This week’s readings

Bunch ‘o links posted on the Schedule. Please have a look at the titles specifically mentioned; in most cases, I have only asked you to browse, though there are three stories I would like us all to read. Please blog about your experiences in the wilds of pulp-dom, and link to anything interesting you stumble across. We are exceptionally lucky these days in that so many of these ephemeral titles have been digitized: it was not too long ago that one had to track them down in archives to read them, if one even could. We actually have some of these titles in the SFF collection in the campus library, but it is preferable from a conservation perspective, if not an experiential one, that we don’t riffle through those brittle pages.


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Poe: the Jerry Lewis of Letters

Angela Carter, in “Edgar Allan Poe, master of horror and science fiction” (The Guardian, 14 October 1976), discusses the claim that as well as inventing the detective story, Poe is also responsible for science fiction. As noted earlier in the term, in the first issue of Amazing in April 1926, Hugo Gernsback wrote, “[b]y ‘scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type of story.” Verne and Wells, sure, but did Poe write science fiction? Alex has already hazarded an answer. Discuss.

Further possible conversation-starters:

The Penguin website claims that “the boundaries between horror and science are elegantly blurred in stories such as ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar’.” Discuss the precise degree of that elegance.

And: what is with all the hoaxes? Hans Phaall, The War of the Worlds on the radio: is there something about this genre that invites such treatment?


Contest for SF film buffs

I have my tickets, and hope to see some of you there. Great films, and a good blogging opportunity. Answer the following question in the comments and you could win a ticket:

Nosferatu vs. the Thing: who would win? (And why?)


From the Imperial website:

Retro Film – Halloween Double Bill:
Nosferatu + The Thing (1982)

Monday, October 30, 2017 / 7pm
Tickets: $15
Open Arts and Symphony New Brunswick will join us to accompany the screening of the classic German, horror film, Nosferatu. A classic silent film with live music!

Still lots of seats.


Length: 8-12 pages
Deadline: November 23, 2017
Weight: 25%

Getting started: First, each student must choose an initial direction, and then do some research to see what, if anything, exists on the chosen topic. This process may involve one or more changes in direction, until you find a subject area that can support an interesting question or set of questions.

Thesis: This stage is the most crucial to the whole project, so spend a lot of time and thought in, first, choosing a topic that interests you; second, formulating a question or problem which arises from that general topic; and finally, articulating your answer to that question or problem in the form of a thesis. You are encouraged to discuss your thesis with me, and to blog about it.

Essays will be evaluated, in decreasing order of importance, on whether: Continue reading “Papers”


Length: at least one substantial entry per week
Due: throughout the term (I will be reading!)
Percentage of grade: 25%

Each student is expected to initiate and maintain a blog (a weblog) about the readings, class discussions, and related matters (such as other texts you are reading or have read). I may post specific questions for you to address. As this is not a computer design class, emphasis is on content.

I expect you to pour the thought and care that you would put into an essay, into your weblog. In other words, you need to be analytic rather than descriptive and you need to write effectively and with finesse.

Important: you are expected to read and comment on others’ blog posts. This is an interactive exercise and your participation in the online class community will count towards your grade for this assignment.

Blogs/posts will be evaluated on: Continue reading “Weblogs”


Blog entry due: The day before your presentation (if you choose the hand-out option [see below*] it is due in class on the day).
Presentation due: As per the schedule.
Percentage of grade: 15%

1) Each student is expected to put together a substantial blog entry displaying research on their chosen topic. Entries can include links, visuals, attached documents (bibliographies, articles, etc.), and written text. They should be a combination of concrete information and links for further research. Any bibliographical material is expected to follow MLA format. Most importantly, offer your own analysis, and a few questions or suggestions for further thought.

(*If you are not blogging, you could substitute a hardcopy handout to be distributed in class the day you present. Bloggers may also supply a handout, but it needn’t be quite so comprehensive.)

Blog entries/handouts will be evaluated on: Continue reading “Presentations”


Folks, three things:

  1. If you are not blogging, well, stop it: stop not blogging and start blogging.
  2. If you have a mind to, you could put links to your classmates’ blogs in your sidebar, so you could get to them more easily. You could also link to the course blog (thanks, Bailey, for already doing so).
  3. You could have (more) fun with your blogs. There are already several that are pretty cool with their use of graphics, witty titles and URLS, sleek design, and the posting of different sorts of files (eg. videos) and images. As this is not a design course, your grade will be based solely on your writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stretch your (gansa) wings a little. SF has always been a highly visual genre.

Ye Olde Blogger contemplating wryting ye old Blogge Poste with ye varyous Belles and Whystles.