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Happy birthday, Emily Brontë!

Happy birthday to Emily Brontë (30 July, 1818 – 19 December, 1848)!

Wuthering Heights

“Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.”
- Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)

Happy early birthday also to tudorpumpkin, xjenavivex, lizziebelle, zmaddoc, supermusicmad, wiccagirl24, febobe, manzanas_verdes, gamgeefest, janissa11, lucybun, asahifirsa, baka_kit, gabrielle_h, onegoat, mbranesf, roo2, darthsindel1981, ceosanna, amygrech, roozette, super_chik, dement1a, and funkyturtle. May you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
Reminder: I'll be giving my live online lecture “The Jedi, the Cowboy, and… Thomas Edison?: Pulp Science Fiction and Star Wars for the Mythgard Academy Guest Lecture Series on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 3:00 pm ET. Everyone is welcome! There is no cost. Save your virtual seat by registering for the talk here. The Guest Lecture Series site has more information on the lecture here.

If you missed David Brin's wonderful talk and Q&A session ("Can Science Fiction Change the World?"), have no fear! It's now online for free access both as a video and as audio only. Enjoy!


The next two online events in Mythgard Institute's Guest Lecture Series are all about science fiction. You're invited to attend live for free!

DAVID BRIN will give his talk “Can Science Fiction Change the World?” on Saturday, 25 July, 2015 at 6:00pm ET. There's no cost, but virtual space is limited, so register now to reserve your seat!

David Brin is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant, and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula, and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. Some of his best-known novels include Earth, The Postman (filmed in 1997), and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. A leading commentator and speaker on modern trends, his nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy. He has served since 2010 on the council of external advisers for NASA’s Innovative and Advanced Concepts group (NIAC), which supports the most inventive and potentially ground-breaking new endeavors. In 2013, David Brin helped to establish the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, where he was honored as a “distinguished alumnus” and where he was thereafter a Visiting Scholar in Residence.

Brin’s newest novel Existence explores the ultimate question: billions of planets are ripe for life. So where is Everybody? David’s main thread: how will we shape the days and years ahead – and how will tomorrow shape us?

As for myself, AMY H. STURGIS, I will give my talk “The Jedi, the Cowboy, and… Thomas Edison?: Pulp Science Fiction and Star Wars on Saturday, 15 August at 3:00 pm ET. There's no cost, but virtual space is limited, so register now to reserve your seat!

You know me (and if you don't, here is my website). Below is the official synopsis of my talk:

What images come to mind when you think of Star Wars? Luke Skywalker watching the twin suns set on Tatooine? Princess Leia with a blaster in her hand and buns on her head? The glow of a lightsaber in the darkness? These visuals convey volumes, and they spring in part from a common origin.

One of the keys to the worldwide success of Star Wars is that the saga draws from a variety of global sources, both classical and contemporary. Join Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she discusses one particular tradition that has left its indelible imprint on the Star Wars franchise. How did pulp science fiction evolve? What is the relationship between this genre and the Western? And how can tracing the pulp ancestry of Star Wars give us new insights on key moments and messages across the Star Wars canon — and quite possibly shed light on the forthcoming film The Force Awakens? Star Wars fans and newbies alike are welcome!

Please spread the word if you know of others who might be interested! Thanks so much. I hope to see you at these talks.

Happy birthday, Ann Radcliffe!

Happy birthday to the mother of the Gothic, Ann Radcliffe (9 July, 1764 – 7 February, 1823).

Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe

“A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness. Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking; and the temptations of the world without, will be counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within.”
― Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)


Happy birthday, Robert Heinlein!

Happy birthday to Robert A. Heinlein (7 July, 1907 – 8 May, 1988)!


“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.”
- Robert A. Heinlein, The Rolling Stones (1952)


Lovecraftian Goodness

Can you spin a tale like H.P. Lovecraft? The Providence Journal is holding a short-story contest seeking original tales of terror that exemplify the best of H. P. Lovecraft's "weird fiction." Check out the details here.

And speaking of Lovecraft, there's this.


So this happened.

Last night at the 57th Southern California Journalism Awards ceremony, my Reason article "Not Your Parent's Dystopias: Millennial Fondness for Worlds Gone Wrong" won the 2015 award for Best Magazine Review/Criticism/Column. The Los Angeles Press Club kindly added these official comments: "What a great job of looking at dystopias past and present through a cultural lens. Regardless of where the future takes us, Amy H. Sturgis has done a great job of explaining how writers and others have gotten us where we are."

My sincere thanks to the L.A. Press Club for this honor! Congratulations to the other winners and nominees.

From Reason Magazine

Happy early birthday wishes to lynn_maudlin, morningapproach, gods_lil_rocker, splix, divadiane1, markbourne, sunshinedew, ithildyn, melissagay, faramirgirl, agentxpndble, arymetore, caster121, syrcleoftrees, ghislainem70, and johnjosephadams. May you all enjoy many happy returns of the day!


Happy Birthday, George Orwell!

Happy birthday to George Orwell (25 June, 1903 – 21 January, 1950)!

The Stanmore lanes project, again, NO STOPPING, Wikileaks

“Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”
― George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)


Happy Birthday, Octavia Butler!

Happy birthday to Octavia Butler (22 June, 1947 – 24 February, 2006)!

R.I.P. Octavia Butler

“In order to rise
From its own ashes
A phoenix

― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents (1998)


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