For those who like their philosophy with a twist, Ö la The Tao of Pooh, an intriguing though sometimes too constricted elucidation of some of Star Trek's deeper meanings. Perhaps because it is such a pop-culture icon, Star Trek (the original TV show, the sequels, the movies) has attracted legions of interpretations about everything from its deeper meanings to the reality (or lack thereof) of its science. Now Hanley, a philosopher at Central Michigan University, boldly and entertainingly goes where no philosopher has gone before. Though the show frequently grapples in its playful, inconsistent way with issues such as the fixity of identity, the limits of personhood, and the nature of time, Hanley is primarily concerned with employing it to illustrate his own theories on these topics. Using the Android Data, for example, as well as holograms and exocomps that appear in various episodes, he argues that ``the fairest test to determine whether or not an individual qualifies for personhood does not depend on its ability to pass for a human being.'' However, as a disciple of the analytic school of philosophy, Hanley isn't particularly interested in the really big questions (Why are we all here? What does it all mean?), questions Star Trek also tends to shun. He believes, instead, in a more narrowly focused approach that is ``continuous with the natural sciences.'' This leads to a certain aridity, a relentless reliance on logic that seems finally not only limiting but ultimately unconvincing. Like many philosophers, he is better at attacking those he disagrees with (he's particularly good at pointing out the show's philosophical contradictions) than building wholly credible positions of his own. Still, his ideas are spirited and provocative. It's to Hanley's credit that he's been able to mine so much from what after all is just clever, light entertainment. Philosophy 101 was never this much fun.

Pub Date: July 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-465-09124-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?



An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Did you like this book?