Category Archives: Science fiction

Ilium, Iowa City: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five

October 23, 2013 For someone interested in the twentieth-century epic, Slaughterhouse Five is a no-brainer.  How else would one call a story set in Ilium, talking about war, about death and the counterfactual? But did I ever stop to think about … Continue reading

Posted in Boostores, Cities, Climate change, Contemporary novel, Environmentalism, epic, public universities, Science fiction, Twentieth century literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazil: Karen Tei Yamashita, Elizabeth Bishop

April 24, 2013 Both write about human efforts that come to nothing.   Bishop’s Manuelzinho begins bravely, planting gardens that ravish the eye: beds of  cabbages edged with red carnations, lettuces with alyssum.   But then “silver umbrella ants arrive,/ or it … Continue reading

Posted in Americas, Asian-American literature, Brazil, Contemporary novel, Environmentalism, Ethnicity, Genre, Global South, indigenous communities, lyric, Magical realism, Poetry, Science fiction, Twentieth century literature, world literature | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Samuel Delany, Marilyn Hacker?

March 20,  2013 He met her on the first day, Bronx High School of Science, September 1956.   They got married five years later (in Detroit — Michigan was one of the two states where interracial marriage was not illegal). … Continue reading

Posted in African-American literature, Black-Jewish alliances, collaboration, Contemporary novel, contemporary poetry, Educational institutions, Ethnicity, Science fiction, Twentieth century literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Junot Diaz, Octavia Butler: Other People’s Books

March 13, 2013 It was 1957 and she was ten.    She had managed to save five dollars, mostly in change,  but still a lot of money.   The public library had been fine up to this point;  now she was … Continue reading

Posted in African-American literature, Contemporary literature, Diaspora, Latino/a literature, Remix, Science fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philip K. Dick, Octavia Butler: Kindred

March 6, 2013 His middle name is Kindred.   Philip Kindred Dick. I find that hard to believe.   How could anyone’s middle name be a capsule summary of a large body of work still to be written? Do Androids … Continue reading

Posted in African-American literature, Canada, Contemporary literature, Ethnicity, Science fiction, slavery, Twentieth century literature | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood: Martians and Others

February 27, 2013 ‘Moby-Dick’ is about the oil industry, and the Ship of American State…  The mates are the middle management. The harpooners, who are from races colonized by America one way or another, are supplying the expert tech labor. … Continue reading

Posted in African-American literature, Canada, Colonization, Comparative literature, Contemporary literature, print medium, Race, Science fiction, Twentieth century literature, Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment