Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Birthdays, Deathdays, Climate Change, and Humanity

Last year I celebrated the apex of birthdays in the life of any philosophical nerd: 42. I can’t hope to top that this year, but that’s okay. Each year is something of its own (see some of my previous birthday posts here and here.)

Birthdays and Deathdays

This year I’ve been thinking a little bit about my post from four years ago when I discovered that I had, statistically speaking, entered middle age. I’ve also been thinking a lot about death in my philosophy and horror class (an occupational hazard, I suppose). I’ve always been a bit prone to melancholy and thoughts of death (not quite enough to be goth, but I see what the goths are on about).

Given that my life is more likely than not more than halfway over at this point, should my birthday be a day of celebration of my existence thus far or a mourning in anticipation of an impending deathday?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Institutional King: The Institute by Stephen King

My obsession with Stephen King as of late has almost turned this into a Stephen King blog, so of course I was planning to review his brand new book, The Institute, which was released on Sept. 10, 2019.  I promise I will have some non-Stephen King content soon.

The Institute is definitely one of King's more science fictional novels, probably more in the direction of "hard science fiction" than just about anything he's done. There are also some interesting philosophical questions lurking.  Let me do a regular, non-spoilery review first, and then I'll get to some spoilery philosophical bits.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Almost Coherent Time Travel: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63 may be one of my favorite Stephen King novels now. It's almost a coherent time-travel story (I have a few nagging doubts I'll work through below), but there's also intrigue, adventure, and romance.  It's like three or four novels in one, but running at the same time, harmonizing with each other at key points.

I'll get to the time travel business at the end (with spoilers), but first a few spoiler-free remarks about the novel overall.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Memory, Identity, and Endings: Thoughts on IT Chapter Two

IT Chapter Two was one of my most anticipated movies this year.  I enjoyed the first one, and I've developed an unexpected obsession with Stephen King in recent years.

So, what did I think?  Two main points: First, I was surprised that most critics seemed to like Chapter One better than Chapter Two, because I feel exactly the opposite way (this review is a bit more nuanced).  Maybe critics preferred Chapter One because it works better as a standalone movie apart from the book, while Chapter Two preserves one of the deepest themes of the novel about the relation between who we are as children and as adults.  My second main point: Chapter Two has a running meta-commentary on endings (also a nod to a frequent criticism of Stephen King's books), which is funny because my major issue with Chapter Two is precisely its ending.