Friday, July 12, 2024

Review: How Great Science Fiction Works

How Great Science Fiction WorksHow Great Science Fiction Works by Gary K. Wolfe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This lecture series was informative. I found it most useful in pointing me towards some potential new things to read: both classics and contemporary (and which ones to avoid too, though I don't think that was the intention of the lecturer!)

The series doesn't explain how great science fiction works, what ever that means. But it does give a concise history of the genre, how it developed, who the various key players where in its development, and the different modes of its development. It also discussed important themes and tropes of the genre (e.g. robots, aliens).

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Review: American Gods

American Gods (American Gods, #1)American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really love the premise of this novel. And Gaiman executes it masterfully. The plot is well-integrated, the characters are intriguing, and the story is wild. One of the more imaginative stories I've read without being overly fantastical. There is a lot of darkness and cynicism in the story, but overall really a story of love and hope. I just enjoyed so much the way he plays with the myths and stories of humanity.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 01, 2024

Review: Robert B. Parker's Grudge Match

Robert B. Parker's Grudge Match (Sunny Randall #8)Robert B. Parker's Grudge Match by Mike Lupica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lupica does a good job with Sunny. It's not Parker, never will be, but Lupica captures, for the most part, the quick pace, the quirky humor, and the style of Parker's characters and stories. I do get a kick out of the little references to Spenser and the characters and events of the Spenserverse. The story itself is a classic Parker set up and resolution. All in all, I really enjoyed it.

View all my reviews

Review: Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to DieThink Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die by Steven Nadler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nadler has given us a readable and concise account of Spinoza's philosophy. The focus, as can be intuited from the title, is on living and mainly his Ethics. But to understand Spinoza's views on how best to live, one has to understand his broader philosophical system. So Nadler does get into some of the more complex metaphysical, epistemology, and theological issues in Spinoza's thought, but only insofar as it is important for getting the context and basis for Spinoza's Ethics.

One of the more interesting elements for me was the connections that Nadler draws out to other philosophers. Nadler discusses the influence of Descartes and Hobbes, as well as ancient thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. This shows the continuity of Spinoza with the history of philosophy while also demonstrating his uniqueness and his innovations. Lastly, Nadler shows how Spinoza's thoughts on how to live can be still be relevant and useful today.

View all my reviews