• sf ecologies:
"The Secret Feminist Cabal is an extended answer to the question Helen Merrick asks in her introduction: ''why do I read feminist sf?'' In this wide-ranging cultural history we are introduced to a multiplicity of sf feminisms as Merrick takes readers on a tour of the early days of sf fandom, tracks the upheavals of the 1950s and 1960s and the explosions of feminist sf in the 1970s, and contextualizes subsequent developments in feminist sf scholarship. Her history is expansive and inclusive: it ranges from North America to the UK to Australia; it tells us about readers, fans, and academics as well as about writers, editors, and publishers; and it examines the often uneasy intersections of feminist theory and popular culture. Merrick brings things up to date with considerations of feminist cyberfiction and feminist science and technology studies, and she concludes with an intriguing review of the Tiptree Award as it illuminates current debates in the feminist sf community. Broadly informed, theoretically astute, and often revisionary, The Secret Feminist Cabal is an indispensable social and cultural history of the girls who have been plugged into science fiction. --Vernoica Hollinger, ed. Edging into the Future"
Phillips. 2007. James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon. Picador. 9780312426941.
"James Tiptree, Jr., burst onto the science fiction scene in the late 1960s with a series of hard-edged, provocative stories. He redefined the genre with such classics as Houston, Houston, Do You Read? and The Women Men Don't See. For nearly ten years he wrote and carried on intimate correspondences with other writers--Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, and Ursula K. Le Guin, though none of them knew his true identity. Then the cover was blown on his alter ego: "he" was actually a sixty-one-year-old woman named Alice Bradley Sheldon. A feminist, she took a male name as a joke--and found the voice to write her stories. Based on extensive research, exclusive interviews, and full access to Alice Sheldon's papers, Julie Phillips has penned a biography of a profoundly original writer and a woman far ahead of her time. -- Google books"
"The heart of Johnson's argument is something called the Sleeper Curve--a universe of popular entertainment that trends, intellectually speaking, ever upward, so that today's pop-culture consumer has to do more "cognitive work"--making snap decisions and coming up with long-term strategies in role-playing video games, for example, or mastering new virtual environments on the Internet-- than ever before. Johnson makes a compelling case that even today's least nutritional TV junk food–the Joe Millionaires and Survivors so commonly derided as evidence of America's cultural decline--is more complex and stimulating, in terms of plot complexity and the amount of external information viewers need to understand them, than the Love Boats and I Love Lucys that preceded it. When it comes to television, even (perhaps especially) crappy television, Johnson argues, "the content is less interesting than the cognitive work the show elicits from your mind." Johnson's work has been controversial, as befits a writer willing to challenge wisdom so conventional it has ossified into accepted truth. But even the most skeptical readers should be captivated by the intriguing questions Johnson raises, whether or not they choose to accept his answers. --Erica C. Barnett"
• sf textualities:
"So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy is an anthology of original new stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian, and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of colour. Stories of imagined futures abound in Western writing. Writer and editor Nalo Hopkinson notes that the science fiction/fantasy genre "speaks so much about the experience of being alienated, but contains so little writing by alienated people themselves." It's an oversight that Hopkinson and [Uppinder] Mehan aim to correct with this anthology. The wealth of postcolonial literature has included many who have written insightfully about their pasts and presents. With So Long Been Dreaming they creatively address their futures. With an introduction [actually cover blurb] by Hugo and Nebula Award-winner Samuel R. Delany. Contributors to So Long Been Dreaming are Opal Palmer Adisa, Celu Amberstone, Ven Begamudre, Tobias S. Buckell, Wayde Compton, Andrea Hairston, Maya Khankhoje, Tamai Kobayashi, Larissa Lai, Karin Lowachee, devorah major, Suzette Mayr, Carole McDonnell, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Eden Robinson, Nisi Shawl, Vandana Singh, Sheree R. Thomas, and Greg van Eekhout. -- Google books."
"A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes “Bloodchild,” winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and “Speech Sounds,” winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, “Amnesty” is a story of a woman aptly named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between humans and a species of invaders. Also new to this collection is “The Book of Martha” which asks: What would you do if God granted you the ability—and responsibility—to save humanity from itself? -- Seven Stories Press."
"Living in an altered past that never saw the end of the Great Depression, Jeannine, a librarian, is waiting to be married. Joanna lives in a different version of reality: she's a 1970s feminist trying to succeed in a man's world. Janet is from Whileaway, a utopian earth where only women exist. And Jael is a warrior with steel teeth and catlike retractable claws, from an earth with separate-and warring-female and male societies. When these four women meet, the results are startling, outrageous, and subversive. -- Beacon."
All readings are also on reserve at McKeldin Library. Several are new though and await library purchase. All will be on 24 hr. reserve. Links to descriptions of these books and their places of availability were the first things up on our class site. Notice how many of the books are available on the Kindle, an ebook reader. You do not need the Kindle device to read these, but can download an app for your computer/laptop or smart phone or iPad to read them without one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sa_menu_karl3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771 Some are available as Google eBooks. To learn how to read these on your computer, look at: http://books.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=185545&hl=en Usually the price is a bit lower for each of these, many available for less than $10, although you cannot resell such books. Please ensure access to as many of our course books as you can, bring those you have obtained or notes about them to the first class.
You are required to read these books, not to buy them, or even to own them. All are on reserve at McKeldin and many are available at other libraries. Share them, rent them, borrow them, xerox them, scan them. Fair use means producing copies for your own private research use. Of course you can help others in obtaining originals for such fair use copying. Always be sure to locate your books long before you need to read them, even if one or more turn out to be just coming out or even out of print. Find what you can and read them anyway! ISBN numbers are included to make ordering them easier if you wish to buy them.
Reading can be tricky in this class! You might try reading ahead regularly in order to begin work on the assignments at the right time. We have portions assigned on particular days to discuss, but often this is properly a REREADING, as you sometimes you should have read that a first time already. Notice that some days you have a choice of several readings to focus upon, say, 3 chapters out of 5 in a section of one book. This is to give us all the chance to hear about readings we may not have time to do ourselves by that point. That means you need to be able to tell others about the readings, making note taking and preparation even more important. However, by the end of class you should have read the entirety of each of our books.
Notice that you are assigned web research as well as readings. Put as much time into this as you do for reading and take it quite as seriously. Web reading and analysis is as important today as book reading is and should be done as carefully and with as much thought, not as a easy substitute for harder work: it IS the harder work! Similarly, everyone should spend time in McKeldin library, finding on the bookshelves stuff not available on computer databases. Schedule time on campus to do research in the library in person and to meet, face to face, with your partner/s or with other class buddies. Learn to cite your sources, web and print, carefully and conscientiously. This means keeping good records of them all.