Category Archives: Book Notes

Asimov, Six Lucky Starr novels

In the 1950s Isaac Asimov wrote six short science fiction novels for the ‘juvenile’ market, what today we would call ‘young adult.’ These were: DAVID STARR, SPACE RANGER (1952) LUCKY STARR AND THE PIRATES OF THE ASTEROIDS (1953) LUCKY STARR … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Isaac Asimov, science fiction | Leave a comment

Dawkins, THE SELFISH GENE

Opening paragraph, of a chapter called “Why are people?” Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Evolution, Science | Leave a comment

Miller, A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ

This 1959 novel is one of the most popular and celebrated science fiction novels of all time. It’s set in the years following an atomic war, it portrays religion in a relatively favorable way (in contrast to the skeptical or … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, science fiction | Leave a comment

Oliver, THE WINDS OF TIME

This science fiction novel, from 1957, is by an author known for anthropologically informed works; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad_Oliver. (The edition I read, the only edition I have, is a 1975 Avon Equinox trade paperback, one of its “SF Rediscovery” series that ran … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, science fiction | Leave a comment

Heinlein, DOUBLE STAR

This short novel is from the late 1950s, and is the first of four novels for which Heinlein won the Hugo Award. It’s short and snappy, notable in part because it’s not essentially a science fiction novel. It’s about politics … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Heinlein, science fiction | Leave a comment

Simak, CITY

Clifford D. Simak’s CITY, published in 1952 but composed of stories published in magazines from 1944 onward, is a story cycle that tells the future of humanity as it abandons cities for country estates and then moves off Earth to … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, science fiction | Leave a comment

E.O. Wilson: ON HUMAN NATURE

I first read this book shortly after its 1978 hardcover publication, and it was revelatory; elegantly written and insightful, it challenged conventional ideas about human nature, especially the one about the mind being a ‘blank slate’ completely molded by environment, … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Evolution, Religion | 1 Comment

Kinsley: OLD AGE

Michael Kinsley’s OLD AGE: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE (Crown/Tim Duggan Books 2016) is another slender book that, like part of Junger’s, was originally published as various magazine pieces. Kinsley is known for his ‘law’ — “A gaffe is when a politician … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes | Leave a comment

Junger: TRIBE

Sebastian Junger’s TRIBE: On Homecoming and Belonging (Grand Central/Twelve 2016) is one of several short, relatively ‘incidental’, books I’ve read in the past month — ‘incidental’ in that they’re mostly off-topic to my more serious themes of science, philosophy, and … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Conservative Resistance, Social Progress | Leave a comment

Lilla: THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL

THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL: After Identity Politics (Harper, 2017) is by Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia University, and is much more explicitly about politics than most books I read. (Because my concerns extend far outside the relatively narrow … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Politics | Leave a comment