Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Neal on Neil and Neal

I know it's Masters week, but what better time to let the world know that I'm going to be teaching a summer course on Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson from May 28 through June 28 at SUNY Fredonia?

Here's how I've been pitching it on campus.

Summer Session I

Bring on the "Ne(a/i)ls":
Bruce Neal Simon Will Be Teaching Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson

ENGL 427 Major Writers: Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson

During Summer Session I, we will examine a sample of works from the major fantasy fiction writer and the major science fiction writer of their generation: Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson. We will start by pairing some shorter works that made the writers' early reputations (for instance, Gaiman's Sandman: Season of Mists and Stephenson's "Mother Earth, Mother Board" from Some Remarks). We will then pair Gaiman's (and Terry Pratchett's) Good Omens with Stephenson's Snow Crash as hugely popular and influential experiments in narrative, humor, and apocalypse. Finally, we will pair Gaiman's American Gods with Stephenson's Anathem as mature and major novels. If we have the time (and are completely insane), we will also try to pack in their most recent novels, Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Stephenson's Reamde--you know, for fun (these novels will be optional purchases)!

We will consider such questions as what makes a writer "major"? how do these very different writers speak to each other, to their own times, and to us? what connections and contrasts can we find between their characters and settings, characteristic themes and figures, central beliefs and values, writing styles and narrative strategies, and literary and political projects?

This course fulfills the "major author course" requirement for undergraduates majoring in English or English Adolescence Education.


spyder said...

Now that would be something i would love to experience; these are two of my favorite writers. Sadly, i am still in Spokompton and need to take off six weeks beginning on July 5th.

The Constructivist said...

I'll post the syllabus on the web, spyder, so feel free to read along! The students will be blogging over at my sf@SF blog--can make you an author there if you're interested!