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Discworld and Philosophy

Author: Nicolas Michaud
Publisher: Open Court
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In Discworld, unlike our own frustrating Roundworld, everything makes sense. The world is held up by elephants standing on the back of a swimming turtle who knows where he’s going, the sun goes round the world every day, so it doesn’t have to be very hot, and things always happen because someone intends them to happen. Millions of fans are addicted to Pratchett’s Discworld, and the interest has only intensified since Pratchett’s recent death and the release of his final Discworld novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, in September 2015. The philosophical riches of Discworld are inexhaustible, yet the brave explorers of Discworld and Philosophy cover a lot of ground. From discussion of Moist von Lipwig’s con artistry showing the essential con of the financial system, to the examination of everyone’s favorite Discworld character, the murderous luggage, to the lawless Mac Nac Feegles and what they tell us about civil government, to the character Death as he appears in several Discworld novels, Discworld and Philosophy gives us an in-depth treatment of Pratchett’s magical universe. Other chapters look at the power of Discworld’s witches, the moral viewpoint of the golems, how William de Worde’s newspaper illuminates the issue of censorship, how fate and luck interact to shape our lives, and why the more simple and straightforward Discworld characters are so much better at seeing the truth than those with enormous intellects but little common sense.


The Man in the High Castle and Philosophy

Author: Bruce Krajewski
Publisher: Open Court Publishing
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The Man in the High Castle is an Amazon TV show, based on the Philip K. Dick novel, about an “alternate present” (beginning in the 1960s) in which Germany and Japan won World War II, with the former Western US occupied by Japan, the former Eastern US occupied by Nazi Germany, and a small “neutral zone” between them. A theme of the story is that in this alternative world there is eager speculation, fueled by the illicit newsreel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, about how the world would have been different if America had won the war. In The Man in the High Castle and Philosophy, twenty-two professional thinkers look at philosophical issues raised by this ongoing enterprise in “alternative history.” One question is whether it really made a profound difference that the Allies won the war, and exactly what differences in everyday life we may expect to arise from an apparent historical turning point. Could it be that some dramatic historical events have only superficial consequences, while some unnoticed occurrences lead to catastrophic results? Another topic is the quest for truth in a world of government misinformation, and how dissenting organizations can make headway.


Discworld and the Disciplines

Author: Anne Hiebert Alton
Publisher: McFarland
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This collection of new essays applies a wide range of critical frameworks to the analysis of prolific fantasy author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Essays focus on topics such as Pratchett’s treatment of noise and silence and their political implications; art as an anodyne for racial conflict; humor and cognitive debugging; visual semiotics; linguistic stylistics and readers’ perspectives of word choice; and Derrida and the “monstrous Regiment of Women.” The volume also includes an annotated bibliography of critical sources. The essays provide fresh perspectives on Pratchett’s work, which has stealthily redefined both fantasy and humor for modern audiences.


An Unofficial Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett

Author: Andrew M. Butler
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
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In terms of worldwide sales (around 25 million copies to date, and no signs of stopping), Terry Pratchett is one of the leading writers in English. He is also a writer of complexity and allusiveness, whose rich work raises important issues about the real world within a fantasy/comic environment. This encyclopedia mixes shorter entries conveying specific information for foraging readers with longer, more discursive articles for readers wanting more reflective engagement with Pratchett's novels. Entries on novels and characters not only highlight Pratchett's celebrated inventiveness but also analyse the underlying meanings. Entries on 'Fantasy', 'Science Fiction', 'Fairy Tales' and related topics situate the novels within literary genres, and other articles discuss the scientific, social and philosophical idea underpinning Pratchett's playful but sophisticated narratives. Associates and collaborators, such as Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman and Ian Stewart, feature in articles discussing contemporary influences, and plentiful information about the fascinating peripheral detail of audio editions, radio broadcasts, TV adaptations and film scripts enhance the fun. A Companion to the Novels of Terry Pratchett is essential reading for fans who want to unpick the allusions and appreciate the rich complexity of one of the great bodies of contemporary popular literature.


The Science Of Discworld II

Author: Ian Stewart
Publisher: Random House
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The acclaimed Science of Discworld centred around an original Pratchett story about the Wizards of Discworld. In it they accidentally witnessed the creation and evolution of our universe, a plot which was interleaved with a Cohen & Stewart non-fiction narrative about Big Science. In The Science of Discworld II our authors join forces again to see just what happens when the wizards meddle with history in a battle against the elves for the future of humanity on Earth. London is replaced by a dozy Neanderthal village. The Renaissance is given a push. The role of fat women in art is developed. And one very famous playwright gets born and writes The Play. Weaving together a fast-paced Discworld novelette with cutting-edge scientific commentary on the evolution and development of the human mind, culture, language, art, and science, this is a book in which 'the hard science is as gripping as the fiction'. (The Times)


