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It's only two days until the Countdown to Halloween begins! \o/ Have a great weekend, my friends.

*** I'll be speaking live tomorrow (via webinar) at the Free Minds Film Festival at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The festival will be screening my short film The Trail of Tears: They Knew It Was Wrong, which debuted online earlier this year.

*** I now have the schedule for Harry PotterFest 2012 at Lenoir-Rhyne University. All events are free and open to the public.

Monday, October 29, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
12pm: Yours Truly interviews Danielle Tumminio, author of God and Harry Potter at Yale
(a book signing will follow) at the Bear's Lair

*** Also, after much hemming and hawing, I have decided on the course outline/reading assignments for my online "Science Fiction, Part 2: From the New Wave to Tomorrow" class for graduate students and auditors this Spring at the Mythgard Institute. I'll post an update when registration is open. I'm very excited about it!

Week 1 (January 14-18):
The New Wave
“‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison (1965)
“We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick (1966)
“Aye, And Gomorrah…” by Samuel R. Delany (1967)

Week 2 (January 21-25):
“Literary” Science Fiction?
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)

Week 3 (January 28-February 1):
Women of Wonder
“When It Changed” by Joanna Russ (1972)
Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by James Tiptree, Jr. (1976)
“Speech Sounds” by Octavia Butler (1983)

Week 4 (February 4-8):
The Rise of Cyberpunk
Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)

Week 5 (February 11-15):
Science Fiction Goes to War
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1986)

Week 6 (February 18-22):
Steampunk and Space Opera
Lord Kelvin’s Machine by James P. Blaylock (the 1985 novelette version, not the 1992 novel)
The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)

Week 7 (February 25-March 1):
The Question of Time
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

Week 8 (March 4-8):
The Return of “Hard Science”
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (1994)

Week 9 (March 11-15):
First Contacts, Past and Future
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (1996)
“The Undiscovered” by William Sanders (1997)

Week 10 (March 18-22):
Intertextuality, Transformations, and Reimaginings
A Study in Scarlet, Part 1 (1887), “The Final Problem” (1893), and “The Adventure of the Empty House” (1894) by Arthur Conan Doyle
“The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft (1928)
A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman (2003)

Week 11 (March 25-29):
The Maturity of Young Adult Science Fiction
Genesis by Bernard Beckett (2006)

Week 12 (April 1-5):
The Future of the Genre
“Exhalation” by Ted Chaing (2008)
“Bridesicle” by Will McIntosh (2009)
“Movement” by Nancy Fulda (2011)

Happy Saturday to you!


Sep. 29th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
I find it hard to question any of those choices that I'm familiar with, though I don't personally like all of them. In some cases, I would have picked a different work to represent that author: For Delaney, either "Time Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones" (its crime drama strikes me as more interesting than the erotic punk idiom of "Aye, and Gomorrah") or "We, in Some Strange Power's Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line" (a re-envisioning of the Heinlein juvenile coming-of-age-through-service story in New Wave terms); for Chiang, the alternate-steampunk "Seventy-Two Letters." But certainly Delaney and Chiang both are natural choices.

But I'm somewhat surprised at who doesn't show up:

Cordwainer Smith, back in the New Wave category (that's how he was classified when he was writing), perhaps in "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" or "The Game of Rat and Dragon"
C. J. Cherryh, perhaps The Pride of Chanur, both a space opera (and a truer example of the genre than that particular Barrayaran story!) and a first contact story from an interesting angle
something for New Space Opera
something by Vernor Vinge in particular: perhaps A Fire upon the Deep to cover the New Space Opera base, though I think A Deepness in the Sky is a more powerful work of fiction; perhaps, on the other hand, "True Names," a cyberpunk story before there was cyberpunk
Sep. 30th, 2012 01:13 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you approve of most of the texts! I wanted to choose the best of the best, and also works I most enjoy teaching, and texts that allow me to reflect back on the themes from the first semester, as well.

As for the short stories, I also try to find a couple of good anthologies with choices that fit my lecture plans best and stick with those, rather than asking students to buy a different collection for every single short story we read. So that's an influence on my choices, too.

I definitely agree that Delany's "Time Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones" and "We, in Some Strange Power's Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line" are great stories, though "Aye" fits my needs very well, considering how I'm approaching the New Wave. I really do prefer "Exhalation" to "Seventy-Two Letters," though.

I should explain that I'm using the term "space opera" somewhat ironically, as I needed some "hook" there; I don't think term is often terribly useful (though sometimes it is), and I find that it's often used dismissively by others within the SF genre, so I'm hoping to interrogate it a bit using one of the best novellas there is, The Mountains of Mourning (which was one of the non-negotiables in this course for me), since Bujold often gets painted with that label. The focus will be on Bujold, though, and what the novella represents, and not the subgenre as a whole. Part of my goal here is to show the depth/breadth of SF and the "best of the best," and the Hugo and Nebula do reflect a certain consensus about that great work.

Vinge is always good, and he was on my longer list (trimming this down, as ever, was a wrenching exercise for me). I lost several texts that felt like amputations! But alas, so it goes. So few weeks and so many choices! Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback. I really do appreciate it.