Existentialism and the Terminator – podcast

Hey, hey, hey! I promised you a podcast version of my Existentialism and the Terminator vid aaaages ago, but life got in the way. It’s here, though! And this is my first time using this file manager doo-hickey that’s supposed to allow you to download sexy shit like this podcast, so *fingers crossed* everything works.

Are you excited? I’m excited!

Anyway, if sitting watching a YouTube video of my face for 30mins was just too long for you, you can now listen to me wittering on as you go about your daily business.

[wpdm_package id=’2843′]


A full transcript, complete with notes and references, is available on the previous post.

As always, if you enjoyed this and found value in it, please consider donating via PayPal using the Tip Jar in the sidebar —>

Eve’s Apology: A Reading for International Poetry Day

The Dream of Pilate's Wife, by Alphonse François

The Dream of Pilate’s Wife, by Alphonse François

It’s International Poetry Day! What better day to celebrate the poetry of one of the women I celebrated on International Women’s Day? Aemelia Lanyer – first female poet to be published in the English language.

Click below for a reading of her ‘Eve’s Apology’, read by me. ‘Eve’s Apology’ (here meaning ‘defence’, rather than ‘sorry about that’) is an extract from the epic poem, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. It’s from the bit where Pilate’s wife is trying to persuade him to pardon Jesus, and Pilate thinks he can just wash his hands of the matter and put it all on the crowd. And Pilate’s wife is, like, ‘You men are always shitting on women because Eve ate the apple in the garden of Eden and then everything sucked, but bitch? We’ve suffered enough. And, frankly, it wasn’t our fault, anyway, ’cause Adam never told Eve what God said about not eating from that tree. And now you’re gonna do this, even though God sent me this dream about how crappy an idea this is? And I’ve told you my dream, so if you think you can wash your hands on this, then LOL, because men won’t have shit on women after this.’

It’s basically a massive smackdown, and you gotta listen to it to really feel the way it builds.

Read more about Aemelia Lanyer in my post for International Women’s Day.

(If you enjoy this reading, please consider putting a little something in the tip jar – it’s helps me to add a little extra to this blog.)

The Serene Wombles

Today marks one year since my very first post on this here writing and review site. And what a year it has been! Me with the reviewing, you with the sometimes reading my reviews. Not to mention the occasional paid writing success, the publication of my labour of love analysing the end of The Dark Tower, the completion of my novella, and so many other things. For the first couple of months this blog averaged six views a day, now it averages sixty-two, and around 1,800 views a month. It’s still an itty-bitty blog spewing into the ether, but it’s reassuring to know that some of you found something interesting in what I had to say.

Anyway, in celebration of ISotHM’s birthday, I’ve decided to cap off the year by handing out some meaningless awards: The Serene Wombles!*.

Eligibility for a Serene Womble in conferred by being the subject of a review in the past year. There may have been better or more worthy things that came out this year, but if I didn’t find them relevant to my interests, or if I simply didn’t have the time to review them, they won’t be eligible for a Serene Womble. I make no pretense that these awards are significant or important in any way, but I enjoy having the opportunity to praise and draw attention to things I have loved.

The Serene Wombles are divided into two categories, those that apply to recent releases, and special Time Travelling Wombles for the most awesome things in my Reviewing Through the Time Machine posts. The division between the former and the latter may at times seem arbitrary – why should a film that came out in 2009 count as a recent release, whilst a TV Show that ended in 2009 requires a time machine? It’ll always be a judgement call, and the judgement will have been made on a case-by-case basis at the time of reviewing. Sometimes I use a time machine for my reviews because I want to review something that came out in 1939, sometimes because I want to review something more recent that’s out of print, or because it’s a TV show that’s been cancelled. A show that was cancelled in 2009 therefore seems different to me than a film that was in the cinema in 2009, but may have only recently reached my eyes. At the end of the day, these are not the Oscars, they’re the highlights from a blog, and are therefore subject to my whim.

Let’s get started!

The Serene Womble for Best Film: Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger - posterEligible Films: Moon, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, Possession, Captain America: The First Avenger
There was some stiff and not so stiff competition in this category, but nevertheless, a clear winner. Moon was aesthetically pleasing, but a bit slow, and short on female characters and ethnic minorities. X-men: First Class was exciting and joyful, but deeply problematic in its representation of women and non-white people. Captain America was a fast-paced joy from start to finish that dealt expertly with its subject matter turning out something nuanced and impressive from a premise that could have been uncomfortably ‘all-American’ and patriotic. I’m very happy to award the first Serene Womble for Best Film to the First Avenger.

