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Steampunk World’s Fair

Posted on : 20-01-2011 | By : Dean | In : Science Fiction

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The second annual Steampunk World’s Fair will be held in Piscataway, NJ this year. From an email I received:

This will be the second year for Steampunk World’s Fair.  There will be musical performers, readings, and panels on all aspects of steampunk (last year there were wonderful panels on race, class & gender in steampunk and on multiculturalism in steampunk, among many others).   There will no doubt be at least one fashion show.   This would be a great opportunity for people who’ve been observing steampunk from a distance to see things close at hand;  for those of you who are already involved in the steampunk community, this is quite an enjoyable convention as well.

For more information, go to:

http://steampunkworldsfair.com/

If anyone is interested in more information or attending, please let me know.

Spring 2011: Semester Changes & the New Offering

Posted on : 18-01-2011 | By : Dean | In : Literature, Science Fiction, Teaching, Tech and Teaching, UWP

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I have made a few conscious changes to the classes that I am teaching this semester. One of them I have wrestled with for a long time.

1. Walden gets a rest, sort of.

Probably the biggest change to my EN227 class is the omission of Walden. It’s a book that is rarely appreciated by students on a first reading. I have come to accept that this is not only because it is difficult in its use of language and allusions, but because many of its central arguments contain contrary notions. Those elements are often read as contradictions, errors in logic, rather than nuanced acknowledgements of differing strains of Thoreau’s experiment. It is difficult to get past these things, so we’re going to try a few shorter pieces. Never fear, though, as I have included a chapter or two from Walden.

2. Nothing Online!

Although I have had overwhelmingly positive feedback on the courses that I have taught in Second Life, some students may note that there are no offerings there this semester. Those who have taken those classes know how much work goes into them, and while I am an advocate for such venues for online instruction (a much better choice because it offers real-time discussion), the fact is that Parkside doesn’t have the software or the support in place to facilitate these offerings. I may return to the virtual classroom in upcoming semesters, but spring will offer a welcome break from the computer programming and administrative work that was involved to ensure the success of the course I taught there.

I have kept Snow Crash on the list for EN237, though, and I am teaching the class in a computer lab, so there is always that chance for a foray or two into the world of Goreans and Furries!

3. Steampunk and the bookstore!

I have wanted to teach Steampunk in a sixteen-week format since I first taught a brief summer version of it two years ago. This semester will be my chance. I taught Cyberpunk over the 2010 summer session, so spring will offer a nice compliment.

I have found that both courses offer a challenge: Books. With many of the titles being tossed from one publisher to the next or in out of print status (with new titles available through amazon), coordinating with the bookstore is difficult. I have added a few books to the list available through the bookstore, and we will have to discuss options for the readings.

*It should be a wonderful semester. I still get a bad case of nerves the night before classes start. I won’t sleep tonight, so those of you who see me in the hall or in class tomorrow may mistake me for an animated corpse. That’s nothing new, though.

2010 Hugo Winners Announced

Posted on : 08-09-2010 | By : Dean | In : Awards, Science Fiction

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. . . and here they are:

Best Novel: TIE: The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK); The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
Best Novella: “Palimpsest”, Charles Stross (Wireless; Ace, Orbit)
Best Novelette: “The Island”, Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2; Eos)
Best Short Story: “Bridesicle”, Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 1/09)
Best Related Book: This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm Written by Kaja and Phil Foglio; Art by Phil Foglio; Colours by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Moon Screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story by Duncan Jones; Directed by Duncan Jones (Liberty Films)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who: “The Waters of Mars” Written by Russell T Davies & Phil Ford; Directed by Graeme Harper (BBC Wales)
Best Editor Long Form: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Best Editor Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Professional Artist: Shaun Tan
Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, & Cheryl Morgan
Best Fan Writer: Frederik Pohl
Best Fanzine: StarShipSofa edited by Tony C. Smith
Best Fan Artist: Brad W. Foster
And the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (presented by Dell Magazines): Seanan McGuire

2008 Hugo Winners

Posted on : 09-08-2009 | By : Dean | In : Awards, Literature, Science Fiction

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Here are the winners, compliments of the official Hugo site:

  • Best Novel: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury UK)
  • Best Novella: “The Erdmann Nexus”, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
  • Best Novelette: “Shoggoths in Bloom”, Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008)
  • Best Short Story: “Exhalation”, Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
  • Best Related Book: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008, John Scalzi (Subterranean Press)
  • Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, Written by Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: WALL-E Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter, story; Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon, screenplay; Andrew Stanton, director (Pixar/Walt Disney)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Joss Whedon, & Zack Whedon, & Jed Whedon, & Maurissa Tancharoen, writers; Joss Whedon, director (Mutant Enemy)
  • Best Editor Short Form: Ellen Datlow
  • Best Editor Long Form: David G. Hartwell
  • Best Professional Artist: Donato Giancola
  • Best Semiprozine: Weird Tales, edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal
  • Best Fan Writer: Cheryl Morgan
  • Best Fanzine: Electric Velocipede edited by John Klima
  • Best Fan Artist: Frank Wu

And the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (presented by Dell Magazines): David Anthony Durham

You can find a breakdown of the votes on the official site, but over at Anticipation, they’ve even been kind enough to link to all the available online versions out there: Anticipation SF

The Novels

Gaimen has now taken the Newberry and the Hugo for The Graveyard Book. It’s not the only non-adult book that was in the running, either. Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother (like all his work, available free at craphound.com) was second place. Anathem‘s third place showing was fitting. The 980 page length may not have helped. Saturn’s Children is one of the few Stross books I haven’t read yet.

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