TWO THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS ON GENDER: AMMONITE AND ETHAN OF ATHOS

I read back-to-back Nicola Griffith’s acclaimed Ammonite (1993), just re-issued as an SF Masterwork, and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Ethan of Athos (1986), as part of my current search for sf novels with interesting ideas about gender. Back in January I was wondering here whether I’d eventually write a paper on another one of them, David […]

FREEING RESEARCH FROM THE MARKET: THE BRITISH CASE (AND CHINA MIÉVILLE)

A colleague emailed me back in July yet another article on this new phenomenon I’ve been discussing here in fits and starts: the demand that research be freed from the market. This time it was the turn of The Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/21559317) to announce that “Academic journals face a radical shake-up.” The main arguments are the […]

HOW MANY LAYERS TO THIS CAKE?: CONSIDERING SF WRITERS

I am spending a good deal of my holidays reading SF, this time not so much at random and for pleasure but, rather, trying to update my (always tottering…) knowledge of the field in a more systematic fashion. Like any other contemporary genre, SF is fast evolving and it’s very hard to grasp which new […]

READING ‘AVERAGE’ BOOKS (II): DAVID BRIN’S GLORY SEASON

I came across David Brin’s Glory Season (1993) while looking for a suitable topic for an oncoming conference on Utopian Studies in Tarragona (see http://wwwa.urv.cat/deaa/utopia/international/home.html). This, a low-tech SF novel about a utopian “feminist nirvana” written by a man, sounded promising enough, backed as it was by its Hugo and Locus nominations (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glory_Season). I […]

BACK FROM MARS: KIM STANLEY ROBINSON’S MARTIAN TRILOGY (ABOUT READING A VERY LONG TEXT… FOR PLEASURE?)

It’s taken me a few months to go through the 2,000 pages that compose Robinson’s trilogy about the (hopefully) soon to come colonisation of Mars: Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1992) and Blue Mars (1996). At some point, particularly when the end of the Mars 500 experiment was announced (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_500), I thought that Mars […]

A FUNNY EXPERIENCE: READING NEAL STEPHENSON’S REAMDE

I have spent whatever free time I’ve managed to hoard in the last ten days glued to the 1042 pages of Neal Stephenson’s last novel Reamde. The volume is not only very thick but also trade-paperback size, which means it is huge indeed. I’ve gone through Stephenson’s Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon (twice), The […]

A FEW THOUGHTS ON SF (AFTER A PHD DISSERTATION)

One of my doctoral students, Rafael Miranda, has just passed his viva (or ‘defensa’) after submitting a brilliant doctoral dissertation on cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk. I am personally VERY proud to have helped him make such an interesting contribution to the field of Science-Fiction Studies. Particularly because that field is so tiny in Spanish English Studies […]

A CHEEKY FILM: BATTLE LOS ANGELES (2011)

Get Independence Day, Black Hawk Down, Cloverfield and a number of alien-slashing computer games and out of this heady cocktail comes Battle Los Angeles, one of the cheekiest pieces of US military propaganda you can ever imagine. The storyline, strikingly similar to that of Skyline, couldn’t be simpler: Los Angeles is invaded by an army […]