Summer School’s Done

I’m headed to the woods for some post class reflection in the Blue Ridge, but a few words first about the Online Fiction experiment.  While my experience teaching sf and fantasy in recent years to a largely “mundane” audience has been that the genres are much more accessible to a general readership than is generally supposed, the most lauded fiction online by the sf community was the least successful with my students.  For good reason too.  “The Things” is symptomatic.  It depends for its success on more than a passing knowledge of a 1982 sf film, like everybody the story cares to reach has that, right?  I like the film, but it’s not exactly the gospels or the Odyssey.  “Spar” once you wade through all those fucks doesn’t do much past the shock value.  Geeks can say fuck too.  I wanted the debriefing.  Most successful with the class was probably “Light on the Water” for the impressive feat of making us care about a love story between buildings.  I liked “Standard Loneliness Package” but found it too similar to the IMO superior “Daughter of the Monkey God,” by M. K. Hobson, which can be found in Ellen Datlow’s stunning e-collection Digital Domains.  It’s full of gems.  Meanwhile I’m reading Bleak House to cleanse the palate.

2 thoughts on “Summer School’s Done

  1. I think the most daunting aspect of the online material was the need to read it on the computer, where the rest of the course gave me a chance to relax and reflect anywhere that I felt comfortable. However, I have to admit the host sites were clean and put together well. True, I read online often, but when I’m out of my element, I enjoy being able to write on the book and read it over again when I multitask during other things-standing in line, doctors office, etc. These are almost worthless complaints however, because I felt the content was substantial. The whole fact that I felt out of place, especially for the science fiction stories, gave me a chance to escape my tunnel vision of rationality for a short time. I notice more and more often that I don’t get the full impact of fictional material I read or watch until several sleep cycles later.

    My movie(s) in class vote gets transferred to Biutiful, so long as it is considered fantasy enough. It carries the drama category strongly, but the supernatural elements added immensely to the social themes of the film.

    On top of the that, my girlfriend and I have been tackling the fantasy movie list on our own. We’ve been real pleased with it, especially ‘Primer’, where I love the idea of a constrained budget that dotes heavily in science and math, plus a mathematician polymath writer/producer/actor/etc. I can relate to his need to do everything related to the project including music.

    We are real appreciative of the new perspective.

    Best wishes,

  2. Great to hear from you, Aaron. I put all the online stories on my Kindle, which made it much easier to read. If I had to read everything off my computer screen, I couldn’t do it. You can always print the stuff too, but this was the class of broken printers! Not all the films on that list are recommended, by the way; they’re just fantasy. Some stink.

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