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Various and Sundry

Happy Hanukkah to all of my friends who celebrate the holiday. And happy belated birthday to tuesday_darling. I hope your day was a special one.


I have a few quick notes...


* Last call for holiday cards! If you'd like a card from me this year, please respond here. Thanks!


* I thought one or more of these 2011 Reading Challenges might be of interest to some of my friends:


* It's time again for the nomination round of the annual Sofanaut Awards, hosted by StarShipSofa! All listeners are invited to vote once in this round (but you may vote for as many different entries in each category as you wish). I am eligible for nomination in the Best Narrator category (as Amy H. Sturgis) and the Best Fact Article Contributor (for my regular "Looking Back at Genre History" segments). Regardless of which nominees you choose to support, I do hope you'll take part. Voting is here, and no registration is necessary. Thanks so much for participating!


* I will be teaching two courses in the Spring, one undergraduate and one graduate, both on the same topic: "Stories of Worlds Gone Wrong: The Dystopian Tradition."

From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition): "dys·to·pi·a (dĭs-tō'pē-ə): 1.An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror."

Over the centuries, thinkers have used dystopias -- stories of worlds gone wrong, of worst-case scenarios -- to warn their contemporaries about what they viewed as dangerous trends in politics, economics, science, religion, and/or popular culture. This class will consider a variety of historical and current dystopias in literature, film, television, and music. Students will explore the specific conditions that inspired these dystopias, the general warnings inherent in them, and the broad trends in dystopias over time.



"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster (1909)
Available online here

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1924) (It is important to get the Natasha Randall translation.)
ISBN: 978-0812974621

The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth (1953)
ISBN: 978-0312749514

Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald (1959)
ISBN: 978-0299200640

"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)
Available online here

The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)
ISBN: 978-0446675505

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
ISBN: 978-0439023481

One novel and one film of each student's choice from the lists of options provided by Dr. Sturgis.



* I was right: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is even more enjoyable on the second viewing. Yay!


I'll leave you with one of the wonderfully informative and inspirational public service announcements produced by the Chickasaw Nation:




"Data! Data! Data!" he cried impatiently. "I can't make bricks without clay."
- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," by Arthur Conan Doyle (<-I'm almost finished reading my fourth book in the Holmesian canon in proper order of publication, and I'm loving it.)

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
whswhs
Dec. 2nd, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
chorale and I enjoyed Deathly Hallows 1 a lot; it seemed to have both a much tighter narrative focus on the dramatically meaningful choices of the characters, and a stronger sense of the grim political reality surrounding Magical Britain, a bizarre combination of medievalism and totalitarianism with hardly a trace of the Enlightenment that came in between. I look forward to 2.

I have to say, though, that having watched the character interactions, I feel that Harry's relationship with Ginny makes even less sense than it does in the books; either Hermione or Luna would be a more plausible love interest for him. In fact, really, the only Weasleys who aren't a waste of space are Fred and George, as far as I'm concerned.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
it seemed to have both a much tighter narrative focus on the dramatically meaningful choices of the characters, and a stronger sense of the grim political reality surrounding Magical Britain, a bizarre combination of medievalism and totalitarianism with hardly a trace of the Enlightenment that came in between.

Exactly! That's really a fantastic description. What you said. :)

I'm a fan of several of the Weasleys, especially Arthur, but I do see what you mean about Harry's relationship with Ginny, especially in this movie. When the platonic cheer-you-up dance in the tent ended, it was clear that Hermione was thinking of Ron, but it wasn't clear that Ginny was on Harry's mind, too. There were several missed opportunities to bring this point home and make the interrupted kiss at the beginning seem less random and more central to the overall story (not to mention more of a key to Harry's own motivations).
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
PS. Fred and George are going to break my heart in the next film. I can already see it coming.
lizziebelle
Dec. 2nd, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
I went to vote, but the link took me to the "thank you for voting" page.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 2nd, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oops! I'm so sorry. Thank you for letting me know. I believe this should work much better. I'll edit my post to reflect this. Thanks again for taking part!
lizziebelle
Dec. 2nd, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Voting accomplished! Thanks! :)
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
sneezythesquid
Dec. 3rd, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
Hey, does Starship Sofa (which is excellent, btw), do promo exchanges with other podcasts?
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! You bet. Just drop Tony a line here. He's glad to run promos! (You can tell him I sent you. *g*)
sneezythesquid
Dec. 5th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
Cool, I shall make sure this happens!
crazywritergirl
Dec. 3rd, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)
Here's another reading challenge: Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge (for MG & YA authors).

http://www.thestorysiren.com/2010/11/2011-debut-author-challenge.html
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 3rd, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oooh, great! I hadn't heard of this one. Thanks! I'll be sure to link to it in my next post, too.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )