The Best of All Possible Worlds

A Novel

Author: Karen Lord

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN:

Category: Fiction

Page: 320

View: 980

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BUZZFEED Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail. Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story. A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever. Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all. Praise for The Best of All Possible Worlds “An engrossing picaresque quest, a love story, and a moving character study . . . [Karen] Lord is on a par with Ursula K. Le Guin.”—The Guardian “[A] fascinating and thoughtful science fiction novel that examines] adaptation, social change, and human relationships. I’ve not read anything quite like it, which makes it that rare beast: a true original.”—Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series and The Spiritwalker Trilogy “Reads like smooth jazz comfort food, deceptively familiar and easy going down, but subtly subversive . . . [puts] me in mind of Junot Díaz’s brilliant novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”—Nalo Hopkinson, Los Angeles Review of Books “If you want to see science fiction doing something new and fascinating . . . then you shouldn’t sleep on The Best of All Possible Worlds.”—io9 “Rewarding science fiction for emotional grown-ups.”—Mysterious Galaxy “[A] marvelously formed universe.”—The A.V. Club “A rewarding, touching and often funny exploration of the forms and functions of human culture.”—SFX “The Best of All Possible Worlds . . . poses an interesting question: What parts of you do you fight to preserve when everything you know suddenly changes?”—Associated Press From the Hardcover edition.

The Bend of the World: A Novel

Author: Jacob Bacharach

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN:

Category: Fiction

Page: 320

View: 817

“Bacharach has a great comic voice— shrewd, deadpan, and dirty—and The Bend of the World fears no weirdness.”—Sam Lipsyte “Mighty strange doings” mark the Pittsburgh of Jacob Bacharach’s audacious and hilarious debut novel, a town where “yeti, UFOs, rumors of orgiastic rites, intimations of the Mayan apocalypse and ‘psycho-temporal distortions’ add that extra zing to the bustling night life” (James Wolcott). On the edge of thirty, and comfortably adrift in life, Peter Morrison finds his personal and professional life taking a turn for the weird as his attempts to transition into adulthood are thwarted by conspiracies both real and imagined. In this madcap coming-of-age novel, where no one quite comes of age, Bacharach brings an “immensely entertaining” and “Vonnegut-like sensibility” (Library Journal ) to the “aptly surreal satire” (Dan Chaon) of hipsters, corporations, and American life in the adolescent years of the twenty-first century. “A disarming, intelligent and seriously funny debut,” The Bend of the World “marks the arrival of Jacob Bacharach as a writer to watch” (Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Mathematics and Destiny

Author: Ivar Ekeland

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN:

Category: Mathematics

Page: 207

View: 471

Optimists believe this is the best of all possible worlds. And pessimists fear that might really be the case. But what is the best of all possible worlds? How do we define it? Is it the world that operates the most efficiently? Or the one in which most people are comfortable and content? Questions such as these have preoccupied philosophers and theologians for ages, but there was a time, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when scientists and mathematicians felt they could provide the answer. This book is their story. Ivar Ekeland here takes the reader on a journey through scientific attempts to envision the best of all possible worlds. He begins with the French physicist Maupertuis, whose least action principle asserted that everything in nature occurs in the way that requires the least possible action. This idea, Ekeland shows, was a pivotal breakthrough in mathematics, because it was the first expression of the concept of optimization, or the creation of systems that are the most efficient or functional. Although the least action principle was later elaborated on and overshadowed by the theories of Leonhard Euler and Gottfried Leibniz, the concept of optimization that emerged from it is an important one that touches virtually every scientific discipline today. Tracing the profound impact of optimization and the unexpected ways in which it has influenced the study of mathematics, biology, economics, and even politics, Ekeland reveals throughout how the idea of optimization has driven some of our greatest intellectual breakthroughs. The result is a dazzling display of erudition—one that will be essential reading for popular-science buffs and historians of science alike.

Texts on Texts and Textuality

A Phenomenology of Literary Art

Author: Eugene Francis Kaelin

Publisher: Rodopi

ISBN:

Category: Philosophy

Page: 230

View: 209

Texts on Texts and Textuality argues the case for an American phenomenology as applied to works of literary artworks. The argument is made by a surrounding frame (the Preface and the Afterword) that encloses ten chapters. The chapters are divided into two parts: the phenomenological theory and practical criticism. In making his case, Kaelin traces the development in the American academic tradition from the American New Criticism through structuralism to the French nouvelle critique. He calls his theory phenomenological structuralism, and shows its derivation from American pragmatism (contextualism) to an unabashed phenomenology through the criticisms of Roman Ingarden, Martin Heidegger, and Paul Ricoeur. The structuralism derives from the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, as incorporated into the philosophical linguistics of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Part II contains five chapters, each concerned with either direct application of the theory in acts of criticism, or in the metacriticism of accepted critical theories, such as the Aristotelians of early dramatic critics (Chapter 6), or of applied procedures in recent academic critical circles (Chapter 10). The argument is concluded in the author's Afterword, where pedagogical issues are introduced to suggest the future applicability of the theory. A glossary of technical and new terms is added, and a double index - of names and a subject matter - is included to map out the author's own interpretation of his bibliographic references.

