Thursday, April 26, 2012

Teaching Science Fiction

Now This Is Old School
I'm deep in the middle of writing a Course Proposal.

You see, I might be coming to a writing program near you (if you live in New York) teaching the wonders of writing speculative fiction. If you're lucky enough to be near my classroom, you'll recognize me by my encyclopedic knowledge of F/SF, my incisive intellect, and my overwhelming sexual charisma. (Nothing I can do about that. It's a curse.)

But in the course of looking at New York's dozens and dozens of writing programs, and prepping this syllabus, I've been utterly amazed by two things:

1. Just how much of a driver speculative fiction has become in American culture. Five of the top-grossing movie series of all time (LOTR, Potter, Raiders, Star Wars, Aliens, Terminator- oh, wait. That's six. And they keep on coming...) A third of the bestsellers on Amazon at any one time. Two out of every three major game titles.


2. Just how much contempt America's culture factories have for speculative fiction. Even now. In all of these creative writing programs, I could find NOT ONE class dedicated to F/SF. To free-verse poetry, yes. To sensitive fiction about growing up differently gendered in America's heartland, you betcha. But science fiction? Forget about it.

And if you want to know what the low-brow entertainment world thinks of F/SF, just check out the programming on the "Syfy"channel (God forbid!) or listen to two indie-smarm producers yammering at Comic-con.

I don't know. Speculative fiction grew up in the ghetto, so maybe this contempt is a good thing. But something tells me it isn't, because it's not a real ghetto anymore if you're grossing in the nine figures. I'll return to that thought...

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I've taken a very good, on-line speculative fiction course from UCLA extension (Don Webb) and have never found the contempt you speak of. Or maybe I'm just oblivious.

    I enjoy speculative fictin and have toyed witha couple of short stories myself.

    Sionce I out what your "profile" selection is all about, I guess this goes as anonymous.