The Serene Womble for Best TV Show Game of Thrones
The Iron ThroneEligible TV Shows: Misfits, Dirk Gently, Outcasts, Being Human (US), 10 O’clock Live, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Will this be a surprise or not? I don’t know. I’ve done a lot of squeeing and cheerleading for several TV shows over the past year. If I wanted to split this into fiction and non-fiction I’d be able to reward 10 O’clock Live the way I want to, but then it would be the only one in its category. If you’d asked me half a year ago, I’d have said Misfits without a doubt. It’s very close, and I’d love to reward Misfits for its originality and indie-quirkiness. If I were judging on its first series it would have won hands down. I didn’t feel the second series was quite as strong throughout, though, and whilst I still loved it, A Game of Thrones wins in terms of groundbreaking TV for this year, bringing epic fantasy to hugely successful, internationally acclaimed television in a way I don’t think has been done before. Perhaps the closest previous offering would have been BBC miniseries such as Gormenghast and the 1980s Chronicles of Narnia, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen epic fantasy produced on such an international scale that was as sexual and violent and true to its source material. It also offered roles like that of Tyrion Lannister to the superb Peter Dinklage, allowing him to shine in a way that’s rarely possible in the sort of roles usually offered to actors with dwarfism. It was stonkingly well-cast all round as well as being a visually stunning and gripping adaptation of a beloved fantasy series.

The Serene Womble for Best Actor Eve Myles for her portrayal of Gwen Cooper in Torchwood: Miracle Day
Gwen looking bad-assEligible actors: too many to mention. This category is open to any actor in any recent production that I’ve reviewed in the past year – film, TV, radio, podcast, whatever. I’ve also made the decision not to distinguish on gender. It’s not something I really understand in this day an age. It’s not like sport, where physical differences might mean that men won over women disproportionately often. All that matters for this category is the acting. Having said that, maybe Eve Myles will be a controversial choice. You all know I supported Peter Dinklage for his Emmy, and his contribution to Game of Thrones certainly added to its win for TV show, but Eve Myles wins hands down, for me. I was blown away by her acting in Torchwood: Miracle Day. Any previous series of Torchwood? No, she wouldn’t have had a chance. I never really liked Gwen, before, but Eve Myles brought it this series, and she deserves recognition for a consistently shining performance on all different levels.

The Serene Womble for Best Novel Jumper, by Steven Gould
Jumper - book coverEligible novels: A Dance with Dragons, by George R R Martin; Witch Week, by Diana Wynne Jones; Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones; Hexwood, by Diana Wynne Jones; The Dragon Keeper, by Robin Hobb; Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones; Jumper, by Steven Gould; Reflex, by Steven Gould; Jumper: Griffin’s Story, by Steven Gould; I, Zombie, by Al Ewing.
This was probably the hardest category to judge. So many entries, so many good books. It was particularly complicated by the whole Time Machine issue – unlike film and TV books can remain ‘current’ for a long time, and, for the most part, I only put them in the Time Machine category if they’re out of print (at least in the UK, where I live) or otherwise over-looked. So new books like I, Zombie are up against classics like Hexwood. This was further complicated because I reviewed some books before I introduced the Reviewing Through the Time Machine category of posting, and, what’s more, I reviewed a whole bunch of Steven Gould books in one post, two of which are out of print where I live, but three of which aren’t. Helm and Wild Side I had to order second-hand as ex-library books from the US, whereas Jumper, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story I bought new. Give me some slack, I’d only been doing this blog 20 days by that point. Anyway, I decided to resolve this by saying that the three Steven Goulds I bought new belong in the ‘recent’ category, whilst the others will go in the Time Machine one. Once I decided this, my life became much easier.

I, Zombie was astoundingly original and tickled me, personally, but it has an odd break in the middle where it almost becomes another book and starts following a character much less appealing than the main character. Very close to winning, but not quite. Hexwood is a classic and one of my all time favourites – a got-to comfort book. It’s more cohesive than I, Zombie, and just as original, in its own way, but it’s also of a very similar mould to a lot of other Diana Wynne Jones books, with the strong female character who falls in love with a broken-yet-powerful charismatic and enigmatic man. In all honesty I would have felt I’d slighted one or the other if I’d had to choose between them. Jumper, on the other hand, is simply excellent. Tight and fast-paced, but full of interesting and engaging characters. This is the best superhero novel I’ve ever read, and much more interesting and original than most superhero plots full-stop. If only the film had been closer to the book! It’s got everything, as well as hitting some of my particular happy buttons, such as an expert handling of secret-identity angst.

