Talking Twain at Truman (Virtually)

At the end of this month, I’ll be giving a Zoom lecture called “Mark Twain and American Science Fiction’s Legacy” at part of Truman State University’s Folklore Minor Colloquium Series.

This is a version of the talk I gave last summer, but I’m planning to do more about Orion Clemens (Samuel’s brother) and his science fiction reading/writing this time around. Orion’s home of Keokuk, Iowa is close to Kirksville, where Truman is. So is Hannibal, MO where both brothers grew up.

Although less famous than his brother “Mark Twain”, Orion Clemens was an interesting guy who penned a “hollow earth” exploration story. Twain read it and kind of tore it apart.

It’s a funny story, and happens a lot with writers. One brother makes it big. The other one tries to follow suit in the same field, hoping for encouragement (and maybe even a little help with the writing). The successful one is underwhelmed with the sibling’s results and is alternately encouraging, brutally honest, and downright mean in his response to the manuscript.

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