Thanks hugely. This is going to be quite fun, educational, and interesting. I took the liberty of forwarding the links to three friends (co-conspirators) with whom, over the past five decades, i have shared myriads of science fiction conversations, reviews, and the passionate for public education.
That is so cool, spyder--thanks! Got any suggestions as to guests I should invite to the course?Ah, I found out today most of the students are taking the course out of curiosity (or so they claim!), so I've had to ratchet back my expectations a bit--we're down to 10 novels (Brin and Miller became recommended rather than required). Don't expect as much from us as you'll get from Kathleen Fitzpatrick's students over at race/gender/science fiction in the sf@SF blogroll. I suspect many will prefer to start out with posting on the private discussion board, a least at first. We'll see!
Now that you have established some degree of familiarity with him and some of his work, i think that James Killus is a great resource for a classroom conversation (and certainly online). Neal has his own weird way of communicating and connecting. "Knuth also provides the following quote from Umberto Eco: "I don't even have an e-mail address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages."In a recent review of one of my novels, I was described as "Umberto Eco without the charm" and so it should be pretty clear in what direction I am going.Some years ago, I wrote a document that tried to explain why I am not very diligent about answering my mail, and why I only accept speaking engagements on rare and special occasions. The document is entitled Why I am a bad correspondent and you are welcome to read it." I would also recommend Bruce Sterling, who has been fairly open and engaging over the years, particularly at Burning Man. I think he can still be reached through any of his offshoot websites or WIRED. He also has co-authored material with William Gibson, so bridging one may lure the other. I also think Vernor Vinge would make a great guest as well. He has done a lot of thinking and writing on transhuman developments a la Kurzweil et al. You could always as Margaret Atwood; or even more provocative and expansive would be Ursula K. Le Guin.
spyder, thanks for the suggestions. I guess I'm finding it hard to believe people of that stature would trek all the way out to the shores of a recently-frozen-then-unfrozen-then-frozen-again Lake Erie to speak to a class of 25 students or so who are mostly taking the class because it seemed slightly more interesting than whatever else had available seats at the time they signed up. Especially legends I "snubbed," so to speak, by not teaching them in either version of the course. Now an online thing I can perhaps imagine, at least with some of them....Let me work up the courage tomorrow and Friday and see what I can come up with by way of an invitation.
Earth Abides! Very nice. One of my favorites. i also do not think of it specifically as Science Fiction, but can see it classified as such. It really is one of my favorite books (I think I mentioned it once or twice over at MB's place.) In some ways a kindler and gentler apocalypse (through the device of the narrator's being away for the real ugly), although the Charlie episode jars you back a bit. He hits a lot of subtle elements well. He was an interesting writer, the other book of his I own is Names on the Land about American place names.
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