The Serene Womble for Best Podcast The History of Philosophy Without any Gaps
'Philosophy' by xkcd
Eligible podcasts: The History of Philosophy Without any Gaps and Marco and the Red Granny
Only two entries in this one. I’ve mentioned more podcasts in passing, but these were the only two I reviewed. I was torn. I sort of felt like I should choose Marco and the Red Granny simply because it is an SF story, and the general purpose of this blog is to review SF/F/Spec Fic. But I also review stuff if I love it really hard, and The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps is well worth your time. Ultimately, I felt that although the ideas are bright and original, the pacing for Marco and the Red Granny was uneven and the central character a little difficult to engage with. I still think it’s a great podcast and think Hub are awesome for experimenting with the field of podcasting for longer fiction, but The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps won out. Hard to compare two podcasts of such different genres, but the latter is polished, entertaining, and informative.

Peter Adamson has a smooth and engaging podcasting voice. He’s also an expert in his field, and he brings in other experts to supplement his accounts and offer alternate view points. This podcast is pitched at just the right level – accessible for the interested layman but also informative for the experienced philosopher or historian. I’ve taught Ancient Philosophy, and I felt it really filled out my existing knowledge. This is great easy listening for the lady or gent on the go, looking for a bit of ear candy on the way to work, or down the allotment. You’ll drift in and out of an ancient world, feeling soothed and entertained, and you’ll actually come away having learnt something, as well. Of course, it’s not the same as reading the texts themselves, but I’m sure you’re all aware that there are more books worthy of your attention than anyone could read in lifetime. Let Peter Adamson do some of the work for you.

The Time Traveling Wombles

The Time Traveling Womble for Best Film Mr Smith Goes to Washington
(Embedding has been disabled for this clip, but you can go watch it here. Please note that this is the climax of the film, and as such both very famous and spoilerific. It contains nothing I didn’t know before watching the film for the first time, but if you want to avoid spoilers this is the clip I linked to in my original review.)

Eligible Films: Silent Running, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Bell, Book, and Candle
In a year when politics and big business has been prominently in the news, where a lot of people have felt the rich have been squeezing the poor, where democracy has sprung from revolution and here in the UK we debated and voted on voting reform, Mr Smith Goes to Washington held a particular relevance. 1939 to 2011, the issues are still the same. I was watching it in my bedroom with tears rolling down my face. I’d seen it before and known the plot long before I saw it, but it didn’t matter. ‘Filibuster’ is nearly synonymous with the above scene, to me. Maybe it doesn’t have quite the same familiarity with non-US audiences – I have a slight trans-Atlantic background, and it can make it difficult for me to judge these things – but people everywhere should watch this film. If they remade it now, it wouldn’t be as good, but if they released it now, it would still be relevant. Sometimes a classic seems ponderous and clichéd when viewed through modern eyes, but this one isn’t weighed down with its worthiness. It’s funny and moving and electrifying. It’s also quietly feminist in a way a few modern films could learn from. Clarissa Saunders is an icon to be envied – probably the brightest, most savvy person in Washington, embittered by politics, but still willing to hope when prodded by Mr Smith’s naïve enthusiasm. And this is 1939, folks!

Make time for this film. If there’s only one film I recommend that you go and watch, make it this one. It will reward you.

The Time Traveling Womble for Best Actor James Stewart
James StewartEligible actors: again, too many. Anyone who acted in any of the productions I reviewed through my time machine. Jean Arthur and Lee Pace are honourable mentions, as are Kristin Chenoweth and Kim Novak, but there was really no contest. When Jimmy Stewart brings his game to town he’s incandescent, and there’s no denying that he’s on fire in Mr Smith Goes to Washington. And I’m not just talking about the filibuster scenes where he’s all sweaty and hoarse, for which he supposedly swabbed his throat with mercury. I’m talking about the quiet naïvety and straight played simplicity that makes his earlier scenes a delight as well. Well done, Jimmy. Not that you need praise from the likes of me to go with your Oscars and 80 odd years of critical acclaim. I hope that we’re still singing your praises long after I’m gone, too. A stunning performance, simply stunning. Can’t think of when I last went to the cinema and saw a performance like that.

