ENGL 6650/7650—Special Topics in Popular Culture Studies:

James Tiptree, Jr. & Science Fiction

Summer Session 3, 2014 (7/7-8/8/2014)

Days—TWR | Room—PH 322 | Time—215-515

About This Course | About David Lavery | Texts | Seminarians | Websites/Links | Power Points | Agenda

 About This CourseThis summer graduate course will be a wide-ranging and intensive examination of science fiction literature and culture as seen through/against the central focus of the writing and completely amazing life of James Tiptree, Jr. (Dr. Alice Sheldon). We will not only read two collections of her fiction and non-fiction and Julie Phillips' award-winning biography (the author will speak to the class via Skype), but a wide variety of exemplary short works of SF as well, familiarizing ourselves in the process with the genre, its nature, lexicon, history, key figures, and subgenres. The course will prepare students to develop and teach their own college level courses on science fiction. 

Dr. David Lavery

Office—PH 316 | Office Hours—TBA | E-mail—david.lavery@mtsu.edu | david.lavery@gmail.com | Office Phone/Voice-Mail—615-898-5648 | Home Page—http://davidlavery.net/

Dr. David Lavery is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor in the English Department at Middle Tennessee State University. He earned his undergraduate degree at Clarion State University in Pennsylvania, which became the nexus of the famous "Clarion Workshops" that played a pivotal role in the development of late 20th Century science fiction, his MA at St. Cloud State University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida. The recipient of MTSU's 2006 Distinguished Research Award, he is the author of over one hundred and fifty published essays, chapters, and reviews, and the author / co-author / editor / co-editor of twenty two books, including Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait—From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers, TV Goes to Hell—An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural, The Essential Cult Television Reader, and The Essential Sopranos Reader. The co-convener of international conferences on the work of Joss Whedon and The Sopranos, co-founder of the Whedon Studies Association, and founding editor of the journals Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association and Critical Studies in Television, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), Information (Netherlands), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London.



11 Faces of Doctor Who (Entertainment Weekly) | 21 Books That Changed Science Fiction and Fantasy Forever | 25 Worst Science Fiction Films | 40 Greatest Science Fiction Posters | 100 Best SF Novels | Author Spolight—James Tiptree, Jr. | Stephen Burt, "Author, Feminist, Pioneer—The Unlikely Queen of Sci-Fi" [NPR] | Lewis Call, "'This Wondrous Death'—Erotic Power in the Science Fiction of James Tiptree, Jr." | John Clute, Introduction to Her Smoke Rose Up Forever | Cyberpunk | Encyclopedia of Science Fiction | Dave Itzkoff, "Alice's Alias" (Review of Phillips) | Mark Siegel, "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death" | Lavery, Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age | Lavery, "Magic Terminal Trip" | NPR's Top 100 Fantasy and Science Fiction Books | Prophets of Science Fiction | The Real History of Science Fiction (BBC) | Science Fiction Authors: A Chronology | SF Definitions | SF Genres/Subgenres | SF Lexicon | Speculative Fiction Database | Thoughts on Science | Thoughts on Space | Utopias/Dystopias | Websites | Wikipedia—James Tiptree, Jr.


Sara Hays [Gene Roddenberry] | Cheryl Renee Jensen [Stan Lee] | Jennifer Kickliter [Doctor Who] | Alexander Locke [Mary Shelley] | Greta Smith [Sherri Tepper] | Dennis Wise [Karel Čapek]

Course Requirements

Writing—Completion of two essays/projects (feel free to consult with me about your choices of topic(s).

[A] (1) A study of a single science fiction story, film, or television episode, or a comparison/contrast of two or more | or (2) an essay-review of an important work of science fiction theory/criticism or a collection. Go here to learn more. Go here to see a list of pre-accepted books. This assignment (CE/BR) will be a critical essay written from your own perspective and need not rely on secondary sources.  Length—1500 words (MA students) / 2,000 words (PhD students). OR (3) Development of a course syllabus for a college level science fiction class. Go here to learn more. Weight30% of grade.

[B] (1) A study of a theme / issue / controversy / subgenre / theoretical issue, etc. or (2) a study of a single science fiction figure [all the figures in the 50KSFF are pre-approved | others require my approval]. This assignment (SP) will be a source paper, incorporating the ideas and insights of other critics and scholars. Length—2000 words (M.A. students/4,000 words (Ph.D. students). Weight50% of grade.

Due: Oneyour choiceby 7/25/14 | a secondyour choiceby 8/8/14. Submit via the appropriate D2L drop boxes. 

Class Participation—(1) daily involvement in class discussion | (2) presentation of a "Key Figures in Science Fiction" of your choice (make your claim via e-mail [david.lavery@mtsu.edu]. Each presenter will have approximately 15 minutes for his/her presentation, which may include a Power Point/Prezi, a handout, clip(s), etc. Go here to learn more.] | (3) other presentations as assigned. | Weight20% of grade.


HSRUF MMI JTDLAS (the author, Julie Phillips, will speak with the class via SKYPE) 50KFSF  BNW DOSMO WASF

Click on the cover of each book to go to its Amazon page or order online from any other seller.