Meaning

A Slim Guide to Semantics

Author: Paul Elbourne

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 174

View: 630

This book offers an introduction to the analysis of meaning. Our outstanding ability to communicate is a distinguishing feature of our species. To communicate is to convey meaning, but what is meaning? How do words combine to give us the meanings of sentences? And what makes a statement ambiguous or nonsensical? These questions and many others are addressed in Paul Elbourne's fascinating guide. He opens by asking what kinds of things the meanings of words and sentences could be: are they, for example, abstract objects or psychological entities? He then looks at how we understand a sequence of words we have never heard before; he considers to what extent the meaning of a sentence can be derived from the words it contains and how to account for the meanings that can't be; and he examines the roles played by time, place, and the shared and unshared assumptions of speakers and hearers. He looks at how language interacts with thought and the intriguing question of whether what language we speak affects the way we see the world. Meaning, as might be expected, is far from simple. Paul Elbourne explores its complex issues in crystal clear language. He draws on approaches developed in linguistics, philosophy, and psychology - assuming a knowledge of none of them -in a manner that will appeal to everyone interested in this essential element of human psychology and culture.

Global Shift

Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy

Author: Peter Dicken

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 599

View: 819

'Global Shift just keeps on getting better. There is no other source that gives you the full story on globalization in such a fluent and authoritative way. Not just recommended but essential' - Nigel Thrift, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Warwick 'Impressive in the extent of empirical research, Global Shift successfully captures the historical continuities and basic changes marking the world economy. Peter Dicken's new edition is a vividly written guide to globalizing processes' - James H. Mittelman, Professor, School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC 'With this edition of Global Shift, Professor Dicken confirms his mastery as one of the preeminent authorities in the study of globalization. If you wish to explore beyond "flatland", I can't recommend a better source' - Professor William E. Halal, George Washington University 'A comprehensive, balanced, thorough, interdisciplinary review of one of the critical issues of our time. A must for anyone interested in globalization' - Stephen J. Kobrin, University of Pennsylvania The fifth edition of Global Shift is now completely revised and updated using the latest available sources. Every chapter has been extensively rewritten to take into account not just new empirical developments but to incorporate new ideas on production, distribution, and consumption in the global economy. The standard work on globalization provides " the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of economic globalization available " a clear guide to how the global economy is transformed by: transnational corporations; states and interest groups; and technology " detailed literature review that explains different theories of economic globalization in the larger context of a descriptive account of newly industrialising economies " sectoral case studies - with a new case study on agro-food industries - which illustrate diverse processes of globalization " new material on social movements, governance, environment, and alternative economic systems Extensive use of graphics, lack of jargon, clear definition of terms, makes Global Shift the key resource on economic globalization in the social science literature

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN:

Category: Authors, American

Page: 306

View: 469

A compelling combination of literature and memoir revealing the big experiences and little moments that shaped Ann Patchett as a daughter, wife, and writer

Encyclopedia of British Writers, 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries

Author: Alan Hager

Publisher: Infobase Publishing

ISBN:

Category: Authors, English

Page: 818

View: 367

Presents a two-volume A to Z reference on English authors from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, providing information about major figures, key schools and genres, biographical information, author publications and some critical analyses.

Visions of Dystopia in China’s New Historical Novels

Author: Jeffrey C. Kinkley

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 304

View: 108

The depiction of personal and collective suffering in modern Chinese novels differs significantly from standard Communist accounts and many Eastern and Western historical narratives. Writers such as Yu Hua, Su Tong, Wang Anyi, Mo Yan, Han Shaogong, Ge Fei, Li Rui, and Zhang Wei skew and scramble common conceptions of China's modern development, deploying avant-garde narrative techniques from Latin American and Euro-American modernism to project a surprisingly "un-Chinese" dystopian vision and critical view of human culture and ethics. The epic narratives of modern Chinese fiction make rich use of magical realism, surrealism, and unusual treatments of historical time. Also featuring graphic depictions of sex and violence, as well as dark, raunchy comedy, these novels reflect China's recent history re-presenting the overthrow of the monarchy in the early twentieth century and the resulting chaos of revolution and war; the recurring miseries perpetrated by class warfare during the dictatorship of Mao Zedong; and the social dislocations caused by China's industrialization and rise as a global power. This book casts China's highbrow historical novels from the late 1980s to the first decade of the twenty-first century as a distinctively Chinese contribution to the form of the global dystopian novel and, consequently, to global thinking about the interrelations of utopia and dystopia.