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Author Archives: Cat
Guest Post: Eric Schwitzgebel Gives One-Point-Five Cheers for a Hugo Award for a TV Show about Ethicists’ Moral Expertise
When The Good Place episode “The Trolley Problem” [won one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards, the Hugo, in the category of best dramatic presentation, short form, I celebrated. I celebrated not because I loved the episode (in fact, I had so far only seen a couple of The Good Place’s earlier episodes) but because, as a philosophy professor aiming to build bridges between academic philosophy and popular science fiction, the awarding of a Hugo to a show starring a professor of philosophy discussing a famous philosophical problem seemed to confirm that science fiction fans see some of the same synergies I see between science fiction and philosophy.
I do think the synergies are there and that the fans see and value them – as also revealed by the enduring popularity of The Matrix, and by West World, and Her, and Black Mirror, among others – but “The Trolley Problem”, considered as a free-standing episode, fumbles the job. (Below, I will suggest a twist by which The Good Place could redeem itself in later episodes.)
Yeah, I’m going to be fussy when maybe I should just cheer and praise. And I’m going to take the episode more philosophically seriously than maybe I should, treating it as not just light humor. But taking good science fiction philosophically seriously is important to me – and that means engaging critically. So here we go.
There are so many of us who write, and so many voices that get drowned out. I want to tell you about one of them. I want to tell you about my friend K.C. Ball. She wrote short stories as … Continue reading
Friday 10-1 I will be at the Bards Tower in the Dealers Room. Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) meeting 01:00 pm Location: Marietta – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) SFWA members, come hear about all the cool stuff we’ve been … Continue reading
Look, I love to write about terrible food. Life contains so much more of it than good food, or at least my life does. (I have limited funds and poor judgement for risk.) But more than the realism, I’m drawn to bad food because it infuses a scene with context, with a messy pathos. Someone failed before this dish was even served. Continue reading
Thursday I will be at the SFWA board meeting. Huzzah! That evening I’m planning on swinging by the Chinese Science Fiction Party. Friday, August 17 8-10 am SFWA Business Meeting SJCC 210DH Light breakfast will be provided. Come hear about … Continue reading
I sat at a desk that I shared with two other people as a piece of paper was handed to me from my boss. I was nineteen years old, my boss was my dad, and the paper was an estimate … Continue reading
Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) is one of my favorite paintings. There’s something uniquely inspirational in the drama and mystery of strangers gathered at a late-night diner. I also like it because it’s stylistically uncluttered, focused, and full of Mad Men era nostalgia. Recently, I had to pick up some friends from the airport at 5:30 am. Because I like to be painfully early, whether to catch a flight, or to pick people up, I left at 3:00 am. Naturally, I had some time to kill, so I dropped into a nearby Waffle House to see what it might have been like to be one of Hopper’s nighthawks. And also for breakfast.
After a few minutes on the interstate, I took an offramp and made a right turn onto an empty road. The darkness was occasionally punctuated by hotel marquees, stop lights, and an unmistakeable bright, yellow-blocked Waffle House sign. I pulled into the empty parking lot and backed my Jetta under the amber glow of the lone street lamp. At least someone might see me if I got mugged.
Through the windows, I saw a man behind the bar, most likely the cook, and a young lady seated at the end of the counter reading a book. Great, I wasn’t the only nighthawk. And someone should definitely see if I get mugged. I grabbed my trusty notebook from my book-bag and headed in.
Here’s what many of you have been waiting for! The list of classes coming up for the Rambo Academy. I’ll be updating the website over the next couple days but for right now, this is the official, correct, list. Please … Continue reading
Here’s my schedule for GenCon this year. Come say hi if you’re there too! Thursday 12:00 PM Ballrooms 3-4 Creatures Great and Small: A Speculative Bestiary 3:00 PM Atlanta Space Opera: SF, Fantasy, Romance? 4:00 PM Atlanta Using the Scientific … Continue reading
The question of hiring an editor often comes up in my classes, and since editor for hire is one of the hats I wear, I wanted to provide some overview. There are different kinds of edits. I’m focusing on two: the developmental edit versus the copy edit. You might also hire someone to proofread, where they are simply looking for mistakes and errors, rather than making any editorial suggestions.