Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

June 20, 2012

The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy edited by Randall E. Auxier and Phil Seng

Filed under: Philosophy — Randolph @ 4:51 pm

The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy edited by Randall E. Auxier and Phil Seng

This series is a lot of fun. It feels light, yet gets into some important philosophical topics, using the stories of The Wizard of Oz as a mechanism to drive the discussion.

The book covers the movie, touching on some of the earlier versions, the original series of books, the books by Gregory Maguire, and a couple of plays. The authors also touch on Rushdie’s analysis of Oz. The focus is on the 1939 movie, the first two or three books of Baum’s series, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Several philosophers provide short discussions on different topics touched on, intentionally or not, by the different versions of the Wizard of Oz. These include the nature of evil, the value of home and what it means, feminism, morals, slavery, and more. Phillip Seng discusses the relationship between the Pink Floyd soundtrack and its relationship to the movie, and discusses some basic probability with it.

The discussions are very interesting. They are admittedly light, as entire books can be found on most of these subjects, but they provide good food for thought and a solid basis to build on.

June 8, 2012

What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been by Various, Edited by Robert Cowley

Filed under: Fantasy,History — Randolph @ 8:58 pm

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I was a bit disappointed in this collection, but it was mostly a personal taste. Some of the writers’ styles were not to my liking. But several of the stories seemed to fall short of their promise, focusing more on the history around their chosen event and just suggestions of alternate sequences of events. The history of the potato was very interesting and the author raised some real question about what could have happened if any of a number of events had varied, but he did not write any real alternate stories. I felt this story didn’t deliver what the book promised.

Some of the stories worked very well, exploring Churchill’s politics and his influence on WWII.

Overall, I suspect the scope of speculative fiction doesn’t work well with the short story format.

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