Power Points

Meetings—Syllabus | Tiptree | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

SF Extrapolations— Cyberpunk | Dystopias/UtopiasKafka/Borges/Calvino/Pynchon | SF Definitions | SF Movies | SF Television | SF Subgenres | Steampunk | Time Travel

Miscellaneous—Franco Brambilla, "Invading the Vintage" | The Clarion Workshops | Cosmic Calendar | Firefly / Serenity | Futurama / MST 3000 | Gnosticism | Griffin | i09 SF Definitions | Science Fiction Authors | Science Fiction Lexicon | Watson, "A Letter from God"



7/8/14 | Meeting 1: Introduction to the CourseHSRUF"The Last Flight of Dr. Ain" (1969) | MMIBiographical Sketch for Contemporary Authors; Contemporary Authors Interview; “Comment on ‘The Last Flight of Dr. Ain’” | Power PointsSyllabus; Meeting 1; Tiptree | SF ExtrapolationsSF Definitions (I)

7/9/14 | Meeting 2: HSRUF"And So On, and So On" (1971) | "The Man Who Walked Home" (1972) | MMI“If You Can’t Laugh at It, What Good Is It?” | 50KFSFShelley [Locke] / Verne / Wells | DOSMOIntroduction | WASFNathaniel Hawthorne, "Rappaccini's Daughter" (1844) | Jules Verne, excerpt from Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) | H. G. Wells, "The Star" (1897) | E. M. Forster, "The Machine Stops" (1909) | Power PointsMeeting 2  | SF ExtrapolationsSF Definitions (II) | ScreeningProphets of Science Fiction: Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells

7/10/14 | Meeting 3: HSRUF"On the Last Afternoon" (1972) | "And I Have Come Upon This Place By Lost Ways" (1972) | MMI“In the Canadian Rockies”; “I Saw Him Spitting Teeth, Our Hero—” | 50KFSFČapek [Wise] / Gernsback / Stapledon | DOSMO"The Right to Lie" | WASFEdmond Hamilton, "The Man Who Evolved" (1931) | Leslie F. Stone, "The Conquest of Gola" (1931) | C. L. Moore, "Shambleau" (1933) | Stanley Weinbaum, "A Martian Odyssey" (1934) [hear it read on YouTube]| Power PointsMeeting 3 | SF ExtrapolationsSF Subgenres | Screening"Jose Chung's From Outer Space" | "Generation X: The X-Files and the Cultural Moment"

7/15/14 | Meeting 4: HSRUF"And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side" (1972) | "The Women Men Don't See" (1973) | MMI“Do You Like It Twice?”; “The Voice from the Baggie”; “Maya Méloob”; “Looking Inside Squirmy Authors” | 50KFSFAnderson / Asimov / Ballard / Banks | DOSMO"Poe, Our Embarrassing Ancestor"| WASFIsaac Asimov, "Reason" (1941) | Clifford Simak, "Desertion" (1944) | Theodore Sturgeon, "Thunder and Roses" (1947) | Judith Merril, "That Only a Mother" (1948) | Power PointsMeeting 4  | SF ExtrapolationsSF Subgenres (II) | ScreeningProphets of Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov

7/16/14 | Meeting 5: HSRUF"The Girl Who Was Plugged In" (1973) | "Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death" (1973) | MMI“The Laying On of Hands”; “Going Gently Down, or, In Every Young Person There Is an Old Person Screaming to Get Out”; “The Spooks Next Door”; “Harvesting the Sea” | 50KFSFBaudrillard / Bear / Bester / Clarke | DOSMO"From the Earth to the Moonin 101 Years" | WASFFritz Leiber, "Coming Attraction" (1950) | Ray Bradbury, "There Will Come Soft Rains" (1950) | Arthur C. Clarke, "The Sentinel" (1951) | Robert Sheckley, "Specialist" (1953) | Power PointsMeeting 5 | SF Extrapolations—SF—Subgenres (III) | Screening—Prophets of Science Fiction: Arthur C. Clarke

7/17/14 | Meeting 6: HSRUF"Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" (1974) | "Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light!" (1976) |  MMI“Afterword to ‘HSRUF’” | 50KFSFBrackett / Butler / Cronenberg [Cronenberg on Cronenbergvideo] / Delany | DOSMO"How Science Fiction Diffused the Bomb" | WASFWilliam Tenn, "The Liberation of Earth" (1953) | Alfred Bester, "Fondly Fahrenheit" (1954) | Avram Davidson, "The Golem" (1955) | Cordwainer Smith, "The Game of Rat and Dragon" (1955) | Power PointsMeeting 6 | SF Extrapolations—Cyberpunk | Stelarc

7/22/14 | Meeting 7: HSRUF"A Momentary Taste of Being" (1975) | MMI“More Travels, or, Heaven Is Northwest of You”; “With Tiptree Through the Great Sex Muddle”; “Quintana Roo—No Travelog This Trip”; Review of The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin | 50KFSFDick / Egan / Gibson / Haraway | DOSMO"Star Trek, or the Future as a Lifestyle" | WASFRobert Heinlein, "All You Zombies—" (1959) | J.G. Ballard, "The Cage of Sand" (1962) | R. A. Lafferty, "Slow Tuesday Night" (1965) | Harlan Ellison, "`Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" (1965) [Wise] | Power PointsMeeting 7 | SF Extrapolations—Steampunk | ScreeningProphets of Science Fiction: Philip K. Dick

