Literature of Horror, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Course Blog for LMST345 Ringling College of Art

Photo of Margaret Atwood  by Rannie Turingan
This week we are considering the way in which the mainstream of literary writing has embraced the impulse of speculative fiction and sometimes its genre codes and markers as well. Its the quality of writing that makes such works literary, but often these works provide many unexpected pleasures because they are free of the expectations associated with specific genre. There are two basic types of literary speculation, one in which the writer is writing within the codes of genre but has literary pretensions or at least a literary result. This writer is usually associated with the genre but creates work that crosses over into the literary mainstream. Such writers as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, or William Gibson are writers of this type.  The second type is when the writer is usually associated with mainstream literary work but chooses to use some of the tropes or codes of specualtive genre in a work. Such writers might include Doris Lessing, Michael Chabon or Margaret Atwood.  Atwood's novel, Oryx and Crake is this week's spotlight novel. In class we will read some short fiction by Italo Calvino and Stanislaw Lem, who in part, defy even the two categories I have just put forward.  Next week will be our last general class session when we will be discussing satirical science fiction, and the future of speculation.

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

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