The Science Of Discworld

Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Random House
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The fantastic first book in the Sunday Times bestselling Science of Discworld series When a wizardly experiment goes adrift, the wizards of Unseen University find themselves with a pocket universe on their hands: Roundworld, where neither magic nor common sense seems to stand a chance against logic. The Universe, of course, is our own. And Roundworld is Earth. As the wizards watch their accidental creation grow, we follow the story of our universe from the primal singularity of the Big Bang to the internet and beyond. Through this original Terry Pratchett story (with intervening chapters from Cohen and Stewart) we discover how puny and insignificant individual lives are against a cosmic backdrop of creation and disaster. Yet, paradoxically, we see how the richness of a universe based on rules, has led to a complex world and at least one species that tried to get a grip of what was going on. Terry Pratchett is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. Raising Steam is his fortieth Discworld novel. His books have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. After falling out with his keyboard he now talks to his computer. Occasionally, these days, it answers back. www.terrypratchett.co.uk @terryandrob Professor Ian Stewart is the author of many popular science books. He is the mathematics consultant for New Scientist and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize for furthering the public understanding of science, and in 2001 became a Fellow of the Royal Society. Dr Jack Cohen is an internationally-known reproductive biologist, and lives in Newent, Gloucestershire. Jack has a laboratory in his kitchen, helps couples get pregnant by referring them to colleagues, invents biologically realistic aliens for science fiction writers and, in his spare time, throws boomerangs. Jack, who has more letters to his name than can be repeated here, writes, lectures, talks and campaigns to promote public awareness of science, particularly biology. He is mostly retired.


Neil Gaiman and Philosophy

Author: Tracy L. Bealer
Publisher: Open Court
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Neil Gaiman is the imaginative wizard behind the best-selling novels American Gods (soon to be an HBO series) and The Anansi Boys, the graphic series The Sandman, and popular children’s books like Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman and Philosophy looks at Gaiman’s work through a philosophical lens. How does fantasy interact with reality and what can each tell us about the other? Do we each have other selves who embody different personal qualities? If the unknown influences the known, is the unknown just as real as the known? What makes people truly valuable? In Neil Gaiman and Philosophy, eighteen philosophers explore Gaiman’s best-loved and unforgettable worlds: The Graveyard Book, a macabre parallel to The Jungle Book, in which the boy Bod is raised by the supernatural inhabitants of a graveyard. Coraline, in which a girl neglected by her parents finds another world with an Other Mother who pays her a lot of attention, but then turns out to be evil and won’t let her go. Neverwhere, in which a London man discovers a magical parallel city, London Below. The Sandman, best-selling comic books in which the Lord of Dreams attempts to rebuild his kingdom after years of imprisonment. Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) treats biblical prophecy, the Antichrist, and the End Times as a hilarious comic tale, filled with sly but good-humored twists and turns. MirrorMask, where a young circus girl finds that the pictures she has drawn have given her access to a fantastic world of light and shadow, populated with characters who have designs on her.


Doctor Who and Philosophy

Author: Courtland Lewis
Publisher: Open Court
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Not only is Doctor Who the longest-running science fiction TV show in history, but it has also been translated into numerous languages, broadcast around the world, and referred to as the “way of the future” by some British politicians. The Classic Doctor Who series built up a loyal American cult following, with regular conventions and other activities. The new series, relaunched in 2005, has emerged from culthood into mass awareness, with a steadily growing viewership and major sales of DVDs. The current series, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is breaking all earlier records, in both the UK and the US. Doctor Who is a continuing story about the adventures of a mysterious alien known as “the Doctor,” a traveller of both time and space whose spacecraft is the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), which from the outside looks like a British police telephone box of the 1950s. The TARDIS is “bigger on the inside than on the outside”—actually the interior is immense. The Doctor looks human, but has two hearts, and a knowledge of all languages in the universe. Periodically, when the show changes the leading actor, the Doctor “regenerates.”


The Science of Discworld IV

Author: Ian Stewart
Publisher: Random House
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The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS, Terry Pratchett’s brilliant new Discworld story Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy. Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job – and indeed the truth of words – very seriously. She doesn’t know it, but her world and ours – Roundworld – is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing... The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil). After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards’ god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion. As the finest legal brains in Discworld (a zombie and a priest) gird their loins to do battle – and when the Great Big Thing in the High Energy Magic Laboratory is switched on – Marjorie Daw finds herself thrown across the multiverse and right in the middle of the whole explosive affair. As God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else is investigated by the trio, you can expect world-bearing elephants, quantum gravity in the Escher-verse, evolutionary design, eternal inflation, dark matter, disbelief systems – and an in-depth study of how to invent a better mousetrap.


The Science of Discworld

Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Random House
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Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job - and indeed the truth of words - very seriously. She doesn't know it, but her world and ours - Roundworld - is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing. The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil).