Ian Thomas Malone is an author and a yogi from Greenwich, CT. He is a graduate of Boston College, where he founded The Rock at Boston College. He is the grandson of noted Sherlockian scholar Colonel John Linsenmeyer. Ian has published thousands of articles on diverse subjects such as popular culture, baseball, and social commentary. His favorite things to post on social media are pictures of his golden retriever Georgie and his collection of stuffed animals.
Ian believes firmly that "there's more to life than books you know, but not much more," a quote from his hero Morrissey. When he's not reading, writing, or teaching yoga, he can probably be found in a pool playing water polo. He aspires to move to the Hundred Acre Wood someday, though he hopes it has wi-fi by then.
Ian is the author of Five College Dialogues, Five More College Dialogues, and the upcoming Five High School Dialogues. He stopped by the European Geeks Blog to chat with us a little bit about his series - and what makes it unique.
- How (and when) did you discover Socratic Dialogue?
Freshman philosophy. Plato’s Five Dialogues is one of the most commonly assigned books in all of academia.
- What drew you to it?
The style resonates well with modern day students. Socratic Dialogue doesn’t shove answers down your throat. It tries to challenge you to think for yourself and to reach your own carefully thought out conclusions.
- Most writers use descriptive paragraphs to help move the story forward and create additional information for the readers. Did you find it challenging to write without them?
It did make the reader/character connection difficult. I always say the subject matter of each Dialogue is what’s important, but you also need to be able to identify with the characters in order to fully engage with the text. The setting wasn’t particularly important to what I was trying to do, so in a way it was fun to do away with that.
- Which character do you feel the most attachment to? Why?
I enjoy writing The Chief the most. I suppose that’s natural since he’s one of only a handful of characters in the Dialogues who appears more than once, but there’s more to it than that. In most of the Dialogues, he’s the one steering the discussion, but he’s far from perfect. Plato never tried to paint Socrates as a strictly altruistic person and I knew George had to have a bit of an edge to him to make him enjoyable.
- You started FCD not long after you graduated – what about being college caused you to write The Dialogues Series?
I wanted to write a resource that had the information I wish I’d had. When you get to college, your RA, if you have a good one, tells you to come and see them if you have any questions. That’s not really true though. There are plenty of questions you’re not supposed to ask them. Hence, Five College Dialogues, which isn’t at all influenced by campus politics.
- According to the back page of FCD and FMCD, we can expect Five High School Dialogues. What’s the major difference between FCD and FHSD? The similarities?
The major difference for FHSD is the teacher/student relationship. George is still called The Chief and he still likes his oft-kilter remarks, but he’s the teacher and not the grad student TA. What a college professor can get away with telling a student is much different from what a high school teacher can, which isn’t to say that he betrays his rebellious inclinations entirely. It’s a different side of George that I think people will appreciate.
- Did you start out with a plan to write a full series on the subject matter or did it just take wind on its own?
I was comfortable leaving FCD where it ended, but I didn’t shut the door on a sequel. The fifth Dialogue is meant to be an adaptation of Socrates’ Trial, but if you look at where George is left at the end of the book, you’ll see how the seeds for a return were planted.
- I hear you like to hide Easter eggs inside of your books. Are there any in The Dialogues?
Yes, fans of the series will see a few in FHSD.
- The cover of FCD says “A Must-Read for Students & Alum”. What is it about the series that you feel is important for students?
Finding impartial advice on campus is practically impossible. It’s much easier to just read FCD.
- Can we expect more from George, the main character in FCD and FMCD?
Oh yes. We haven’t seen the last of George.