Of science fiction and book reviews

My friend Walter has a new book review up at Bookslut on Samuel R. Delaney’s Starboard Wine. It’s about science fiction writing, his own journey with the genre and so-called literary fiction, and how he came back to science fiction. To say it’s thought provoking would be an understatement. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we write and discuss popular culture, partly because of an essay I’m writing on Doctor Who, Christmas, and Victorian afterlives and partly because I’ve been thinking about my cultural studies course this Fall. One of the central tensions in writing about pop culture for an academic who is also a fan is that academic discourse and fan discourse are not the same even if they get at similar ideas at times. It’s a balancing act my students don’t always quite understand, even though the best essays from that class last Spring were the ones where students were passionate fans of the show or film they were discussing. I’m trying to work in looking at fan discourse versus academic discourse into the class, although I’m not sure how yet. This essay might end up on the reading list though.

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