The Last Son of Krypton: Superman as the Metaphorical Embodiment of Kant’s Categorical Imperative.

  As a student of philosophy I have asked many time what is the practicality of my discipline and how I might apply it to the concrete world? This is a reasonable inquiry for the layman who sees a discipline so esoteric and obtuse that it defies understanding on the practical level. Many times philosophers have to resort to breaking down the concepts for those not in the discipline for the non-philosophers to understand the conceptual erudition that goes on in philosophy. Also, if the philosophers Read more [...]

Farnham’s Freehold and My Response to the Recent Election

Yeah, I know the site's name came from this book and I am feeling a little presumptuous, but given the events a week ago, I have to ask a lot of soul-searching questions. Farnham's Freehold was probably the most controversial book Heinlein ever wrote.  It is at least in the top three.  The main issue: racism can cut both ways.  The postulate that blacks and whites could switch places and that the blacks would use whites as food as well as slaves was one that was not well received.  Heinlein Read more [...]

Seductive Beasts: The Female Werewolf in Victorian Literature

      The most exotic and interesting of all werewolves  must be the female werewolf. While the she-wolf is rare in any period's literature, she does appear in the Victorian period quite a few times. Her appearance in literature is much rarer than in the oral history of lycanthropy which is full of women changing into wolves at night. When she does appear the she-wolf is often a sexual beast. She uses her dual nature and female charms to ensnare her prey. She is also a vehicle for at least Read more [...]

Call for Papers: Robert J. Sawyer Conference

Robert J. Sawyer has long been one of my favorite contemporary science fiction writers, and if you're looking for an author to hook a newcomer to the genre, his books are definite go-to titles. To commemorate the donation of his papers to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, the university will be holding a weekend-long conference next year, and a call for  papers is forthcoming. The details, as announced by Rob via his Facebook page: A conference commemorating the donation of the manuscripts Read more [...]

How Alien are Aliens Anyway?

I think of all the alien races I have read about Robert Heinlein's Martians were truly off the edge as far as being totally alien.  This is actually harder to do than most people think.  Any author who is using aliens will tell you that writing about something truly alien is hard to do.  In order to connect with human readers, there very often has to be something human about the aliens.  There has to be some connective point or the reader loses the story.  The way Heinlein accomplished this Read more [...]

The Enquiring Hitchhiker Interviews Author Greg Bear

  I have long been a fan of Greg Bear's work. I think the first thing I ever read by him was The Strength of Stones and that segued into Blood Music which is probably my favorite novel by Bear besides Darwin’s Radio. It is hard to choose between the two.   The Enquiring Hitchhiker asks.... Question 1- As an archaeologist I found Darwin’s Radio fascinating. Do you think that the human race will undergo another major evolutionary change before we manage to wrest control of Read more [...]

Weather Control, Sandy, and The Wrath of God

I remember a long time ago I saw an old newsreel about the possibilities of weather control.  The short movie speculated that hurricanes could be diverted with rockets shot into the atmosphere and thus creating artificial moisture or pressure centers.  More recently the idea is to use mirrors to artificially heat areas of atmosphere and do much the same thing.  The main idea is to create atmospheric barriers that storms and hurricanes cannot cross or that weaken those storms as they cross them.  Read more [...]

The Girl Adventurer Comes of Age: Heinlein, Feminism, and the Juvenile Novel

  In the early days of science fiction the genre was almost entirely the domain of male heroes. While female characters existed in science fiction they were generally the love interest of the hero, his mother, or a convenient damsel in distress. There are a few notable exceptions. Wilma Deering in Philip Francis Nowlan's 1929 novel Armageddon 2419 A.D is a capable and commanding female character. To a lesser extent, the same can be said of Dale Arden in Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon. These Read more [...]