age of Reason breaks new ground.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vestiges of Identity: Provenance by Ann Leckie

After reading Ancillary Justice and now Provenance, I think Ann Leckie may be one of those authors that just doesn't click with me.  Something about her writing style feels ... murky to me, like an impressionist painting.  Leckie seems to be one of those authors who take their writing teachers' "show don't tell" rule way too seriously (although even the showing is a bit murky).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pre-Prolegomena to Future Discussions of Including Non-Western Philosophy in the Curriculum

If you come here for the science fiction or you aren't an academic philosopher, you may be surprised to learn that the academic discipline of philosophy is extremely Eurocentric. I've discussed this odd state of affairs on the blog before (for instance, here and here).

Over at the philosophy blog Daily Nous, the discussion of whether philosophy should try to be more inclusive came up yet again this week in a post called "End Philosophical Protectionism," which is in turn based on an interview with my friend and colleague Anand Vaidya at 3:AM MagazineAnd, as prophesied by Amy Olberding in an earlier post, the discussion in the Daily Nous comments section quickly took on some familiar beats.

Against my better judgment, I dipped my toes into the comments section.  As I read the comments, it occurred to me that maybe before the next one of these discussions takes place, we might stop to think about some things (we are, after all, philosophers!).  Maybe it's worth rethinking about some presuppositions and unquestioned assumptions that serve to make the familiar beats so annoyingly counter-productive.  To help, I came up with the following "Pre-Prolegomena to Future Discussions of Including Non-Western Philosophy in the Curriculum."  Enjoy!  Feel free to add your own pre-prolegomena in the comments.  (And thanks to Anand Vaidya, Amy Olberding, and Justin Weinberg for inspiring this post!)