The Time Traveling Womble for Best TV Show Pushing Daisies
Ned and Chuck - Pushing DaisiesEligible TV Shows: Pushing Daisies
OK, so it was the only one in its category, but it still would have won. I did have plans to review other TV Shows, but time got away from me. My description from the review is still true: ‘The most beautiful, funny, poignant, stylish, and original television show ever to get axed.’ I still ache inside over the fact that there were only two seasons, and both were only half as long as a proper season, due to the writers’ strike and the cancellation. If I had one credit to spend on giving one cancelled TV Show the time it deserved… well, I don’t know, it would be a very tough competition between this and Firefly. It’s that level of originality and quality. If you haven’t seen it, do so, now!

(Incidentally, Brian Fuller is still my top choice to make a Chrestomanci TV series. Lee Pace would make an ace Chrestomanci/Christopher Chant. Just think about it – a quirky show with magic and style, Lee Pace in exquisitely cut formal wear. Brian Fuller, hear my prayer…)

The Time Traveling Womble for Best Novel The Wolf Within
The Wolf Within, cover Eligible novels: Helm, by Steven Gould; Wild Side by Steven Gould; The Silver City, by Pamela Belle; The Wolf Within, by Pamela Belle.
One of my favourite novels. This book is just awesome for the secret identity angst, pushing all my buttons. It just goes to show that it isn’t always a mistake to jump into the middle of a trilogy. This is the second book of the Silver City trilogy, but, although I enjoyed the first book, the second is a tighter, more swiftly paced, more deeply characterised novel. The first couple of chapters are a little awkward, but once it gets going this is a book that grabs you and won’t let go. Credit should also be given for the range of different cultures, mix of races, and positive depictions of women and gay characters. In all cases the characters are fully rounded and not simply there to make for diversity. If only there were more books like this.

And last, but by no means least:

The People’s Choice Award Torchwood: Miracle Day
Torchwood: Mircale DayPerhaps the most arbitrary of all the awards, this is the one you voted for with your feet. The selection for this award is based solely on the review post with the single largest number of hits. Until a few days ago it was Doctor Who, ‘A Good Man Goes to War’. I assumed it still would be until I checked just now. That post is still the one with the largest number of hits in a single day (210), but Torchwood: Miracle Day, has hedged into the lead with (at time of posting) 446 hits to 434.

What does this signify? Who knows. Attention could mean love or hate, although I imagine I would have received more trolling if it were hate. Would the number of hits for all my ADwD posts add up to more if I put them together? Maybe, but let’s not forget that this was just the first post out of several for Torchwood as well, and I’m not sure it would be right to pit multiple posts against single reviews. You might suppose that this is also unfair on my more recent posts, having had more time to garner hits, but given that this beats my most popular Misfits post from last autumn by 162, I think it legitimately says something regarding what you guys enjoyed reading about.

Thanks again for staying with me through the year and helping me build this blog into something worth both my while and yours. It’s been fun!

*I use ‘womble’ here in the sense that derives from gaming speak, i.e. a combat womble is a character maxed for combat skills – they might have strength, dexterity, and constitution at 18, but wisdom and intelligence scores of 6. I therefore figure that someone who had maxed for happiness would be a serenity womble. No copyright infringement is intended for The Wombles, which are cute, rubbish collecting rodents.

Year End Review, Part 2: More Music, Awesome Opening Sequences, and Podcasts

So where was I? Oh yes: lots of music. After my initial splurge, I sort of had the But-They’re-Only-69p Bug, and I recalled some other tracks I had fallen in love with more recently. In particular, the phenomenal ‘Bad Things’, which, of course, I came to know through True Blood. WOW, that’s a good show. Or at least, the first season was – ground-breaking, sensual, violent, challenging. And that opening sequence deserves to go down as one of the all time best composed sequences in the halls of Media Artwork. That and the opening sequence of Dexter – as a vegetarian, I have never wanted to eat meat both more and less.

So I bought ‘Bad Things’ – an unutterably sexy song, not least because it wants to do bad things with me, not merely to me. Also, because I had been watching a phenomenal amount of Smallville, I’d been put in mind of the heart-wrenchingly beautiful ‘Superman’s Song‘, by Crash Test Dummies. I first heard that song whilst watching Due South, where it was achingly appropriate. Of course, the gut-wrenching thing about that song is that it laments: ‘sometimes I despair the world will never see/Another man like him’, when, in fact, we never have. (Unless, of course, you believe that Superman is a Dick ;-p) It was very well-placed in a show centred around a Canadian Mountie who really was too good, too polite and pleasant for real life.

