The Best Dystopian Novels of 2016 and 2017

The Best Dystopian Novels of 2016 and 2017

In early 2016, I published a roundup of The 110 Best Dystopian Novels. Of course, many new dystopian novels came out during the remainder of 2016 and throughout 2017. And more will continue to do so with each passing year. So to keep my list updated over time, here are the best dystopian novels of 2016 and 2017. The final rankings are … Read more

The Best Philosophical Novels of 2017

The Best Philosophical Novels of 2017

Last year, I compiled a list of The 105 Best Philosophical Novels. Since then, many new philosophical novels have hit the shelves. More will do so with each passing year. In order to keep my list up-to-date, here is a roundup of the best philosophical novels of 2017. The final rankings are based on curated lists from Amazon, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Publishers … Read more

Our Dried Voices and Mount Kilimanjaro

On September 9, 2017, I was awakened in my tent at two o’clock in the morning. I ate a big breakfast, put on four layers of clothing and set out for the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Standing 19,341 feet above sea level, Kili is Africa’s tallest mountain and the highest free-standing peak in the world. I was accompanied by my wife, two … Read more

The Effects of Belief in Free Will with Dr. Jingguang Li

The Effects of Belief in Free Will with Dr. Jingguang Li

Dr. Jingguang Li is an Associate Professor in the College of Psychology at Dali University in Yunnan, China. His current research focuses on individual differences in self-control, impulsivity, grit and belief in free will and their relation to success and well-being. He is the co-author of two recent papers on how belief in free will affects different aspects of a … Read more

Understanding Violence

Understanding Violence

In my previous article on violence, I defined violence as actively and intentionally causing physical harm to a sentient being. But understanding violence and even having a workable definition of violent behavior raise further questions. To start, this knowledge does not tell us where violence comes from. And it doesn’t direct us on how to use our new awareness to affect … Read more

Defining Violence

Defining Violence

For the past year and a half, I have been researching and writing a novel that, in very broad terms, addresses problems of evil and violence. The story centers around a particular violent and evil* incident: a mass shooting. It aims to address not only the actual shooting, but the psychologies and motivations surrounding the attack. Thus, defining violence and … Read more

Memory and Mortality

Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away by Ben Utecht, a memoir of memory loss

A Book Review of Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away by Ben Utecht “Everybody needs his memories,” author Saul Bellow wrote in his novel Mr. Sammler’s Planet. “They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.” In truth, memories keep away the wolf of nothingness, whether in the form of oblivion or death. Memory is closely linked to … Read more

March Madness is Contagious!

Cover of Contagious by Jacqueline Druga

Druga’s Dark Horse Dethrones Dystopian Deities With a convincing victory over 1 seed Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), 24 seed Contagious (Jacqueline Druga) captured the Dystopia March Madness title on the strength of reader voting. “I credit my fan base and readers, they are by far the greatest in the world and most faithful,” Druga said of the secret to her novel’s triumph. … Read more

Dystopia March Madness

Final Four of Dystopia March Madness

Last year, I published my list of The 110 Best Dystopian Novels, based on curated lists from publications like the Huffington Post, ShortList and Wired, suggestions from readers on Goodreads and Reddit, and picks from dystopian fiction authors like Neal Shusterman, Joelle Charbonneau, David Brin and Lois Lowry. As with any list of this nature, everyone has a book they think was unfairly … Read more