Jo Walton (previously) is one of science fiction's great talents, a writer who blends beautiful insight about human beings and their frailties and failings without ever losing sight of their nobility and aspirations.
Walton's 2015 novel The Just City and its sequel, The Philosopher Kings, are a thought-experiment about a volcanic island to which the goddess Athene summons every person throughout time who dreamt of living in Plato's Republic, and they buy a cohort of 10 year olds in the slave markets of antiquity, and raise them to be the Philosopher Kings of Plato's dreams.
The Crooked Timber blog is running a seminar on the Philosopher Kings books, in which editors, novelists, historians, political scientists, and other worthies will each publish a short essay on the books, with open discussion in the comments, followed by an essay by Walton herself. These seminars — the most recent was on Thomas Piketty — are a wonderful way to explore ideas from multiple perspectives, and always worth your time and attention.
Over the next several days, as promised last year, we'll be running a 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.
Jo Walton Seminar
[Henry Farrell/Crooked Timber]