Reading Group: November Selection

As I mentioned in my intro post, I’d like to get a monthly reading group started at Freethinking Ahead.  Please post your recommendations in the comments below.

A few things to note:

  1. Given the focus of this blog, we’ll stick primarily to science fiction, though I’m open to works of non-fiction as well as poetry collections.
  2. I’d like to balance contemporary and classic works.
  3.  Anything that is blatantly grounded in negative -isms (sexism, racism, etc.) is out.
  4. If you’d like to recommend something that is out of print, go ahead.  Just post something to let us know that’s the case.
  5.  Recommendations for novella and novelette length works are welcome.  If you’d like to recommend something longer, I may run with it for a few months out.

I’ll have November’s selection posted by the first of the month.

Freethinking Ahead: A Quick Intro

Greetings, y’all. I’m T.D. Walker, and I’m delighted to be a part of the Freethought Blogs network. I’ve been blogging at my website, Freethinking Ahead, for a few years now, and my intention as I transition the blog is to implement and continue some of the projects I planned for that site here.

About Freethinking Ahead

My primary aim for this blog is summarized in its tagline: science fiction, feminism, and freethought. Many of us freethinkers are science fiction (hereafter SF) fans, and many of us have been influenced by SF. But I also think there’s much to be explored in the way our secularism influences our reading of the genre in turn. Such explorations should also examine the way we view issues of gender, class, race, and so on as well.

To that end, I’m planning on a few projects for Freethinking Ahead:

  • Q&As with Secular SF Authors, Editors, and Fans: How has reading and watching SF been influential to atheists? And how does their atheism affect their consumption (and creation as the case may be) of SF?
  • Reflections on SF: Reading SF can act as a sort of thought experiment, giving us ground as readers to explore social issues. What can we, as secular readers (or viewers, depending on the media), get out of classic and contemporary SF, aside from appreciating the story as a story?
  • Recommended Readings: Essays, articles, and SF from around the web.
  • Reading Group: Good blogs should foster dialog on their subjects. I’d like to start a monthly “reading group” series to discuss some of the above questions with regard to SF novels, non-fiction books, and if folks are interested short story and poetry collections. I’m happy to take recommendations for books, and I’ll create another post for that.

I’ll post more about each in the coming days.

About Me

And a few words about myself. I’ve been an atheist for over two decades now, and more recently, I’ve become more concerned about how I can be a better secular humanist and freethinker. For the past few years, I’ve been active in local and national secular groups as an organizer, writer, and volunteer.

Reading science fiction played an integral part in shaping my worldview–I credit SF classics such as Childhood’s End, Clarke’s novel featuring peaceful aliens with a demonic appearance, for helping me work through the questions I’d had about religion as a young teenager. And I find that coming back to SF is useful in exploring questions I have about society as it has been, as it is, and as it could be.

After finishing a PhD in English several years ago, I worked as a software developer (as one does), which has given me both a good grounding in the humanities and technology.

A few years ago, I began writing SF as well, and I have poems, stories, and essays published in various venues. And I’m delighted to be able to continue the sort of writing I’ve done elsewhere that has focused on SF here in the Freethought Blogs network.