Phanatic press

Rooted in Philadelphia. Exploring and sharing all that is fanatical. 

The Internet is changing our society. Whether it is for the good or bad is still unclear. "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson dives into a futuristic, ultra-digital world and explores the effects a digital culture has on humanity. The plot leads the main character, Hiro Protagonist, and his colleagues on an adventure to discover the truth behind the Snow Crash virus. The virus is unique for those infected are affected in both the Metaverse and in the physical world. The Metaverse is a virtual reality-based internet that allows users to experience a virtual world as chosen avatars through the use of unique terminals. The unique Snow Crash virus questions whether the internet is a portal that opens up a new world, or something that will imprison its many users. The novel also questions what it means to be human in a world filled with technology and an alternative virtual world. How this affects language, the perception of the human being, the purpose of society, and many other questions are brought up throughout this futuristic novel. This book invites the reader to explore this digital world by traveling through the Metaverse with Hiro Protangonist. So take the invitation and travel through the world Stephenson creates and explore the questions living in a digital world poses.
War is Hell. Returning from war is supposed to be the return to a safe paradise. But is this the actuality for today’s returning soldiers? Phil Klay gives an account his account so many of America’s soldiers returning from war share in his book “Redeployment.” His book’s first chapter, titled as is the book, details the process soldiers undergo to return home after battle. The journey is not direct; both physically and mentally. There are many stops along the way to leave battle and return home. Klay details many of the struggles soldiers find themselves in with a homecoming. Whether its family issues, adjusting to civilian society, or much more, Klay gives his story so many soldiers share. These stories often go unheard, but need to be heard. How we approach a veteran of war is often uncomfortable. As a civilian, we want to thank the veterans for their service and empathize with their struggles, but we are often left unable. ”Redeployment” gives the public a first-hand account in the daily struggles of a returning soldier. As Klay details in his book, it is not an easy return. The soldier never stops thinking, remembering, and struggling with his battle experience and the homecoming is too often bittersweet. Allow Klay to take you through the mind of a returning soldier and the struggles he undergoes. Through the book, hopefully us as the public can begin to briefly understand and empathize with the wars the soldiers never stop fighting.
“The war tried to kill us in the spring.” A powerful opening for “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers. The novel follows the narrator, Private John Bartle, and his struggles with war and his return to civilian life. Bartle’s, and his fellow Private Murph, are fighting in Iraq. Bartle constantly attempts to keep a promise he made to Murph’s mother, while constantly struggling to keep himself and the rest of his troop alive. The novel highly focuses on the struggles of returning soldiers. We follow Bartle as he tries, and sometimes fails, to physiologically cope with the war after he returns. The novel not only gives an enticing plot line, but raises many questions regarding the wars soldiers fight. How do soldiers cope with the powerlessness they often feel? Are they just as the “Yellow Birds” Murph tells Bartle about? Powers manages to weave powerful themes into his intriguing plot. He raises questions regarding the separation between the American public and the soldiers fighting the war. The soldiers, as detailed, become prisoners of war they often don’t know why they are even fighting. The issues Powers brings out throughout the novel are ones we the public should consider as fellow human beings. Take a risk, and find out how soldiers often become prisoners of war for life, and what we the public can begin to do to help breakdown the separation from soldiers these heroes often feel.
Science is advancing at an unprecedented pace. Scientific breakthroughs have been made in many fields including medicine that have helped millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, for as many near miracles science has found, it has also created ways of ending human life in some truly unimaginable ways. Kurt Vonnegut explores this tough concept in his novel “Cat’s Cradle.” The story follows the family of the seemingly innocent, Nobel-prize-winning physicist Felix Hoenikker. While Felix was given the Nobel Prize for his work in physics, he also was one of the key scientists to develop the first atomic bomb. The innocent Felix, we find out, has created other inventions that, in the wrong hands, could end humanity as we know it. This interplay between science and the human condition is brought front and center for the audience to experience through the plot. The experience leaves the reader questioning the advancement and industrialization of modern times. The book not only hits on some social issues, but personal ones as well such as religion, class, and family. Do not fear the seriousness of the book, though. Vonnegut masterfully interweaves the serious themes among a playful story and refreshing humor. Vonnegut wants to the reader to laugh, connect with the story and its characters, but also question the society one finds themselves in. So allow John, Felix’s one son and the narrator, to guide you through the comical and questioning world Vonnegut creates.
Time is a concept everyone knows and understands. What time means may differ between individuals, but it is an international concept. Time to those in the work force means something different all together. Whether it’s fighting the clock to finish the day, or a limiting factor for some who love what they do, time affects those working people. The clock, an international tool used to keep time, therefore becomes incredibly important to those who work. Studs Terkel compiled many interviews in his book “Working” of people in the workforce. As readers find out, some fight the clock and simply make it through the day. What Terkel manages to do, though, is find a way to have those he interviews explain the meaning they often find in the work they do. The accounts give the stories of average people who often find extraordinary value in the things they do. The book manages to probe the reader’s consciousness and ask the reader to consider the meaning they can find in their own lives. One often does not consider the struggles or accomplishments others find in their daily lives at work. This work has immense value and insight in to the lives of real, often ordinary people. Allow Terkel to bring the lives of so many fellow Americans into the palm of your hand and experience what it means to experience time through the workplace.
Checklist item number 31; did the student show “voiced empathy for my situation/problem.” An item Leslie Jamison spends much time on in “The Empathy Exams.” Empathy, as the title of the piece implies, is central to Jamison’s focus. As a medical actor, she is given roles to master and perform for students in medical school wanting to become doctors. One of the most important things the students must do is fulfill Checklist Item 31: “Voiced empathy for my situation/problem.” But is this something students, and us the readers, can learn? Can we improve on something that many so desperately seek from others? Jamison raises these questions and does her best to answer them for the readers throughout the piece. As she manages to interweave her own personal experience with that of her acting assignments, the reader is left questioning how much one truly understands about empathy. While we all think we may have a chart of empathy, we find that we may in fact be left with a blank slate and need to work to understand how we empathize with others. Allow Jamison to bring the idea of “empathy” to the forefront, and find out how you can answer Checklist Item 31 for yourself in your everyday life.
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