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StarShipSofa has invited me back to do another live lecture event in the HoloDeck Workshop Series. I'm really looking forward to it!

The Hunger Games and the Science Fiction Tradition

How does the story of Katniss Everdeen – the District 12 tribute, the Girl on Fire, the Mockingjay -- fit into the genre tradition? Join award-winning scholar Amy H. Sturgis as she discusses The Hunger Games (both in book and film form) as science fiction. The lecture will consist of four sections followed by a live Q&A session. This two-hour event will take place 11am-1pm EST on September 1, 2012.

Part 1: Mythological Underpinnings

Where did Panem get its name? Is The Hunger Games missing a Minotaur? Like many authors of science fiction, Suzanne Collins built her fictional universe on the foundations of classical myths and the civilizations that game them life. This section will explore the history and legends that inspired The Hunger Games.

Part 2: Futuristic Science

What debt do the tracker jackers and mockingjays owe H.G. Wells? In the world of The Hunger Games, some human citizens of the Capitol alter themselves to resemble animals, while others alter animals to serve as agents of spy craft, torture, and execution. Genetic engineering, body modification, and the unintended consequences that occur when the natural and the human-made mix: we will trace the lineage of such concepts back to their roots in the modern beginnings of science fiction.

Part 3: Post-apocalyptic Landscapes and Dystopian Nightmares

The Hunger Games depicts a post-war, post-apocalyptic landscape just familiar enough to seem real – so real, in fact, that many fans have used the clues from the novels and film to construct maps of its borders. Its dystopian elements, from constant surveillance to propaganda wars, may also feel rather close to home for contemporary audiences. This section will fit The Hunger Games into the larger context of science fictional worlds gone wrong, drawing connections between Suzanne Collins and her predecessors, including Mary Shelley herself.

Part 4: Young Adult Heroes/Heroines in Science Fiction

Many reviews laud Katniss Everdeen as a new kind of heroine. But is she? Or is she simply the newest and best incarnation of a kind of young protagonist that science fiction has been celebrating for generations? We'll identify some of the key ancestors of Katniss and consider how she puts a new spin on a classic genre convention.

And here I am, being a ham...

Me at the filming site of District 12.

(The shirt doesn't make me Team Peeta, necessarily, just Team Fresh-Baked Bread. *wink*)

Click here for more information.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
Go you! (cute photo!)
Jul. 15th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much! :D
Jul. 10th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
No, I hadn't? Ha! Brilliant! Thank you for this. :)
Jul. 10th, 2012 11:32 am (UTC)

Did I read that the village was up for sale?? You should buy it! ;-)
Jul. 15th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)

It is indeed. If only I could find that $1.4 million I tucked aside for a rainy day... LOL. Wouldn't it be fun?
Jul. 10th, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
I've not read the book (though chorale has), but in seeing the film, I was repeatedly struck by how strongly it evoked Roman themes in its imagery. In particular, there seemed to be a lot about the ancient Roman idea of sacrifice—especially the idea that for a proper sacrifice the victim had to "consent," which was carefully engineered by trying to avoid doing anything that would frighten an animal as it was led to the altar. Of course Katniss is exceptionally, possibly uniquely "consenting" in that she was a volunteer, not a selectee, and her motives for volunteering were "pure"—she did it to save her sister, not to win fame for herself.

The "sacrifice" theme isn't all that strange a fit to the rest of the story; apparently Roman gladiatorial contests started out as religious rites of self-offering, which is why gladiators weren't in full armor. Though no doubt many gladiators' "consent" was as engineered as the consent in the Hunger Games.
Jul. 19th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is wonderfully thought-provoking! The image of "trying to avoid doing anything that would frighten an animal as it was led to the altar" is particularly haunting.

This fits very well my understanding of Collins's inspirations; her use of the chariots and such emphasizes your comparison to gladiatorial sports. (As does the name Panem, from "panem et circenses.")

I know she also drew quite consciously on the Greek myth of King Minos demanding the tribute of children to feed the Minotaur. No doubt the tributes' "consent" was engineered to a degree, as well.

Thanks so much for this fruitful line of thought!
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Jul. 11th, 2012 05:27 am (UTC)
Oh neat! Sound interesting.

Why are you so cute.
Jul. 19th, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks so much! I'm really tickled you think so.

Aw, thanks! I think it's far less cuteness than having my sweetheart serve as photographer. He's good luck for "photo shoots"! And he's resigned to the fact he has to keep taking more pictures until I'm satisfied with at least one. LOL.

Edited at 2012-07-19 02:38 pm (UTC)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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