Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Episode #6: Fantasy and Sci-Fi

This is our seventh episode, and we're finally talking about literature. It oughta be up on Feedburner and iTunes sometime this afternoon.

General Introduction
- Things were busy while David was gone.
- Brief feedback notices.

A Moment of Confession; or, It’s All Geek to Me

- Nathan Gilmour, dungeon-master extraordinaire
- Michial’s Back to the Future obsession
- Has David ever read anything without dwarves in it?
- “Oh, not another [expletive] elf!”

How does speculative fiction relate to mundane reality?

- Questions at the borders of our knowledge
- Humanity as an aesthetic category
- Science fiction and the novel of ideas
- Sex and science
- Realities of human experience
- How black-and-white is the world of fantasy literature?

Speculative fiction and literary realism

- Metaphor and literality
- Madeleine L’Engle’s probable vs. possible
- Separate spheres or cross-pollination?
- Fantasy novel as novel

Ideas in Fantasy Literature

- Interiority interacting with fantastic elements
- Proliferation of Tolkeinian beings
- The nonhuman face of humanity
- To be human means to have potential

Ideas in Science Fiction
- Walker Percy’s ontological lapsometer and the Cartesian split
- Disembodied heads galore!
- How death leads to life
- Man and technology

Christians and Speculative Fiction

- Should Christians read about witchcraft?
- Why witchcraft doesn’t mean today what it used to mean
- The shift from romance to realism
- The materialism of science fiction
- Why is Carl Sagan so lonely?
- The evolution of the vampire

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation.
Trans. Seamus Heaney. New York: Norton, 2001.

Card, Orson Scott. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. New York: Writer’s Digest, 2001.

Chesterton, G.K. Tremendous Trifles: Humorous Sketches. New York: WLC, 2009.

Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.

Gilgamesh: A New English Version. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. New York: Free Press, 2006.

Gibson, William. Count Zero. New York: Ace, 2006.

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. New York: North Point Press, 2000.

Percy, Walker. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book. New York: Picador, 2000.

---. Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World. New York: Picador, 1999.

Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. New York: Penguin, 1979.

Tolkein, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume Edition. New York: Mariner, 2005.

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