ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: 'The Twilight Zone and Philosophy'

Updated on January 4, 2019
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is an engineer, scifi author and fan and periodically reviews books.

Introduction

The entire “And Philosophy” book series analyzes areas of modern culture to see what we can learn from them and draw from them. In that same vein, "The Twilight Zone and Philosophy" mines the original Twilight Zone series for wisdom and examples of complex philosophical concepts. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this modern philosophy book?

The Cover of "The Twilight Zone" and Philosophy
The Cover of "The Twilight Zone" and Philosophy | Source

The Strengths of “The Twilight Zone and Philosophy”

This philosophy essay collection isn’t as dated or biased as “Scott Adams and Philosophy”, another book in this series I reviewed. It is broadly accessible. You can learn something from it whether you’re a science fiction fan, horror fan, psychology major or interested in philosophy.

A few essays are useful to groups that otherwise wouldn’t consider picking up the book. Chapter 15, for example, is an analysis of the psychology behind a twist ending and nostalgia. That chapter would be a good reference for many would-be writers. Chapter 16 dissects the anatomy of a good twist ending, as well.

Chapter 3, “The Shortsightedness of Henry Bemis”, discusses the multiple layers in that one episode. Many writers would benefit from reading the explanation of how multiple lines and events in that classic episode contribute to the obvious ironic horrifying ending and the meta-level, as well.

Chapter 8 is called “What Are You Hearing?” If you’re in sound editing, sound effects or sound engineering, this essay devotes time on the techniques and tactics for creating a sense of unease or fear.

Chapter 17 is an invaluable lesson on the Holocaust while explaining how recent history to the original series impacted multiple episodes of the show.

If you like science fiction, “The Twilight Zone and Philosophy” covers many philosophical issues that are staples of this genre. What really counts as time travel? It was interesting to see how many of the Twilight Zone episodes written in the late 1950s and early 1960s were quite prescient. More than a dozen episodes of the original Twilight Zone series focused on androids, artificial intelligence and cyborgs. There are about a dozen essays in this book that use these episodes to discuss the philosophy of identity, love, and relationships. Chapter 14 shakes it up by talking about the science of alternate realities.

Chapter 19 touches on the topic of conformity and loss of identity using the episode “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”.

For philosophy students, this book does deliver. Chapter 10, “When the Sky Opened”, explains David Hume’s skepticism in the belief of continued existence while discussing what does and doesn’t make you, you. Chapter 4 discusses the philosophy of the face. Chapter 11 is on the philosophy of testimony and tells the truth on lying. What are the ethics of telling the truth though you may be labeled crazy?

The Cons of “The Twilight Zone and Philosophy”

Given that multiple essays analyzed the character of Alicia the companion robot in “The Lonely”, there wasn’t a single ethical discussion on sex bots. This is despite the implication that the main character used her as such or the rise of sexbots in modern society or the serious discussion we as a society should have about the topic.

Essay 2 uses philosophy to decide what and where the Twilight Zone is, mostly settling on a visual example of surrealism. Chapter 12 attempts to do the same thing, though it uses a different methodology. Chapter 13 does the same thing, but it concludes the Twilight Zone is an example of a “non-place”. By that point, the topic is repetitive.

Summary

I give “The Twilight Zone and Philosophy” five stars. There is truly something for everyone in this collection of philosophy essays, whether you’re a sci-fi fan, writer or philosophy student.

© 2018 Tamara Wilhite

Comments

Submit a Comment
  • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

    Tim Truzy 

    10 months ago from U.S.A.

    Hi, Tamara,

    I give your review of this book a million stars because you covered the pluses and minuses of the text so thoroughly. I frequently watch the old reruns of that show, and there is always something in them to help me think about my existence or create a new fictional piece. You are right, writers can learn a lot from using the "twist" or surprise ending.

    I will probably look for this book to read, Tamara, based on your stellar review.

    Great work.

    Much respect and admiration,

    Tim

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)