Literature of Horror, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Course Blog for LMST345 Ringling College of Art

The recommended reading for this week is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, a classic of cyberpunk. Alternatively you might read Neuromancer by William Gibson or if you need something shorter, you might try Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic."  Cyperpunk ficition often takes place in "cyberspace," a term invented by Gibson. It also features characters whose bodies are modified or enhanced by mechanical means, cyborgs, in other words. The cyperpunk heroine is one of the character types of this ficiton that has become ubiquitous in speculative fiction generally; she is the alpha female, often dressed in black, body modified with armaments or weapons, working as a bodyguard. She is the perfect prototype for the new woman of the 21st century and we now see her in popular storytelling of all types, such as the best seller, The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. She remains a staple of William Gibson's fiction where she made her debut, although she is no longer a character of the future but a character of the present just as his novels are no longer science fiction but mainstream.

We will also consider some of the variants of cyperpunk like Steam Punk and Diesel Punk. There is a list of Steam Punk novels on the syllabus page. A good place to start might be The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers or the Victorian supernatural romance novel, Soulless by Gail Carriger.

Here is a link to this week's assignment on the syllabus.


Image from the play, Rossum's Universal Robots, from the novel by the Czech author of speculative fiction, Karel Capek, in which the word robot makes its first appearance.

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