Plot to Save Socrates


Paul Levinson's astonishing new Sf novel is a surprise and a delight: In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future! Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immediately begins to track down the provenance of the manuscript, with the help of her classical scholar ...
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The Plot to Save Socrates

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Paul Levinson's astonishing new Sf novel is a surprise and a delight: In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future! Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immediately begins to track down the provenance of the manuscript, with the help of her classical scholar boyfriend, Max.

The trail leads her to a time machine in a gentlemen's club in London and in New York, and into the past--and to a time traveler from her future, posing as Heron of Alexandria in 150 AD. Complications, mysteries, travels, and time loops proliferate as Sierra tries to discern who is planning to save the greatest philosopher in human history, or to do so herself. And she finds that time travel raises more questions than it answers. Fascinating historical characters from Alcibiades (of the honeyed thighs) and Thomas Appleton, the great 19th century American publisher, to Socrates himself appear. with surprises in every chapter, Paul Levinson has outdone himself in The Plot to Save Socrates.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What would Socrates do? Levinson poses this philosophical question by providing Socrates with an opportunity to survive his execution but still have his death mean something. The tale shifts between ancient Greece to 2042, where Sierra, a graduate student, attempts to find her mentor, who has gone missing after revealing secret transcripts of Socrates. While the premise resembles a pulp novel, Levinson's well-researched historical positioning and philosophical arguments elevate this tale. Shanahan delivers a well-tuned performance. He efficiently juggles the characters, who range in age, sex and accent. He reads the exposition with grace, utilizing the text to determine the intensity and speed of his delivery, thereby enhancing the quality of the story as any talented storyteller should. The light and breezy musical interludes and segues are not intrusive. Listen & Live once again provides an audiobook that effectively balances story, narrator and sound quality in a product anyone can enjoy. Simultaneous release with the Tor hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 14, 2005). (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When her advisor shows her a fragment of an unknown Socratic dialog in which the philosopher, on the night of his execution, receives a visitor who speaks of a rescue by virtue of time travel, classics scholar Sierra and her boyfriend, Max, also a classics student, search for the truth behind the tale. Discovering that time travel is possible, Sierra and Max embark on a rescue mission like no other. Levinson (The Silk Code) spins a fascinating tale that spans the centuries from 400 B.C.E. to 2061 C.E. and ranges from ancient Greece and Egypt to Victorian London and future New York. An intriguing premise with believable characters and attention to period detail make this an outstanding choice for most sf collections. Highly recommended. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publisher's Weekly
In this light, engaging time-travel yarn, Levinson (The Silk Code) ponders the problem of saving someone who refuses to be saved, in this case Socrates, the Athenian philosopher condemned to death in a shameful moment for democracy. Inspired by a newly discovered dialogue of Socrates in which he's offered escape by time travel, Sierra Waters, classics grad student in 2042, joins her professor, Thomas O'Leary, in a quest to return to the past. Along the way, Sierra gains a lover, the charismatic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593160746
  • Publisher: Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: 7 CDs
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Levinson's eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), and Cellphone (2004), have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into ten languages. New New Media will be published in the summer of 2009. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (1999, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel)., Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), and The Plot To Save Socrates (2006). His short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. Paul Levinson appears on "The O'Reilly Factor" (Fox News), "The CBS Evening News," "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" (PBS), "Nightline" (ABC), and numerous national and international TV and radio programs. He reviews the best of television in his blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009. Paul Levinson is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Will Loan My Copy

    I read a lot of books. I usually read them, make some notes about them in my journals, and then pass them on to other writers. I met Paul Levinson on Myspace. To be honest, I bought THE PLOT to SAVE SOCRATES because I liked the title. I was intrigued by the idea of a discovered dialogue that reveals that Socrates may have taken an opportunity that I can image Socrates being willing to take. I enjoyed strapping myself to this remarkable time-traveling adventurous romp and can't give this book away. I must keep it. If you don't "get it" after the first reading I recommend reading it a second time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2009



    There's an old saying, "If you love Greek history and you're fascinated by time travel, you'll love Paul Levinson's The Plot To Save Socrates. If you're reading this in 2009, you'll likely disagree that it's an old saying, but if you time travel to 2061, you'll find that it's true.

