Sunday, March 04, 2007

Paul Levinson is chair of the Department of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University, as well as being an award-winning science fiction author. So his time-travel novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, is both fun to read and educational!

The twists and turns of the time-travel plot keep the reader delightfully off-balance, right up to the singularly touching ending. Short notes at the end clear up any questions you have about which characters from Socrates' time (and, sometimes, later) actually existed.

Socrates was in a way the granddaddy of us all. He was eventually condemned to death for "corrupting the youth of Athens" by encouraging them to think skeptically, including questions about the gods, and the existing structure of authority. Who was Alcibiades? Why did Socrates refuse a chance to escape? Levinson offers interesting insights on these questions, and makes you want to read more.

The novel even mentions Hypatia, one of the women in my growing photo gallery of women in free thought. If you've ever heard of Lake Hypatia, where the Freedom From Religion Foundation organizes an annual gathering, now you know how the lake got its name.


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3:35 PM  

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