Paper 3 Assignment (12/23/2013)
The final paper, due Monday, December 23, at 11 a.m. Topic proposals are due by e-mail on December 11.
Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” (12/13/2013)
This famous essay, by the science and technology scholar Donna Haraway, draws wonderful, loopy connections among feminism, left politics, technological developments, and SF. “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.” Optional reading but recommended, especially for those of you thinking about the boundaries of humanity in your final papers.
Ghosh (3) and course conclusion (12/09/2013)
The Calcutta Chromosome: conspiracy, incarnation, transmigration, and narrative disorder. The single slide is a chronological list of all the texts from the course, for the final course overview: what happened in SF in the last century?
Amitav Ghosh’s website (12/05/2013)
Ghosh has an extensive website, which is geared toward the promotion of his latest books, but which also contains links to earlier interviews and essays, several of which are quite relevant to The Calcutta Chromosome.
Lorem Gibson (12/05/2013)
Continue your reflections on Gibsonian style and the brand with this generator of Gibsonesque prose.
Ghosh (2) (12/05/2013)
No slides. Alternate history, secret history, counter-history. Evidence, documentation, replication, unreliability. An anthropological vision of science; colonial science; counter-science.
Ghosh (1) (12/02/2013)
No slides. The Calcutta Chromosome: Antar/‘Antar as a different kind of console jockey.
Gibson, concluded; Butler (11/26/2013)
No slides. Gibson: superspecificity and the brand; the order of telling vs. the order of events. Butler: reduction once more; questions of communication; the spectrum of “impairment” and its significance. A distinctively black experience of the city and its failed infrastructure.
No slides. “Burning Chrome”: cyberspace; cyberpunk; human and artificial.
No slides. “Her world exploded,” the first sentence of Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” and Delany’s account of SF as a mode of reading different from the “mundane.” “Aye, and Gomorrah…”: intersecting and layered racial and sexual differences; what passes for normal? Attempting to coordinate: African-American writing; queer writing; SF writing.
Delany, “The Significance of Science Fiction” (11/21/2013)
This essay by Delany, which is supplemental reading (but highly recommended), explains his theory of SF sentences and reflects on the status of SF in the early 1980s.
Paper 2 Assignment (11/20/2013)
The second paper, due November 20 at 5 p.m.
Lem, Aldiss, Herbert (11/18/2013)
No slides. Wrapping up on Ijon Tichy’s Seventh Voyage: humor and seriousness. Brief discussion of “Microx and Gigant”: why robot fables? Aldiss: the literary uses of the thinking machine. Herbert: how do we reiminagine the relation between humans and the planetary environment?
Star Trek/Lem (11/14/2013)
Discussion of “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and Jenkins’s article on fan writers; Lem’s “Seventh Voyage.”
Russ/Star Trek (11/11/2013)
Slides from our discussion of “When It Changed” and our initial remarks on Star Trek.
Le Guin, concluded; Zoline (11/07/2013)
The Left Hand of Darkness, concluded; Zoline, “The Heat Death of the Universe.” No slides. History in Le Guin. Is Estraven’s death meaningful? Zoline: entropic form, entropic content: when to welcome disorder.
Le Guin (4) (11/04/2013)
The Left Hand of Darkness, fourth session. No slides. The main discussion topics: TV Tropes and reading for recurrent pattern; Jameson’s argument about world reduction in Le Guin.
Le Guin (3) (10/31/2013)
The Left Hand of Darkness, third session. No slides. The main discussion topics was the chapter “The Question of Sex” and the implications of the Gethenian sex-gender system, including (1) the nature of that chapter’s narrator and (2) the posited utopian (?) consequences of a world of unfixed gender. Is there no sexual coercion in the novel?
Le Guin, “American SF and the Other” (10/28/2013)
Short essay, discussed in class, from an early Science Fiction Studies issue (vol. 2, no. 3 [November 1975]) on Le Guin’s work.
China Miéville interviews Le Guin (mp3) (10/28/2013)
2009 interview from BBC Radio; linked from Le Guin’s website. In class we listened to her comments on the status of science fiction, starting at 2:15.
Le Guin (2) (10/28/2013)
The Left Hand of Darkness, second session. No slides. The main discussion topics were: (1) Le Guin’s position-taking as a writer; (2) Le Guin’s statement “American SF and the Other” and its relation to the novel; (3) the Gethenian gender and male-female norms in the novel; (4) the foretelling scene.
Le Guin (1) (10/24/2013)
The Left Hand of Darkness, first session. No slides. The main discussion topics were: (1) placing Le Guin literary-historically by making comparisons to our earlier readings, including Rokeya, Lovecraft, Stone, Asimov, Pohl and Kornbluth, and Ballard; (2) looking at the way the novum of gender on Gethen is gradually unveiled or refracted in the opening chapters; (3) thinking about the inset tale in chapter 2.
Slides from the discussion of “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” and “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”
Slides from discussion of “The Cage of Sand.”
Pohl/Kornbluth (3) (10/14/2013)
These slides, not shown during class, give landmarks from our final discussion of The Space Merchants.
The New Spirit of Capitalism (10/14/2013)
Source for the “spirits of capitalism” handout from class: Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, “The New Spirit of Capitalism,” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 18 (2005): 161–88. This essay is a brief summary of their important book by the same title.
Pohl/Kornbluth (2) (10/10/2013)
These slides, not shown during class, give landmarks from our discussion.
Pohl/Kornbluth (1) (10/07/2013)
Slides from the first class on The Space Merchants.
Frederik Pohl: The Way the Future Blogs (10/07/2013)
Pohl’s blog, including material from his memoirs, with entries written between 2009 and Pohl’s death just last month.
Galaxy digitized (10/07/2013)
On the Internet Archive: scans of the key SF magazine, from the first issue (October 1950) to the end of 1959. The original publication of The Space Merchants was in the June, July, and August 1952 issues.
Reading SF in the 1940s (10/03/2013)
Slides from the discussion of reader responses to SF in the columns of Astounding, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Also: Sturgeon and Bradbury, concluded.
Paper 1 Assignment (10/02/2013)
The first paper, due October 2 at 5 p.m.
Asimov, Sturgeon, Bradbury (09/30/2013)
Class on “Reason,” “Thunder and Roses,” and “There Will Come Soft Rains.”
Stone and Hamilton (09/26/2013)
Class on “The Conquest of Gola” and “The Man Who Evolved.”
Lovecraft (2) (09/23/2013)
Class on “The Colour out of Space”.
Lovecraft (1) (09/19/2013)
Class on “The Call of Cthulhu”.
On Amazing Stories (09/16/2013)
Slides from class on this early (earliest?) SF pulp.
Edgar A. Poe, Tales (1845) (09/16/2013)
A scan of the first edition of Poe’s Tales, including “Mesmeric Revelation,” the story reprinted in Amazing Stories.
Questions of genre (09/12/2013)
Slides from the class on definitions of science fiction.
Wells and Rokeya (09/09/2013)
Slides from the second class.
Slides from the first class.
Star Wars Uncut (09/05/2013)
A brief excerpt was shown in class from this fan-made reshoot of Star Wars (i.e. Episode IV). An extended watching should unsettle quite a few stereotypes about Star Wars fans (not all).
Wells, “The Star” (ebooks@Adelaide) (09/05/2013)
Alternate source for this story, assigned for 9/9. Also in the Wesleyan Anthology.
Wells, “The Star” (Project Gutenberg) (09/05/2013)
Alternate source for this story, taken from the text of Wells’s collection The Door in the Wall and Other Stories.
The most up-to-date version of the course syllabus.