Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Thoughts on the blog while on spring break

     I've spent the past week and a half trying to recover from a cold, which has led me to neglect the blog a bit.  It turns out that feeling tired and coughing up phlegm doesn't inspire occasional writing.  For the most part, I've spent my energy working on setting up the lesson plans for my students, giving those students feedback on their papers, and teaching classes.  My schedule doesn't massively overwork me, but this limited activity is all that I've been able to accomplish lately.

     However, I'm now on spring break, and am hoping to spend some more time writing for the blog.  At this point, I don't see myself covering too much political material, primarily because I haven't been very politically active lately, but also because a lot of the recent political kerfuffles haven't been very interesting.  For instance, most of the conflicts over Jacobin context has been rather dreary, and the most recent twitter battle just looks depressing.  I like the publication, but a lot of the material that has gotten coverage lately seems to be dedicated to dredging up battles that were tedious twenty years ago.  Other than that, so much of political debate seems to be negotiated through dreary clickbait pieces that don't even particularly look worth reading, let along spending any substantial time in response.  I suspect I will make an exception to write a review about publication of Stuart Hall's 1983 lectures on cultural studies, but that's more of an academic topic.  If there are some particularly interesting recent political interventions, please let me know.

      On the other hand, I have some potential ideas for topics focused on science fiction and genre fiction.  It's material that often falls on fallow ground with my small and activist oriented audience, but its a topic that I'm still interested in.  I'm planning on writing a sort of review of Nisi Shawl's Everfair.  For those who don't keep up on these matters, Shawl has produced a sort of revisionist steampunk novel.  Building off the critiques that the genre has tended to ignore the racism and imperialism that defined the era it fetishizes, Shawl has produced a novel that is set in the colonial space of the Belgian Congo.  The narrative constructs an alternative history that imagines a challenge to Leopold's colonial project in the form of an unstable alliance of Fabian socialists, African American abolitionists, and a substantial indigenous resistance.  I don't think Shawl lives up to the monumental task she sets up for herself with the project, but it's a very interesting failure and I want to write about that failure.

     In addition, I'm planning on writing about the Hugos.  I've been a part of the voting process for the past two years, which is something anyone can do if they are willing to spend forty bucks to join up, but I want to write about my process of voting this time.  My hope is that we have seen the end of the reactionary puppy campaigns to subvert the election process and that we will have a lot more interesting science fiction to read and discuss in the top nominations of the year.  I've avoided writing about the material before this year because of the tedious nonsense nominated by those campaigns, and I'm hoping we will see an end to that trend.  I'm also going to finally start writing about the Stephen King and Margaret Atwood novels that I have been reading for the past year or so.  I'm not entirely sure what I want to write about in regards to Atwood, but I really want to think about the moments that King discusses race and racism in his early novels.  (If you're interested in the topic, I recommend looking at It and Carrie in particular.)    

No comments:

Post a Comment