A few days ago, Matt Yglesias wrote me an email which asked a great question about American politics and the seeming movement to the left of the Democratic Party. In the wake of Bernie Sander’s landslide victory in New Hampshire over Hillary Clinton, Matt’s question seems even more pressing and interesting. With his permission, I quote it below:

What’s your theory as to how the labor-liberal forces inside the Democratic coalition seem stronger than every (Hillary is now against TPP and facing a fierce challenge from a socialist) even as actual labor unions seem weaker than ever. This is 180 degrees the opposite of the trajectory that I and everyone else were forecasting 10 years ago where either there would be a labor revival (card check, etc.) or else Dems would drift right without an anchor. [click to continue…]

Jo Walton Seminar

by Henry Farrell on February 10, 2016

Here are the posts in our seminar on Jo Walton’s books, _The Just City_ and _The Philosopher Kings_ (the third book, _Necessity_, comes out in June). This one has been fun.

If you want to link to the entire seminar, all the posts are available here.

Alternatively, here’s a list by participant (with biographies for non-Crooked Timber regulars).

The participants:

Ruthanna Emrys’s short fiction–featuring Lovecraftian social justice activists, heroic xenopsychologists, and golem librarians (not all at once)–has appeared at Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Analog. Winter Tide, her first novel, will be available from Macmillan’s Tor.com imprint in Spring 2017. She lives in a mysterious manor house on the outskirts of Washington DC with her wife and their large, strange family. She makes home-made vanilla, obsesses about game design, gives unsolicited advice, occasionally attempts to save the world, and blogs sporadically about these things at her Livejournal and Twitter. Under the Lemon Tree, Distracted by Chores.

Maria Farrell blogs at Crooked Timber. Original Sin.

Henry Farrell blogs at Crooked Timber. Gods Behaving Badly.

Sumana Harihareswara is a project management consultant and open source expert living in Queens, New York. She co-edited the 2009 speculative fiction anthology Thoughtcrime Experiments and frequently speaks and performs at WisCon and writes about tech and fiction at Geek Feminism. You can follow her on Twitter or on Identi.ca as @brainwane; her personal blog is Cogito, Ergo Sumana. Intertextuality, Feminism, and Reinforced Arguments in Thessaly

John Holbo blogs at Crooked Timber. Walton’s Republic.

Neville Morley is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Bristol and author of such significant works on classical antiquity as ‘Civil War and Succession Crisis in Roman Beekeeping’ and ‘Thucydides, History and Historicism in Wilhelm Roscher’. He blogs at The Sphinx Blog and is on Twitter at @NevilleMorley. We Philhellenists.

Ada Palmer is a historian, an author of science fiction and fantasy, and a composer. She teaches in the History Department at the University of Chicago. Her first novel, Too Like the Lightning, Book 1 of the four volume science fiction series Terra Ignota will come out in May. It’ll blow your mind (editorial interjection by HF). Plato vs. Metaphysics, or How Very Hard it Is to Un-Learn Freud.

Leah Schneibach is a staff writer for Tor.com and the Fiction Editor of No Tokens journal. Her story, “Bracelet,“ received an Honorable Mention in Lumina’s 2013 Fiction Contest, judged by George Saunders. Her fiction has been published in Lumina and Anamesa, and her criticism has appeared on Electric Literature. She is currently working on a novel about an unhealthy relationship between a teenage stand-up comedian and a depressed math teacher. Leah is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA Program in Fiction, where she worked with Brian Morton, David Hollander, and Nelly Reifler. She was also Assistant Fiction Editor for Lumina. In previous lives she has worked with the Center for Independent Publishing, Co-Directed the Education Department for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, received an M.A. in Religious Studies from NYU, and wrote serious academic papers on Harry Potter’s place in the literary canon while earning a B.A. from New College of Florida. Thinking Through Violence in The Just City and The Philosopher Kings.

Belle Waring blogs at Crooked Timber. Socrates as Mary-Sue.

Jo Walton is a fantasy and science fiction author. Her books have won the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award. Her new novel in the Thessaly sequence, _Necessity_, comes out in June. A Dialogue with a Very Odd Bibliography.

A Dialogue With a Very Odd Bibliography

by Jo Walton on February 10, 2016

I was sweeping the sand in the palaestra one morning when Sokrates came along with Apollo, deep in talk. “Ah, Crocus,” Sokrates said when he caught sight of me. “Just the person we need to add to our conversation. Ruthanna believes that leaders should have varied experience, that this would make them more excellent. What do you think?”

“Plato says in the Republic that everyone should be immersed in one thing, that people have only one excellence,” I said. “But this has always seemed strange to me. Workers, by our very nature, are intended to work. I am a philosopher, but I am also a robot, and I have robot excellence. In addition, I have long held that there are forms of art that are more akin to philosophy than to craft, though they naturally require skill in crafting. I further believe that it does no harm to engage in other tasks, such as this raking sand, which leaves the mind free to contemplate. But I had not considered that diversity of work might actually be a benefit.” [click to continue…]