Friday, January 25, 2008

On Fantasy and Science Fiction

So the Full Metal Archivist and I have been catching up--very slowly--on the movies we missed while in Japan. And the nights she sleeps over in Buffalo (it's an evening class, morning internship, avoiding the Thruway in winter thing), I'm renting movies she has no interest in seeing. Last week we saw House of Flying Daggers and I saw A Scanner Darkly, and you know what? It would make a great study of what difference genre makes to a basically similar scenario to like, look at them together, closely. (Plus you could throw in Infernal Affairs and bring action movies into the mix and stretch the criteria for inclusion just to bring the wacky and unexpectedly deep Running on Karma along for the ride.)

Suffice to say this post shall not do this, not least because I'm still trying to figure out how to structure my science fiction course for the spring semester (on which more later). But I do wonder why there have been so many movies already this millennium that riff on the classic "what going undercover does to your identity/thin line between cops and criminals" themes?


spyder said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to structure my science fiction course for the spring semester (on which more later).

Thirty plus years ago, my friend and i put together a course for UCLA, then convinced the powers that be, that if they spent some of their real money, we could hire some legends (Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Ted Sturgeon and Ray Bradbury--all local LA residents at the time) to act as hosts for the weekly auditorium lectures. I have no clue as to where, in the plentitude of archive boxes down in the basement, the original syllabus may be hiding. IBM Selectrics and mimeograph machines not withstanding, we put together quite a program and served up our once a week 2+ hours to more than 700 students / session (we used one of the original campus public lecture halls that had been relegated to classroom status for the psychology department). Thus i would recommend you try to find some of the current aspiring legends to offer up some presentations.

My personal favorite of the ten sessions was the one moderated by Ted Sturgeon focusing on religion in science fiction. We covered the gambit of Heinlein, Herbert, Hubbard, Cordwainer Smith, Farmer, Bruner, Spinrad, etc., and so forthm and so on; and we still left dozens to future analysis and study. I look forward to reading more about your course!!

The Constructivist said...

Spyder, you're making me feel like I was born too late and on the wrong side of the continent. What a treat for those 700+ students! Given that our department actually has its own endowment and we're supposed to be spending more of it, I'll do my best to follow your advice.

My U actually has a pretty great sf collection, so I'm already trying to get the students using that. And I'm going to give them the option of contributing to an sf blog I'm creating today.

I won't be able to finish the syllabus till tomorrow, but when it's up I'll post a link!

The Constructivist said...

Here's the link to the course blog, sf@SF: