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:
- 2011 Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge
- 2011 Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge
- 2011 Gothic Reading Challenge
- 2011 Off the Shelf Reading Challenge
* 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.)
The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth (1953)
Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald (1959)
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)
Available online here
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
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.)