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21•1  INTERSTELLAR AND THE SUBLIME

By Barry Vacker

Publication date: Summer 2015

"We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt," says astronaut Cooper in Interstellar. Implicit in this quote is the sublime, the sense of awe and horror, the aesthetic and philosophical concept that lies at the heart of the cultural and philosophical questions posed by Christopher Nolan's film. In a universe of billions of galaxies, trillions of stars, and untold numbers of planets and black holes, it is the sublime that challenges the meaning for human existence in the very universe so beautifully portrayed in Interstellar. This book uses the sublime as the starting point for understanding the film and its philosophical trajectories.

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21•2  STAR TREK AND POST-APOLLO CULTURE

By Barry Vacker

Publication date: Fall 2015

"To explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before," says the famed coda for Star Trek, the utopian space film franchise rebooted to wide popularity in recent years. Science and space technologies are accelerating into the 21st century, but not so much for many of humanity's narratives and ideologies in our "post-Apollo culture." What is the fate of humanity in the final frontier when much of culture is torn between accelerating into the future and reversing into the past? Do the new Star Trek films point toward utopian or dystopian destinies, in space and on Earth? This book uses Star Trek and Apollo as starting points for understanding the trajectories of civilization and our purposes for venturing into space. 

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