So I downloaded that as well, along with the Johnny Cash version of ‘Hurt‘, because, you know, I’m so cheery. And when I wasn’t studying or working or watching Smallville, I was playing endless games of a Settlers of Catan-alike computer game with these songs (and those mentioned in the other post) on loop bemoaning the imperfect world we live in.

This is one part of the Audio Theme that was this year. The other part, of course, is podcasts. I hadn’t experienced them, before. Being a depressive type, I’m pretty much always listening to something whenever I go outside by myself so as to keep the Bad Thoughts at bay. But until this year it was all Radio 4 or radio dramas (ahem: Nebulous) or any sort of audio lecture I could get my hands on. But then something happened: I got an allotment.

Not seeing the connection? Well, For a few years I have been vainly trying to grow things in a series of poorly situated backyards. I have consequently discovered a surprising interest in Gardener’s Question Time. But then, this spring, I got my long-awaited allotment. I was thrilled and daunted… and also aware that I wanted to listen to Gardener’s Question Time whilst gardening, but the two didn’t always coincide, and I didn’t want to disturb neighbouring allotmenteers, nor lug my radio all the way out to said allotment. I discovered that I could download it as a podcast. AWESOMESAUCE. This also opened me to the world of the Friday Night Comedy Podcast, and other such things.

I also occasionally downloaded some Escape Pod, Pod Castle, and the like, but failed to become an addict. I like the odd story, but you can’t like them all, and I tend to prefer to download things that I know will last me for my journey. I feel like I should download more from them – hey, it’s free SF&F! – and yet I don’t.

It wasn’t until the autumn that my podcast addiction really started to flourish. I’ve been a Hub reader for ages (yeah, OK, the Hub crew are drinking/writing group buddies of mine, but they also put out good stuff), so I was psyched when they launched their first podcast – a novel by Mur Lafferty in 7 parts. Naturally, I downloaded and listened to it. I discovered that I liked the first part, and was pleased by the fact that I now had a new podcast I knew I could listen to of dependable quality. Plus, it opened me up to Mur’s I Should Be Writing, which has proved even more invaluable in providing me with podcast-fodder that is Relevant To My Interests.

It was also in the autumn that I went to Fantasy Con, met some cool people, and soon afterwards, started this blog, but perhaps that’s for another post…

Marco and the Red Granny, Part 5

There’s something exciting about trying to download a podcast and finding that it’s been so popular that the site it’s hosted on has crashed. A bit frustrating, but exciting, too.

That’s part of the reason this review is so late. The other part (as you’ll probably know if you’re following me on Twitter) is that life is just BUSY at the moment. I know I’ve been ‘reviewing’ other things, but, let’s face it, drunkenly undead-blogging Misfits isn’t quite the same.

Anyway, on to the review.

The plot definitely moves on in this episode. We finally meet the elusive Penelope, Marco’s ex-girlfriend, and we get some answers about the ‘Alcoholics’ Guild’, which has been floating in the background. After the invasive ’emotion mapping’ procedure Marco endured in the previous episode, Our Hero has some doubts about signing with the Li-Jun, but ultimately caves on being told that it won’t happen again, and he might be able to finagle some more money. But life as a pet writer seems somewhat bland, and Marco misses drinking. The Li-Jun frown on drinking, and the question as to why has been hovering around behind the rest of the action in the earlier episodes. Marco reasons that he hasn’t been expressly forbidden, though, and decides to wander out in search of booze. He finds it. Along with the Alcoholics’ Guild and his ex-girlfriend, who turns out to be a member. From there he learns that there are only two ways out of patronage: alcoholism, or The Most Dangerous Game.

OK, so that’s the plot, but what’s going on in this episode? One thing is that we get a lot more interest out of the whole emotion mapping thing. I can’t believe I missed it before, but even without the interesting intro and outro on the subject from Al Stuart, this ep does a lot to bring it to the for. Of course the emotion mapping is a metaphor for artistic endeavour in general. We draw on our most painful experiences, we bleed them onto the page, and then we try to flog them. There’s definitely some truth to this, but it’s a pretty bleak picture. It’s clear that we’re not meant to think emotion-mapping and the Li-Jun patronage system is a great pathway for art to go down, but it’s not clear what the alternative is. The Alcoholics’ Guild?

