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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE and HUMANITY ENHANCED.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Follow up article on Singer

I have a follow-up article on Peter Singer on the Cogito blog: "I Stand With Peter Singer". This deals with a misguided campaign for Singer's resignation or dismissal from Princeton University. More generally, it deals with illiberal attempts to punish and deter unwanted speech on issues of public importance, as opposed to meeting it with criticism.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Shakespeare, Science Fiction, and all that...

Gregory Benford has republished (with my permission) our exchange from 2000 on greatness in science fiction, what works might stand the test of time, and similar issues. As Greg notes, we are presenting the discussion as it happened, not updating our views. Still, the issues remain topical and what we wrote back then may have its ongoing merit and interest. Check it out!

Note: I wrote several media tie-in novels myself, not all that long after my contribution to this discussion was first published. As a result of that experience, I'd now be less snarky about media tie-in work. That said, I worked hard in my Terminator books in an attempt to achieve an equivalent of the movies' "knowingness and high production values". I don't always see this in media tie-in work, but I have a much better understanding of the exigencies of that kind of writing, especially of what can be involved in producing novelisations. Successful tie-in writers are highly skilled people. It remains the case that they are unlikely to produce work comparable to that of Milton, Shelley, or Shakespeare.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Monsters of Jurassic World

New post on the Cogito blog. This is also a small taste of the sort of thing that may get into the discussion in my book that I'm writing for Springer.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My work cut out for me!

The good, if slightly daunting, news today is that my proposal for a book on the tyranny of (public) opinion looks like it has been picked up by Bloomsbury's academic line. Right now, in fact, it seems that all four(!) book proposals that I've been discussing with publishers over the last year or so are going to come to fruition. Unless there's an unanticipated glitch, that means I am going to be very, very busy. Stay tuned for more on the details in forthcoming posts.

For now, here are the four books, that I have at various stages of discussion with publishers and various stages of work in progress.

1. A short monograph on fundamental moral theory for Palgrave Pivot. This is now written, but still has to go through the pipeline. It should, however, appear later this year.

2. A book on moral philosophy and science fiction - particularly about the representation of various moral themes in SF - for which I have signed a contract with Springer. This is not due with the publisher until late next year, so we're looking at a publication date no sooner than 2017.

3. An edited (with Damien Broderick) collection under discussion with Wiley-Blackwell, where the current situation is very positive. More about this another time.

4. The book mentioned above with Bloomsbury.

Again, the manuscript of the Palgrave Pivot book is already complete - so it is far ahead of the others in the process. In all cases, I am not starting entirely from scratch. Much effort has gone into each of  them already over a period of years, and fairly intensively in the past year during the development of proposals. All the same, there is much writing/editing/associated work to come.

With large projects coming to fruition here, or just getting off the ground, there will have to be some shuffling of other priorities. I have some book chapters and talks scheduled, and will go ahead with those. But for example, my pet, or boutique, project of reading much of the Hugo nominated material for 2015 - and commenting on it here - will probably be even less complete than I might have expected. I'd hoped to read all the nominees in the "Best Novel" category and to comment on them before the voting date, but that now looks unrealistic. I might have to restrict myself to discussing one or two of those books, and I may not even manage all the novellas in time to write about them before voting time.

Still, all these green lights that I seem to be getting of late add up to wonderful news for me. They are all exciting projects, and I think these books, when (all going well) they all eventually emerge, are going to constitute some of the best work I've done.