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November 04, 2009

ENG 400 (CA01) Fall 2009 - ST: Studies in Science Fiction

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3 November 2009

ENG 400 Students [ONLY],

Your readings for this week are . . .

. . .

Neil Gaiman's (British) "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" (Short Story).
URL: http://www.neilgaiman.com/p/Cool_Stuff/Short_Stories


Please read (and be prepared to discuss at this meeting) the following short, online articles:

http://thehathorlegacy.com/keeping-female-aliens-pretty/ (please read the comments also)

Don't forget that I had also asked you to watch the episode "Soldier" (1964) from The Outer Limits television series, at the following URL: http://www.english-blog.com/archives/2009/03/harlan_ellisons_soldier_from__the_outer_limits__1964.php

Image Source: http://www.ec-hachette-plessis.ac-versailles.fr/IMG/jpg/planete_sauvage_1_.jpg

Be prepared to discuss these texts AND René Laloux's La Planète Sauvage [The Fantastic Planet] (1973) screening we finished in our last meeting. We should have discussed this in the time period following Monkey Planet, but it got pushed back. In any case, I hope you found it to be "different" in the way Lewis's text was different from the other Sci-Fi samples. Find more info on The Fantastic Planet HERE: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070544/

See you then,

Dr. Hobbs


Image Source: http://findmearobot.com/Pages/Required%20robots/Images/The%20Day%20the%20Earth%20Stood%20Still.jpg

8 September 2009

ENG 400 Students [ONLY],

The URL needed to see the free online presentation of the original The Day the Earth Stood Still from 1951 is available HERE:


Please have watched it before our next meeting. I reserve the right to include it in our reading check quiz and discussion questions.

BTW, if you are into screen-writing and would like to read Edmund North's film's script, it is available online here:

Also, I did not have time to show this video in our last meeting (we ran out of time). It's only three minutes or so in length. Asimov (creator of "I, Robot" and so much more), explains what things were like for writers in the days of SF's "Golden Age," the theme of our last meeting:

Video Source URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pySVYz4GfzE


If you missed the last meeting (or, left early for some reason), you might want to check out the following "slideshows" of SF art. In class, I actually showed some more time period appropriate works from book, comic book, and magazine covers. Some of the sexier ones have been compiled as set to Connee Allen's song from 1951, "Rocket 69." I'll let you draw your own conclusions about the euphemisms of 1950s rock-and-roll-speak.

Video Source URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GpFB6vXkmg

The following video will expose you to some early art, albeit the second half of the Golden Age. This work extends into the sixties and seventies. If you like this kind of thing, you will notice that the video compiler has put together about four more of these, all part of a series.

Video Source URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuMYV6e18VQ

See you when I see you,

Dr. Hobbs


Image Source: http://blog.getbetterhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/science-fiction.jpg

26 August 2009

ENG 400 Students [ONLY],

The most recent version of our course syllabus (subject to revision) can be found by clicking the link HERE. NOTE: the best option is to right-click that link with your mouse and then select "save as" from the pop-up menu. Save it to your hard drive and open/print with the free Adobe Reader.


As discussed in our first class meeting, please find below the links to your readings that I will be providing ONLY for the next meeting. After that, it is up to you to have the coursepack. The coursepack was ordered yesterday and I spoke to the copy shop today. They are now printed and should be on the shelves later today. Call the bookstore, however, just to be sure. I had originally ordered 9 but they can print to order.

In any event, the link to the critical article you need to read can be found by clicking on the highlighted link below. It is a .pdf file. Save it to your hard drive and then print it.

Lundwall, Sam J. "The Fantastic Novel." Science Fiction: What It's All About. 1969. New York: Ace, 1971.

There is a full-text version of Verne's From the Earth to the Moon below if you scroll down far enough to find the "Verne" section.

Also, the link to the film is also under the Verne section below. That is all stuff that I posted for some of you this summer who were looking to get ahead.

Please let me know if you have any issues with the links. I will also e-mail you the article just to be sure you have it.

See you at our next class meeting,

Dr. Hobbs

2 July 2009

ENG 400 Students [ONLY],

There is nothing to submit here; the comment box for this entry will normally be switched off.

[1] If you are looking for the proper entry to enter assignments about this course's primary texts (e.g. Verne, Lewis, Campbell, Asimov, Bradbury, Boulle, Clarke, Adams, Dick, Gibson, Aldiss, et. al..) on the reading(s) of the week, you should click the link appropriate category link in the Scattergories menu to the left of the page. For example, click the *Literature* link to scan all entries tagged "LIterature" or *Film* to see any tagged "Film" and submit your response to the appropriate entry (usually the title of the entry will match the title of the work you are working with for this module). The link can also be found by clicking HERE for Literature and HERE for Film.

[2] If you are looking for the proper entry to enter assignments about this week's secondary texts (e.g. the scholarly articles and critical articles) on the current module, you should click the link appropriate category link in the scattergories menu to the left of the page. For example, click "Critical Theory" to see all entries tagged with that topic and submit your response/assignment to the appropriate entry (e.g. "The Golden-Age of Science Fiction," etc.). That link can also be found by clicking HERE for Critical Theory.

At this particular entry (the one you are now reading) you will find the most recent addendum to the course syllabus. It will be reprinted below by the first day of class.

