Author Archives: Mark R. Kelly

Intuitive Theories about Intuitive Theories

I’m about to read a book (by Andrew Shutlman) about “intuitive theories” and before I do I’m going to write down my take on intuitive theories, since the idea of them has been an occasional theme in these posts, and … Continue reading

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What’s at Stake? Hal Clement’s NEEDLE

Needle (Astounding Science Fiction, May-June 1959; expanded to book form: Doubleday, 222 pages, $2.50 in hardcover, 1950) by Hal Clement Hal Clement (legal name Harry Stubbs) was one of the stable of science fiction writers developed by John W. Campbell … Continue reading

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Things Are As They Are: George R. Stewart’s EARTH ABIDES

Here is one of the best science fiction novels of all time. It’s about the entire world, and implicitly the entire human race, and it’s as timely as ever as, for one reason or another, humanity faces the realization that … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Secrets of Success, the 2010s, Gibson’s future, History v. Narratives

Here are a few items from recent papers. 1) Nicholas Kristof: The Four Secrets of Success. Which are: 1. Take a class in economics and in statistics 2. Connect to a cause larger than yourself. 3. Make out. 4. Escape … Continue reading

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Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

From the book Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays (Tachyon, November 2019), a selection of posts from the blog of Peter Watts, which has been running since 2007. Watts is the noted author of high … Continue reading

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Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction

This is a fascinating book because it describes how there really is some rationale (if not reason or logic) to the stories in the Bible. It’s a set of answers to the general question, a sort of meta-question that one … Continue reading

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Stephen King, THE INSTITUTE (2019)

This is a solid contemporary thriller with SF (or perhaps fantasy) elements. As I’ve said before I like Stephen King but read only about his every third or fourth book, just the ones that seem to have some, to me, … Continue reading

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Isaac Asimov: THE EARLY ASIMOV (1972)

This is a book I’d never read before, and debated recently about whether to ever read it. On the one hand, life is too short to read every book one might have accumulated, and this book consists, frankly, of all … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sustainability and Rural Living

Problem? Or solution? Sarah Smarsh: Something Special Is Happening in Rural America. Subtitle: There is a “brain gain” afoot that suggests a national homecoming to less bustling spaces. Writing from Wichita The nation’s most populous cities, the bicoastal pillars of … Continue reading

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Robert A. Heinlein: SIXTH COLUMN (1941/1949)

This was the earliest novel-length work by Heinlein, though it was serialized in Astounding magazine (Jan, Feb, and March 1941) and not published in book form until 1949, by which time two or three other Heinlein novels had been published … Continue reading

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