- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Export edition (8 March 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781501191817
- ISBN-13: 978-1501191817
- ASIN: 1501191810
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,32,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Philosopher's Flight: A Novel (The Philosophers Series) Paperback – Import, 8 Mar 2018
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About the Author
Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Philosopher's Flight and The Philosopher's War. He works as an emergency room doctor.
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The Philosopher’s Flight is an alternate historical fantasy novel, set in 20th century America, at a time before the First World War, wherein the present day roles of men and women are reversed. This book is a reinvention of the events of the first two decades of 1900s and a few previous year events.
What I loved the most about this book is it’s entire concept. The world building was fantastic and I found the writing easy and flowing. I easily got lost in the world Tom Miller created and could not put the book down for the first half of this book. However, it got a little slow after that. I found myself losing interest and even though I was invested with the characters, I was left wanting more from the story. Also, for a story set in the 1900s, I felt that the conversational dialogues between characters were kind of more like present day conversations. Maybe I’m wrong! Maybe I’m not a YA/fantasy person, but that’s just how I felt 🤷🏻♀️ Overall, I liked this book enough to (maybe) read the next instalment but didn’t love it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Set during World War I, the story follows a rare male philosopher, Robert Weekes, as he is taken on as a contingency student at Radcliffe College, one of only a few token men training with women. Most of the men are merely theoretical philosophers, but Robert, or Boober, as his Montana family lovingly calls him, is an empirical philosopher, raised to fly. Encouraged and cajoled into his skills by his mother and older sisters, he is a truly unusual man and not just because he's an expert sigilist.
Giving us the experience of role reversal, with a sole male prodigy among women encountering the derision, discrimination, and abuse that was usually heaped on women entering largely male educational settings during this era and too long after, Miller offers an accessible story about gender constraints perceived about talent and wrongly placed on education.
All of that sounds almost preachy and this book was anything but that- it was great fun to read. We have a wonderful set of secondary characters and a lot of humor to soften the blows of Robert's progress in the philosophical ranks. A renaissance man himself, Tom Miller is a practicing ER doctor with an MFA in writing. He's also going at the top of my Campbell Award nominations next year. A wonderful new voice.
The story is mostly set on the campus of Radcliffe College (once the women's sister college of all-male Harvard), around the time of World War I. The magical technology, or technological magic, is called "sigilry," and enables "philosophers" to fly (at several hundred miles per hours), transport objects, communicate, and do other things by properly drawing magic signs called "sigils." In one of many twists and inversions of our world, sigilry is almost entirely the province of women, and the protagonist, a male, struggles with sex discrimination. This all sounds silly but in Miller's hands, it isn't. And while this may not be Great Literature, the characters are convincingly drawn and I cared about what was happening to them. I found it fresh, original, pitch-perfect and wonderfully entertaining.
I also don't enjoy stories about sexism and usually find them preachy, but Miller won me over there on that point too. Perhaps it is his male point of view , but in my opinion, he manages to dig into the issue and extract just the conflict, irony and suspense he need from it to drive the story along and flesh out his characters.
Like the body weight that dogs the hero's early efforts at speed flying, there is some fluff in the writing and the focus drifts from the plot a bit more than I prefer from time to time. But Miller manages to convey a strong steampunk flavor without going over the top like many stories in the genre do. His other strengths more than make up for this.
Once in a while I gamble on a new author. Sometimes I regret it. This time I did not. Definitely take Miller for a test flight.