I’m puzzled by what’s going on with the Alcoholics’ Guild, here. They started out as witty background fodder – ‘Lol! In the future there’s a guild for alcoholics!’. I quite like that they’ve been developed into something more, but I’m a bit puzzled as to what that is. The relationship between alcoholism (or drug abuse of other kinds) and creative types has a history that’s both romanticised and over-criticised. Most creatives are not abusers alcohol, but it’s undeniable that some of the greatest have been. I’m wondering where the author is going with this. Is Marco there to find a ‘Third Way’? Or is he going to blow this whole set-up wide open, exposing both the austerity and exploitation of the Li-Jun and the symbiotic relationship one extreme has with the other – encouraging the reaction from the Alcoholics’ Guild.

And there are other questions floating around, too. All along I’ve been wondering if the real reason House Blue have been interested in Marco is his angst over the break up with Penelope – are they engineering situations to arouse further strong emotions in him, before pushing him into The Most Dangerous Game? And you have to wonder about the latter – after all, in the background is always the thought: What does the Red Granny have to do with all of this?

So: this episode leave me with a lot of questions. The plot has thickened and so have the themes. Good. This soup is almost ready. All that’s left is to taste: I want to see how this baby ends!

If you’ve not seen it yet, the latest episode is available here. Hub also has all the previous eps available if you want to back track. And remember, this stuff is free to you (and me!), but not to them – if you like it, and can afford to, there’s a tip pot for the lovely people at Hub, as well as the author.

Like Podcasts? Like Philosophy? Like History?

Then I think I know something you might enjoy! The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps.

'Philosophy' by xkcd

'Philosophy' from xkcd

Following my recent posts endorsing some SpecFic podcasts I’ve gotten into recently, someone asked whether there are any philosophy podcasts I listen to and could recommend. Until recently, the answer would have simply been ‘No’. That might seem odd. In my other life, philosophy is what I do, so why wouldn’t I want to listen to podcasts of philosophy? The easy answer is a familiar one: it’s easy to make a podcast, but not all podcasts are worth listening too. And whilst it would be easy for me to get on the old hobby-horse about ‘real’ philosophy being a lot more rigorous than most people realise, that’s not the real reason. There are real philosophers doing real podcasts. I’m told Daniel Dennett has one, but a casual Google couldn’t find it. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, Dennett is a tech-engaged sort of a man. Here he is on YouTube.

The real reason I don’t listen to philosophy podcasts is that, although I do have free time walking to work in the morning etc., I wouldn’t use it listening to a philosophy podcast. I love philosophy, but if I’m going to do it, I need to think about it carefully, and, for me, that requires reading. If I’m not using my walk to work to read something relevant to my thesis, or think about my thesis, it’s because I’d rather use that walk to have a break from doing philosophy*.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like to use those times to learn. I’ve learned a lot about the history of ancient Egypt whilst walking to and from work. Most of it went in one ear and out the other, but that’s OK, I’m not a historian. What I do remember is pretty cool. Moreover, there is more philosophy out there than any person could become familiar with in one lifetime, and I’m very conscious of the gaps in my knowledge. I’m familiar with stuff that is relevant to my interests, stuff I learnt as an undergrad, and stuff I’ve taught, and that’s about it. I may not have the time to do much philosophy that lies outside the scope of my research, at the moment, but I’m all for knowing a bit more of the context of the discipline that I work in. The history of philosophy. And, to be honest, as a writer I think this stuff is really important to know, too. This is our cultural heritage. These are the world views that shaped ours.

So, when I was recently given a link to Peter Adamson’s History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, I was very much interested. It’s incredibly ambitious. He’s starting with the Presocratics, and appears to have the aim of traversing the entire history of western philosophy from there on out. Frankly, I don’t know how he’s going to do it, but it should be interesting. Adamson is an expert in ancient and medieval philosophy, neither of which I know nearly enough about, and, judging on the first few episodes, he’s an engaging speaker. Any philosopher who can follow up a philosophical quote with a comment like ‘… which, I think we can all agree, is pretty cool’ [sic], is alright by me.

I have already learned things. Previously, I had ‘known’ that Thales held that everything is made of water. Now I have context for that thought, and a few more facts to help me understand that enigmatic report as something that is a trifle less absurd to the modern ear. If you’d like to know a bit more about that, and other things, I recommend you check this out, too: The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps – fun, and educational!

*I can’t stress enough that all this just relates to me and how I function/the current presses on my time. It in no way indicates anything about what I think other people might enjoy with regards to podcasts and philosophy.