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True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You    edited by William Irwin, George Dunn & Rebecca Housel order for
True Blood and Philosophy
by William Irwin
Order:  USA  Can
John Wiley & Sons, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The entertaining True Blood and Philosophy collection of essays, edited by William Irwin, George Dunn and Rebecca Housel, is one in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series (whose declares that 'a healthy helping of popular culture clears the cobwebs from Kant').

The Introduction informs us that this volume was inspired by the 'sexually charged' True Blood HBO series, whose launch was in turn based on Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mystery novels. The intro also promises fans that 'your enjoyment of True Blood will be considerably enhanced by the time you spend with us pondering some of the more perplexing philosophical quandaries raised by the supernatural adventures of Sookie and her paranormal pals.' Not having watched or read either series (though I now plan to) I was still able to enjoy True Blood and Philosophy, based on exposure to general philosophical ideas and to other supernatural novels.

The collection is divided into five parts: Vampire-Human Ethics (including To Turn or not to Turn); The Politics of Being Dead (including Can Vampires be Good Citizens?); Eros, Sexuality, and Gender (coming out, feminist ambivalence and Sookie, Sigmund, and the Edible Complex); Natural, Supernatural, and Divine (including Does God Hate Fangs?); and finally The Metaphysics of Supernatural Beings. The essays use examples from both Sookie books and True Blood episodes. The philosophers referenced include Immanuel Kant, Johan Huizinga, René Descartes, Bertrand Russell, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thales, Aristotle and Plato.

In A Vampire's Heart Has Its Reasons That Scientific Naturalism Can't Understand, Susan Peppers-Bates and Joshua Rust ask and answer the question, 'What explains the recent surge of popularity in vampire fiction, TV shows, and film?' They ascribe it to 'a romantic longing to return to an enchanted world that is apparently lost in the humdrum of the ordinary - a life ruled by science and not by religion, mysticism, or the mysterious.' If you enjoy analysing the mysterious, or are a Sookie Stackhouse fan, then you'll have fun with True Blood and Philosophy, which offers plenty of food for fanged thought.

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