American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 131.3: Change from Within or From Without (Our Friends from Frolix 8, Part 3)

In part 3 of my review of "Our Friends from Frolix 8" we see the nature of the friendship offered by aliens and need to wonder what is the best path to institutional change: reform from within, movements from the outside, or help from foreign powers.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 131.2: A Movement Culture of Resistance or Drug Dealing (Our Friends from Frolix 8)

In part two of my review of OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, we get a closer look at the movement culture that emerged to resist the posthumans in power, consider how much it resembles drug dealing, and continue to enjoy watching the back and forth between the New Men and Unusuals, the two varieties of posthumans.

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Episode 292: Jefferson and the Party System (Public Papers 1791-1826)

In this episode I look at the public papers Jefferson produced while Secretary of State, when he developed his opposition to Hamilton's policies. I also glance at his plans for the University of Virginia and his opposition to the import duty on books.

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Episode 291: Jefferson the Legislator (TJ’s Public Papers 1775-1790)

In this episode I look at Thomas Jefferson's public papers from the time before he became Secretary of State, when he was mostly working in Virginia politics. Of special interest is his draft for a Virginia Constitution and his laws on education, crime, and religion.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 131.1: The Posthuman Meritocracy (Our Friends from Frolix 8)

In part one of my review of OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, I examine how meritocracy and posthumanism leads to a pretty interesting dystopia.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 130.4: A Maze of Death, Part 4

The finale of my look at Philip K. Dick's A MAZE OF DEATH. Tell me, is this book the antithesis of GALACTIC POT-HEALER?

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Episode 290: Thomas Jefferson, “Notes on the State of Virginia” (Part 2)

The conclusion to my brief series on Jefferson's important text "Notes on the State of Virginia". In this episode we take a look at Jefferson's views on race, immigration, land rights, and industry.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 130.3: A Maze of Death, Part 3

During a quest to find out where they are, the unfortunate pioneers on Delmak-O begin to learn that their subjectivities are coming true. The results are murderous. Learn about this and more in part 3 of my review of Philip K. Dick's "A Maze of Death."

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Episode 289: Thomas Jefferson: “Summary of the Rights of British America”/”Notes on the State of Virginia” (Part 1)

In this episode, I look at "Summary of the Rights of British America" by Thomas Jefferson. I also jump into the first half of "Notes on the State of Virginia". So let's begin exploring his political ideas as well as what his thoughts on science, nature, the "Columbian Exchange" and Native Americans.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 130.2: A Maze of Death, Part 2

Part two of my thoughts on "A Maze of Death" by Philip K. Dick. Things start to get dark quickly.

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Episode 288: Thomas Jefferson, “Autobiography”

The autobiography of Thomas Jefferson was written in 1821 and covers his life from the 1760s to his return from Paris. It has some interesting things to say about his views of slavery, the French Revolution, and the writing of the "Declaration of Independence". We kick off a new series on American political writing with this interesting, if unessential work.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 130.1: A Maze of Death

Now for the antithesis to "Galactic Pot-Healer". "A Maze of Death" by Philip K. Dick asks some of the same questions as GPH but comes to very different and bleaker answers. What to make of this?

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 129: The Electric Ant

In Philip K. Dick's final story from the 1960s, "The Electric Ant" we get a mixture of reality bending metaphysics and android anxt.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 128.4: Galactic Pot-Healer, 4

The conclusion of my thoughts on Philip K. Dick's greatest novel "Galactic Pot-Healer". We are coming to the end of this very long series on Dick's publications of the 1960s. Excited to move into the 1970s with "Maze of Death", the antithesis novel of GPH.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 128.3: Galactic Pot-Healer, 3

This podcast is the third in my series on "Galactic Pot-Healer" by Philip K. Dick. In this part of the novel, we explore the theme of entropy. What does it have to do with meaningful work?

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 128.2: Galactic Pot-Healer, 2

Part 2 of my review of my favorite Philip K. Dick novel "Galactic Pot-healer". Joe Fernwright is guided by the Glimmung to a new life with an actual purpose.

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Episode 287: Herman Melville: Billy Budd

We get to the end of Herman Melville's prose writing with our look at "Billy Budd", published in 1924. It is a great little novel on power, the law, and duty.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 128.1: Galactic Pot-Healer

Let's raise Heldscalla! "Galactic Pot-Healer" is my favorite Philip K. Dick novel. Let me tell you why.

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Episode 286: Herman Melville: The Confidence Man, Part 2

Part two of my review of "The Confidence Man" by Herman Melville. Maybe we will get the final answer to the age old question: should you trust your neighbor?

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Episode 285: Herman Melville: The Confidence Man, Part 1

Part one of Herman Melville's exploration of America's market economy, "The Confidence Man." Can the economy work without confidence and charity? We will explore these and other questions in this review.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 127.4: Ubik, Part 4

The quite bleak finale of "Ubik" by Philip K. Dick. It is not entirely clear what is going on as this novel closes. You will either love it or hate it, but in my view it does not ruin a fascinating novel.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 127.3: Ubik, Part 3

Joe Chip, our story's hero, tries to make sense of a world in which everything decays and even technologies revert to earlier forms, in part three of our look a Philip K. Dick's "Ubik". Maybe the secret is that everyone is dead.

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Episode 284: Herman Melville: Assorted Short Fiction

We finish up looking at Herman Melville's short fiction in this episode. Some great tales about class, family, and technology. These may not all be known as Melville's greatest works of short fiction, but they are mostly all entertaining and rich in meaning.

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Episode 283: Herman Melville: Essays and Early Short Fiction

In this episode, I look at an assortment of Herman Melville's assorted short prose: some book reviews and short stories. Part one of a two part series on these uncollected works.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 127.2: Ubik, Part 2

This is part two of my review of "Ubik" by Philip K. Dick. With an android bomb, the posthuman industrial spying plot winds down as we find our characters in a world of decay and entropy. We will struggle with them to find out footing.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 127.1: Ubik, Part 1

The first part of my review of Philip K. Dick's "Ubik". This novel would have been great it if was just about industrial espionage and post-humanism, which is what we think we are getting in the beginning of the story.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 126: Not By Its Cover

"Not By Its Cover" by Philip K. Dick looks at religious texts, preservation, reproduction and authenticity. It is a nice story that is firmly in Dick's period of religious speculation, but it may be more significant for what it says about knowledge preservation in a digital age.

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Episode 282: Herman Melville: The Piazza Tales (The Lightening-Road Man, The Encantadas, The Bell-Tower)

This episode is the second in my review of Herman Melville's "The Piazza Tales". Two of these stories are quite strange, but "The Encantadas" is a brilliant quasi-historical account of the changing Pacific. Read it!

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 125.5; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Part 5

Poor Deckard. Doomed to be kipple, but maybe he can find some meaning in an electronic frog. Let's read the final chapters of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and move onto a book with a much shorter title.

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Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 125.4; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Part 4

We reach the climax of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?". How will Deckard do his job when he realizes that he has developed empathy for androids?

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