7/23/14 | Meeting 8: HSRUF"She Waits for All Men Born" (1976) | "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" (1976) | MMI“Note on ‘Houston, Houston, Do You Read’” 50KFSFHeinlein / Herbert / Hopkinson / Hubbard | DOSMO"Can Girls Play, Too? Feminizing Science Fiction" | WASFFrederik Pohl, "Day Million" (1966) | Philip K. Dick, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" (1966) | Samuel R. Delany, "Aye, and Gomorrah ..." (1967) | Pamela Zoline, "The Heat Death of the Universe" (1967) | Power PointsMeeting 8 | SF Extrapolations—Dystopias/Utopias | Screening—Prophets of Science Fiction: Robert Heinlein

7/24/14 | Meeting 9: HSRUF"The Screwfly Solution" (1977) | "We Who Stole the Dream" (1978) | MMI“How to Have an Absolutely Hilarious Heart Attack, or, So You Want to Get Sick in the Third World”; “The First Domino”; “Everything but the Signature ls Me”; “The Lucky Ones” | 50KFSFJones / Kneale / Kubrick / Lee [Jensen] | DOSMO"When You Wish Upon a StarScience Fiction as a Religion" | WASFRobert Silverberg, "Passengers" (1968) | Brian Aldiss, "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" (1969) | Ursula K. Le Guin, "Nine Lives" (1969) | Frank Herbert, "Seed Stock" (1970) | Screening: Stan Lee on Big Bang Theory | Power PointsMeeting 9 | Kubrick's SF | SF Extrapolations—SF Movies (I)

7/29/14 | Meeting 10: HSRUF"Slow Music" (1980) | "With Delicate Mad Hands" (1981) | MMI“Something Breaking Down”; “Dzo’oc U Ma’an U Kinil—An Incident on the Cancun Road, Yucatan”; “Not a New Zealand Letter”; “S.O.S. Found in an SF Bottle” | 50KFSFLeGuin / Lem / Lucas / Mamoru | DOSMO"Republicans on Mars—Science Fiction as Military Strategy" | WASFStanislaw Lem, "The Seventh Voyage" from The Star Diaries (1971) | Joana Russ, "When It Changed" (1972) | James Tiptree, Jr., "And I Awoke and Found Me Here On the Cold Hill's Side" (1973) | John Varley, "Air Raid" (1977) | "The Secret History of Star Wars": Marcia Lucas | Power PointsMeeting 10 | SF Extrapolations—SF Movies (II) | Screening—Prophets of Science Fiction: George Lucas

7/30/14 | Meeting 11: MMI“How Do You Know You're Reading Philip K. Dick?”; Review of Kayo; “Zero at the Bone”; “A Woman Writing Science Fiction”| 50KFSFMieville / Moorcock / A. Moore / C. L. Moore | DOSMO"The Third World and Other Alien Nations" | WASFCarol Emshwiller, "Abominable" (1980) | William Gibson, "Burning Chrome" (1981) | Octavia Butler, "Speech Sounds" (1983) | Nancy Kress, "Out of All Them Bright Stars" (1985) | Power PointsMeeting 11 | SF Extrapolations—SF Movies (III) | ScreeningChina Miéville: "The Limits of Utopia" | The Mindscape of Alan Moore

7/31/11 | Meeting 12: 50KFSFRobinson / Roddenberry [Hays] / Russ / Spielberg | DOSMO"The Future of an Illusion—Science Fiction Beyond the Year 2000" | WASFPat Cadigan, "Pretty Boy Crossover" (1986) | Kate Wilhelm, "Forever Yours, Anna" (1987) | Bruce Sterling, "We See Things Differently" (1989) | Misha Nogha, "Chippoke Na Gomi" (1989) | Power PointsMeeting 12 | SF Extrapolations—SF Television (I) | ScreeningThe Real History of Science Fiction: Space

8/5/14 | Meeting 13: JTDLABSDiscussion (I) | 50KFSFStephenson / Straczynski / Suvin | WASFEileen Gunn, "Computer Friendly" (1989) | John Kessel, "Invaders" (1990) | Gene Wolfe, "Useful Phrases" (1992) | Greg Egan, "Closer" (1992) | Power PointsMeeting 13 | SF Extrapolations—SF Television

8/6/14 | Meeting 14: JTDLABSDiscussion (II) | 50KFSFTepper [Smith] / Doctor Who [Kickliter] / Wolfe | WASFJames Patrick Kelly, "Think Like a Dinosaur" (1995) | Geoff Ryman, "Everywhere" (1999) | Charles Stross, "Rogue Farm" (2003) | Ted Chiang, "Exhalation" (2008) | 11 Faces of Doctor Who  (Entertainment Weekly) | Power Points—Meeting 14 | SF Extrapolations—Claiming Literature as SF—Kafka/Borges/Calvino/Pynchon; Time Travel