Utopian Worldbuilding in Terra Ignota

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Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series is a masterpiece of utopian worldbuilding. The author is a historian and professor of Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Humanist studies, and she uses those ideals to build a vast and beautiful future. Let's talk about each element of the Terra Ignota world, compare them to those Enlightenment ideals of the past, and discuss…

Shangri-La: Buddhist Dreamscapes in the Western Imagination

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In the late 19th century, two priests journeyed into the mountains of Tibet discovering a monastic community previously unknown to the Western world. Their travelogues inspired Shangri-La, the Buddhist paradise in James Hilton's 1937 novel Lost Horizon, as well as Aldous Huxley's Island, and the work of Alan Watts. For the first time, Buddhist philosophies…