    Paul Levinson's delightful sci-fi book opens in New York in 2042. Sierra Waters, a student of the classics who is working on her dissertation, comes across a newly discovered dialog of Socrates. In it, an unidentified time traveler tries to convince Socrates to escape his death sentence by letting a cloned double drink hemlock while Socrates travels to the future.

    As the characters time travel to different periods in the past and the future, the reader cannot help but be absorbed in not only the engaging plot, but also by the myriad questions that time travel raises. I think we all can relate to even the smallest incidents in our own lives that have profoundly changed the course of our personal history. In that sense, The Plot To Save Socrates really challenges our minds as we're led to contemplate how even the smallest adjustments in history could literally change its course.

    Though written in a lighthearted style, the depth of research and thought that Paul Levinson put into the writing is clear and the result is truly a thought-provoking, breathtaking, and highly entertaining novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    Great premise & story but too many loose ends

    I read this entertaining novel in a single afternoon and evening, so it obviously kept my interest. The premise was intriguing, the characters and dialogue lively and credible, the plot riveting. Levinson has certainly assembled a fascinating cast from various eras. I wish, however, that Levinson had added a couple of hundred pages to the book, because, contrary to what some reviews have suggested, Levinson does not tie all the threads together in a satisfying way. Here's my inventory of major omissions: 1) more description of the times and places visited, especially Heron's Alexandria and Socrates' Athens 2) tying up some very important loose ends, including the motivation and ultimate fate of some major characters 3) a more honest grappling with the paradoxes of time travel. The novel's characters talk constantly about whether they will be changing history or merely fulfilling it, so I was expecting some surprises at the end. The surprise we are offered is rather disappointing. Since Socrates begins to speak for himself late in the novel, I wish he had been allowed to say more. I will read more books by Paul Levinson. I got my money's worth from this one. But it had the potential to be one of my all-time favorites, and it isn't.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2006

    Highly original and fun

    I can honestly say that I've never read anything like this my eyes, The Plot to Save Socrates is highly original, creative and engaging. I enjoyed it from the first page. The story starts out in the year 2042, when Sierra, a young woman scholar is shown a piece of an old dialog of Socrates. The dialog details a conversation between Socrates himself, and another man, Andros. Andros is from the future and tells Socrates he has a way to save him from his immediate death and continue with his life. From here, Sierra's life changes forever. She finds herself drawn into a world of time travel, romance, mystery and twists that will keep readers guessing until the last page. The story is easy to follow, despite the numerous time jumps and twists. It's a fun and different read, that I would recommend to anyone looking for something unusual to read. You won't regret itl. It's incredibly well researched and written. Two thumbs up!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun lighthearted time travel romp

    In 2042 Classics Professor Thomas O¿Leary shows Manhattan¿s Old School doctorate candidate Sierra Waters a recently discovered fragment of a Socrates Dialogue. Sierra is stunned when the great philosopher discusses an opportunity offered by a visitor Andros to his prison to escape his impending state sponsored death by traveling in time. After discussing the Dialogue with her boyfriend Max, Sierra talks to her faculty advisor who says he is going to a Wilmington hospital for an operation on an aneurysm near his heart and that he trusts Sierra to do the right thing when it comes to Socrates. --- Sierra and Max soon investigate the reality of time travel not just the theories and learn of a machine in London. There they begin a journey through time to several BCE eras, the nineteenth century and two decades into their future in an attempt to persuade Socrates to escape imminent death by hemlock. However the great philosopher has other plans for the leadership of Athens even while Sierra is attracted to the ¿enemy¿ and there is no guarantee that the two graduate students will return to their doctorate present. --- THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES is a fun lighthearted time travel romp that in some ways will remind the audience of Bill and Ted though Sierra and Max are a lot more intelligent than the latter two. The story line is fast-paced as the twenty-first century travelers move back and forth in time with several intriguing surprises to include meeting real historical figures and a terrific final spin. Paul Levinson provides a strong science fiction thriller in which readers will have all the time in the world to join the quest to save Socrates. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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