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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK read, but some parts with take you to dreamland..., 30 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Inception and Philosophy: Because It's Never Just a Dream (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) (Paperback)
I was looking forward to reading this book immensely, both because I loved the movie and I'm a big fan of pop philosophy books.

However, upon recieving this book I was slightly disappointed. The book is divided into sections, the first of which contains a handful of essays speculating on whether 'it was all just a dream' and 'did the spinning top fall at the end' and the like. This fact in itself wasn't the source of my disappointment (what good is a book about Inception without discussion of the ending?), however, the essays in this first section contained little to none in terms of philosophical theory, perspective and content, and read like bad blog posts with a lot of conjecture and arguably spurious interpretations of events in the movie. It was essentially the respective essay's authors giving their 'two cents' about the outcome of the movie, their opinion rather than philosophical analysis. If I wanted that I'd go on an internet forum or discuss the film with my friends.

Once I'd laboured through this first section, the book notably improved, with better essays with more actual philosophy in it. One thing I love about pop philosophy books is the interpretation of films etc. with the theory and perspective of big name philosophers in mind (The 'Final Fantasy and Philosophy' essay 'Final Fantasy VII as a Writerly Text', analysisng FFVII from the perspective of Roland Barthes theories being one example, and one of my favourites). This mid book improvement was welcome, but my first section had marred my opinion of the rest of the book, and felt myself finding it difficult to enjoy, a rarity for me.

The nature of these books is that they are a collection of essays by philosophers, university professors/lecturers and other such writers of the humanities. So I suppose my main bug bear isn't the essays themselves, but the choice of authors, essays and editing on part of the editor, publisher etc., who really should've been a bit stricter with the quality of some of the essays.

I felt the poor quality of some of the essays in this book marred the overall experience and fails to exploit the rich opportunity for analysis and discourse a heavily philosophically driven movie like Inception has to offer.

I purchased this book along with the Open Court version of 'Inception and Philosophy'. Of the two, I preferred the Open Court version, which had a better selection of essays, topics and the quality was far more consistent.

I would recommend this book, but only half-heartedly. It's OK, but there are too many niggling flaws in it for my liking.

In Summary:

Pros:
-Big selection of essays that explores the movie in a diverse set of philosophical and ethical perspectives
-Easy to read

Cons:
-The First Section (about 3 essays or so) is opinion and conjecture, and lacking in the amount of actual philosophy
-Essays throughout are of inconsistent quality (most are good, some not).
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