Most of the stories and articles you will need for the course will be available in a coursepack prepared by the University Copy Center and sold at the University Bookstore. However, there are a few texts you will need to purchase. They are:


*Verne, Jules. De la terre à la lune. Translation: From [the] Earth to the Moon. 1865.

*A Full-Text Digital Version is available HERE: http://burgsbee.tripod.com/eTexts/_Jules_-_From_the_Earth_to_the_Moon_-_141_Pages.pdf

NOTE: The availability of the text online means you have no excuse for not reading the text before our class meeting (lost the book, etc.). However, the availability of the text online does NOT excuse you from having a hardcopy of the text in your possession and bringing it to class.

If you would like to try listening to an audio version of Verne's story, you could download a (very long) .mp3 file at the following link, burn it to a CD and listen to it in your car.


Just for fun, here is the trailer to Hollywood's 1958 cinematic adaptation of Verne's From the Earth to the Moon by director Byron Haskin. If you've read the book, you'll be able to see right away where the filmmakers deviated from the original narrative.


*Méliès, Georges, dir. Le Voyage Dans La Lune. Translation: A Voyage to the Moon. Perfs. Bleuette Bernon (Lady in the Moon), Brunnet (Astronomer), Henri Delannoy (Rocket Captain). France: Star Film, 1902. After reading Verne, please watch this 14-minute classic (silent) French/Czechoslovakian film for free online at either http://www.archive.org/details/le_voyage_dans_la_lune [Subtitled version] (OR) http://www.freemooviesonline.com/watch-free-movies/scifi-movies/le-voyage-dans-la-lune.html [Dubbed Version]. No need to purchase.


*Lewis, C. S. Out of the Silent Planet. 1938.

*A Full-Text Digital Version is available HERE: http://burgsbee.tripod.com/eTexts/_C._S._-_Out_of_the_Silent_Planet_-_104_Pages.pdf

NOTE: The availability of the text online means you have no excuse for not reading the text before our class meeting (lost the book, etc.). However, the availability of the text online does NOT excuse you from having a hardcopy of the text in your possession and bringing it to class.

Just for fun, an amateur animator who goes by the username "Puddlegum1951" has created an 8 episode "abridged" adaptation of Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet at his channel HERE. Be sure you view them in the right order and don't watch it before you've read the book or the whole thing will be spoiled for you.

Also, to reiterate this course's point on how literature has affected popular culture, check out the musical group Iron Maiden's song entitled "Out of the Silent Planet" from their album Brave New World, which also happens to be the title of a science fiction masterpiece by Aldous Huxley (which we won't be reading for this course). There are many videos of the band performing this work live on YouTube but this particular version is an imaginative, amateur video pieced together from an Anime film--Neon Genesis Evangelion--and synchronized to the lyrics and subject matter of the song. You can find a transcript of the lyrics by Bruce Dickinson, Janick Gers, and David Harris Stephen HERE.


*Boulle, Pierre. La planéte des singes. Translation: Planet of the Apes [aka Monkey Planet]. 1963.

*If you would like to listen to the text of Pierre Boulle's Monkey Planet on either your PC or on your iPod device (my new phone will play MP3s with a headset), an a professionally produced audio-version from BBC Radio 4, read by Michael Maloney
are available HERE in 5 parts (MP3 format) from Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive.

While I certainly do not advocate this as a substitute, I do suggest it as a supplement. At the link HERE, please find a graphic novel adaptation of Pierre Boulle's Monkey Planet [in Hungarian: A Majmok bolygója] by Hungarian artist Ernő Zórád recently translated by Dave Ballard and James Aquila. An alternate English translation Neil Foster, Michael Whitty, et al. can be found HERE. Enjoy!

*Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 1979.

*A Full-Text Digital Version is available HERE: http://burgsbee.tripod.com/eTexts/s_Guide_To_The_Galaxy_-_81_Pages.pdf

NOTE: The availability of the text online means you have no excuse for not reading the text before our class meeting (lost the book, etc.). However, the availability of the text online does NOT excuse you from having a hardcopy of the text in your possession and bringing it to class.


While these should be available in the University Bookstore, as a matter of routine, there rarely seems to be enough second-hand/used copies for everyone. I encourage you to do what I did when I was a student: buy them beforehand. There are many reliable online booksellers where you can find these books--in some cases--as cheap as a penny plus shipping charges. While I'm not officially endorsing these companies, I have had good results from:

Amazon.com (both new and second-hand sellers)
Half.com (a sister company to eBay where used items are sold rather than auctioned)
Barnes and Nobles.com

Don't forget to use the old "Froogle" search engine to find the lowest price on anything:

I hope that most of you will take the time to buy--AND READ--these books ahead of time during this summer so that you will have a headstart on the course when it first meets this Fall.

Dont forget to join Turnitin.com if you haven't done so already. Use/change your email associated with your account to your Saint Leo University e-mail. To join this course, use this course number: (2727688). The pass word to join is "darthvader" (original ,huh?). Remember, this information is only to join the course. You will need YOUR ID and password to sign in to turitin.com each time you use it. I won't know your password (your ID should be your Saint Leo e-mail), so don't lose your information. I can't help you retrieve it if you lose it.

Keep following this blog entry as I will be adding more about the course in the following months.

Until then, I remain,

Dr. Hobbs

Posted by lhobbs at November 4, 2009 11:06 AM

Readers' Comments:

i love "Earth to the Moon"
but i read it in hebrew

anyhow cool blog

Posted by: Zamenhof at June 3, 2009 08:57 PM

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