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Category: Science fiction

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.

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May 17, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s blog.

Metaphor was born from curiosity. From metaphor comes astonishing revelations. Such was the experience of this year’s April Quarterly Discussion. We discussed two short stories written by completely different authors, one by the contemporary science fiction and fantasy author Ted Chiang, and one by the Canadian Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Montgomery’s story “The Man on the Train,” first published in 1914,

 » Read more about: Unlikely Pairing  »

Thanks to Aaron Ducksworth, a 2023 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

November 10, 2023

Many movies of various genres have been made about the relationship between humans and anthropomorphic technology and the complicated relationship between them – think The Terminator franchise (1984-2019), I, Robot (2004), Virtuosity (1995), and The Matrix franchise (1999-2021). M3GAN is different! Not because it attempts to bridge the gap between horror and science fiction through an AI-based film,

 » Read more about: FILM REVIEW: Philosophical Roots in Tech-Horror  »

February 3, 2023

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

The tradition of utopias in imaginative literature – whether in a dialogue by Plato, a comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, or a movie by Ryan Coogler – is an attempt to answer some of the most essential “big questions” at the heart of the humanities. What is justice? What would a just society look like?

 » Read more about: Read Classics, Then Watch … Wakanda Forever  »

September 17, 2021

Thanks to Rebecca L. Thacker, a 2021 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

Although I won’t deny the pleasures of “art for art’s sake” (I’m no stranger to a lazy day curled up with a plot driven page-turner), as a feminist cultural studies scholar, I’m interested in the role literature can play as a cultural change agent. Whether intentional or not, all literature is political.

 » Read more about: Science Fiction and Liberatory World-building  »

May 7, 2021

The Deep by Rivers Solomon — Review by Rebecca Thacker

“Our mothers were pregnant African women/Thrown overboard while crossing the Atlantic Ocean on slave ships/We were born breathing water as we did in the womb/We built our home on the sea floor/Unaware of the two-legged surface dwellers/Until their world came to destroy ours.”

– Clipping, “The Deep”

The 2019 novella The Deep is a richly imagined,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: The Deep  »

November 16, 2018

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

In Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin has her protagonist, Genly Ai, travel to the distant planet Gethen which has no birds or flying insects. As a result, the communities there never even thought to attempt flight and their language has no word for flying. It is no wonder, then, that the people mistrust Genly who arrives by airship.

 » Read more about: Imagination in Flight  »

August 24, 2018

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

How do algorithms know which options are right for you? They are purportedly a mathematical calculation based on personal tastes, previous preferences and your own interaction. I will use examples from Pandora and Netflix to express my meaning, but really, I could broaden this discussion to any number of entities. Also, I am using a very broad understanding of algorithms for this general discussion.

 » Read more about: Swing and A Miss  »

May 11, 2018

Thanks to Dr. John Reynolds, HMU alumnus, for today’s post.

How malleable the notion of science fiction is! What strange places one ends up in when exploring such a seemingly simple question: “Is Star Wars science fiction?” The question grew out of reflections on and discussions about Alissa Simon’s blog post “What is Science Fiction” from April 27, 2018. Originally, I planned on exploring important differences between science fiction and fantasy,

 » Read more about: Pleasures of Reading, Thinking and Conversing in Science Fiction Age  »

April 27, 2018

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a three-day conference hosted by the Great Books Council of San Francisco. The event, which took place at Asilomar, offers four discussions focused on one play, one work of non-fiction, one of fiction and a handful of poems. The wonderful selections were further enriched through discussion.

 » Read more about: What Is Science Fiction  »

October 21, 2016

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s blog.

Leadership has been on nearly everyone’s mind as of late. Unfortunately, it is not a Great Idea in the Great Books canon. However, there are many categories that touch upon ideas of leadership, such as Government, Man, Constitution, and Virtue and Vice. There is very little agreement about what makes a good leader. In fact, the only point of nearly universal agreement among Great Books authors is that some sort of government is necessary for the life of a state.

 » Read more about: Plutarch’s Idea of Leadership  »

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