Book Review: Futurama and Philosophy (Edited by Courtland Lewis)

Book Review: Futurama and Philosophy (Edited by Courtland Lewis)

We’re Back Baby!

So Futurama returned this morning at 3:00 AM (EST) on Hulu streaming. Who woke up super early to catch it? (I finished off the final Comedy Central season and let it run into it upon waking up this morning, watching Meanwhile and going directly into the new ‘The Impossible Stream’.)

I will give my full thoughts later today in the video I’m going to be doing for the episode review, so I won’t go into too much here. I will say I enjoyed the episode, but its certainly not the funniest episode they’ve made – and its far from the worst too.

We covered previously – Good News Everyone, Futurama is Back: Exploring Futurama – Inspired Craft Beers – that Futurama is back starting today and will be airing a weekly episode for the next ten weeks, and with each episode I want to (try) get a Futurama themed article up on the site, as well as a reaction / review of each episode on YouTube. So make sure you follow us at our YouTube page: The Beer Thrillers on YouTube.

Philosophers in Space

Futurama and Philosophy is the 78th entry into the “…and Philosophy” series. It started many years ago with “Seinfeld in Philosophy” and has ballooned from there covering a wide range of topics from Baseball, Jeopardy, Lady Gaga, to Futurama, Batman, Marvel Movies / Marvel Universe, to Curb Your Enthusiasm and much much more.

I do enjoy the series for what it is. Each book is a collection of essays looking at their particular topic (in this case Futurama) through the lens of philosophy. The articles are hit or miss, just as the writers themselves are. But overall its pretty entertaining / interesting stuff.

We have previously covered the Curb Your Enthusiasm volume here: Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy Book Review.

If you are looking for more philosophy book reviews, you can find that we have covered quite a bit – from The Philosophy of Snoopy to On Bullshit. (I’ll link them at the end of the article in a list to make it easier.)

Book Review

Futurama and Philosophy: Pizza, Paradoxes, and Good News

The back cover blurb (from GoodReads):

Good news everyone! A billion years late and right on time, here’s Futurama and Philosophy. Now at least you can activate your pleasure unit by jacking on to the universe’s deep thought generator! This may be counter-indicated by your operations manual and denounced by Fathers Against Rude Television but at least it won’t make you your own grandfather. And according to the Hypnotoad … ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!

Back Cover Blurb: Futurama and Philosophy (GoodReads)

This edition that I’m reviewing is the paperback edition, released on October 8th, 2013, and is 284 pages long. (The editing and formatting for my edition makes me believe it was a galley or pre – release review edition.)

 

As I said about this type of book – the essays can be hit or miss. Luckily this edition is more hit than miss. They do a good job of doing a deep dive into the characters, some of the settings and the make up of the Futurama universe, as well as things like robot ethics, freedom, “sexlexia”, and much more.

The Zapp Brannigan “sexlexia” article while being somewhat interesting discussing the inadequacies of each of the characters when it comes to sex, doesn’t really offer a whole lot of philosophical insight. And this kind of brings to light how these “… and Philosophy” books kind of work. They tend to either be more heavily bent on discussing the particular matter (in this case Futurama) and typically attempting to be humorous, or they come across too heavily focused on the philosophy and lose sight of the source material to a degree. I feel like its an unfortunate ‘nature of the beast’ as far as these collections go. As much as I love philosophy and love Futurama or Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm or whatever the particular book is about, its too hard to truly weave source material with philosophy and keep it engaging for both crowds.

This book does offer a great gateway or introduction to philosophy for younger readers (middle school or high school) who enjoy the source material and are looking to go a bit deeper into it. Seeing how the characters mindsets are, why Robot Ethics are important, how AI is playing out now in 2023 is a bit elucidated by things involving ethics and morality regarding robots and humans alike, the Popplers article discussing eating meat, eating intelligent creatures, and the morality behind it all, using Peter Singer as the backdrop is a great way to get younger people discussing and thinking about important topics and ideas such as that.

None of the “and Philosophy” books are considered official, so you won’t be finding any pictures or promotional material from Futurama; it’s just text – which for a Philosophy book is fine. I know it would be nice to have a picture of the episode or character in question for each chapter, but it is what it is and not a big deal.

By the end it does get a bit repetitive, some of the episodes are more heavily focused on than others, and thus get a fair bit more attention than others, so at times it feels like its being hammered on a bit.

All in all though this is a great introduction book for fans of Futurama to take their first look and step into the greater world that is philosophy.

Average GoodReads Rating: 3.80 (as of 7.24.23)
My GoodReads Rating: ****
My LibraryThing Rating: 3.5

(LibraryThing lets you do half stars where as GoodReads is whole stars only.)

Other Book Reviews

Interested in more book reviews? Then check these out:

All of Our Nerd Content

Here’s all of our nerd content, served up best in one single place. Enjoy!

I know ya’ll here for the nerd reviews. So check out our other nerd reviews below:

Star Wars:

Futurama

Lord of the Rings:

Magic the Gathering:

Zelda:

Rick and Morty:

Space Balls:

Game of Thrones:

The Simpsons:

Back to the Future:

Scrooged:

Groundhog Day:

A Christmas Story:

The Peanuts:

Pro Wrestling:

Soccer:

World Cup:

Phillies:

Matrix:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

HP Lovecraft / Cthulhu:

Seinfeld:

Other:

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