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„Science Fiction, LMC3214: Concluding New Wave SF with Philip K. Dick and Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”” –

Dr. Jason W. Ellis’ Blog on Science Fiction, Neuroscience, and Digital Technology

In today’s class, I lectured on Philip K. Dick’s life (2-3-74) and work (characteristics: ontological, epistemological, entropy, empathy, religion, and the “little man”) to conclude my discussion of New Wave writers began in the last class. Then, I lectured on Star Trek and used Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever” as a bridge between the New Wave and popular, mainstream SF.

Tomorrow, we will begin our unit on Feminist SF and we will discuss readings by Pamela Zoline, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon).

„Science Fiction, LMC3214: New Wave Lecture and Three Story Discussion” –

Today’s class was like an exclamation point in two ways. First, there was the long stroke of lecture. I lectured on the origins of the New Wave in New Worlds, Judith Merril’s England Swings SF, and Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions. I gave my students background on semiotics, modernity/postmodernity, and modernism/postmodernism to anchor the New Wave (alas, arguing for a grand narrative while saying there ain’t such a thing). I talked more in-depth about the writers whose work we had read for today: J.G. Ballard, Harlan Ellison, and Samuel R. Delany. It was a long lecture, but it was material that I felt was important. Then, the hard dot fell after the pen raised from that long stroke! Students loved, “Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman.” Other students hated it. Students loved, “The Cage of Sand.” Other students hated it. We had a knock-down drag out discussion. It was a beautiful conclusion to a week of lectures, readings, and film viewings. Next week, we continue the New Wave. I will talk about other New Wave writers and we will watch the original Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Looking further ahead next week, we will discuss Feminist SF and watch James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

The Good, the Bad, and the No Place
In the summer of 2012, millions of people flooded movie theaters and sat
riveted as the latest Batman movie trilogy came to an end, and as the first installment
of the film version of Katniss EverdeenÕs story played out. The Dark Knight Rises
and The Hunger Games are only two of the many movies that premiered that summer,
but they are part of incredibly popular franchises, especially among teens and young
adults. These films stayed true to their sources, accurately portraying the bleak worlds
of BatmanÕs Gotham City and KatnissÕ Panem. With the popularity explosion of The
Hunger Games trilogy and the continuing longevity of Batman as a vigilante both in
graphic novels and on the movie screen, the magnetism between these dystopian
worlds and their audience is incredibly strong, but why? What makes the
unwelcoming landscapes in not only these series, but in the dystopian genre as a
whole, so appealing? …

Conceptualizing identity as performance in young adult dystopian literature

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