Category Archives: All Posts

MLA and Book Reviews

MLA 2020 went well. I gave my presentation on Mark Twain’s “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses” and got to connnect/re-connect with a lot of great scholars. University of Iowa Press was gracious enough to allow me to display Gears and God … Continue reading

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The Replacements: “Live and Drunk” at 35

Thirty-five years ago, the Replacements performed one of rock music’s most brilliant acts of artistic sabotage. In 1984, the Minneapolis-based band was receiving accolades in the press. Music fans discussed when (not if) they’d move to a major label and … Continue reading

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C19 Presentation on Steampunk

I learned this week that my proposed presentation, “The Pros and Cons of Steampunking a C19 Syllabus,” was accepted for the C19 (Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists) 2020 Conference. The presentation will be part of the “Teaching the Weird Nineteenth Century” … Continue reading

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Minor Updates: Writing & Teaching

October is always a busy month that starts with a birthday and ends with Halloween. Not having any major news doesn’t mean I’m not really busy. To wit: Drafting paper for MLA presentation on Twain’s love of sea adventure fiction. … Continue reading

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Go Country, Young Man (90s Music Nostalgia)

The Ken Burns-produced Country Music documentary that premiered on PBS last week is predictably great. It’s also giving me fits of nostalgia remembering the time I tried to be an “alternative country” singer. It was a very late-1990’s thing to … Continue reading

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Twain Trip and Strange Stars Review

I’ll have at least one more research trip to the Mark Twain Papers in Berkeley between now and December (before I present at MLA on Twain’s love of sea adventure novels). I’m hoping to work a Bay-area bookstore appearance in … Continue reading

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American Novel to 1900 (Class Details)

This summer, I’m teaching UC Davis’s “American Novel to 1900” class. I used the class to try something I’d always wanted to do–something scholar Paul Lauter did while developing the uber-inclusive Heath Anthology of American Literature–namely, asking students to prioritize … Continue reading

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August Updates: Book and Articles

My American Novels to 1900 class for UC Davis started last week, and I’m finishing up some big projects before fully diving into that pool. First, I’m doing final proofreading review for my “Science and Technology” chapter of Cambridge University … Continue reading

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New Gears and God Review

Last month’s issue of Nineteenth-Century Literature featured a review of Gears and God. It requires a subscription to read the whole thing, but I’m providing a link to the preview of the first page from University of California Press’ page. … Continue reading

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New Editing Gig at Mark Twain Annual

Last week, I formally agreed to be the new Book Review Editor for the Mark Twain Annual. The Annual is a fantastic journal–one that I look forward to each year. They publish Twain scholarship that takes risks, tries things, and … Continue reading

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Live at ConQuesT 50

I returned from Kansas City a few weeks back and thought I’d share some highlights from the annual science fiction convention (ConQuesT). I appeared on two panels (one on American Gods, one on Doctor Who) and had reading that included … Continue reading

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Full ConQuesT 50 Schedule

My full schedule for Kansas City’s 50th Anniversary ConQuesT SF Convention is now available under Appearances. Come by the Sheraton at Crown Center and see me talk about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Doctor Who, and read some of the stranger … Continue reading

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ConQuesT 50th Anniversary

The Kansas City Science Fiction Convention (ConQuesT) has updated its list of panelists. I’ll be appearing there, along with some fine writers, artists, and fans, starting on Friday, May 24. I’ll post more under the “Appearances” tab once I know … Continue reading

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Summer UC Davis Class: American Novel to 1900

This summer, I’ll be teaching the “American Novel to 1900” course for UC Davis English Department. The full information is on their course schedule page. The first three novels we’ll cover in the six-week class: The Female American, Winkfield (1767) … Continue reading

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Cambridge History of Science Fiction is Out!

I received my contributor’s copy of The Cambridge History of Science Fiction this week. This book is a thorough, thoughtful collection of essays about key developments in the history of SF worldwide. Gerry Canavan and Eric Carl Link have done … Continue reading

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This Year’s Sturgeon Short-Fiction Award Nominees

One of the coolest things my alma mater’s Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction does is facilitate the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best SF short story of the year. They announced nominees this week. Named for the phenomenal … Continue reading

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This Year’s Nebula Finalists

Just a quick note that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced nominees for the Nebula Awards this week. I’m posting a link to the full list. I just want to commend Andy Duncan, Tina Connolly, and … Continue reading

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New Review of Gears and God

U of Alabama Press just recently sent me a copy of a forthcoming Gears and God review by John Rieder that will be appearing in the next issue of Science Fiction Studies. I’ll try to get permission to excerpt it … Continue reading

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The Updates Before Christmas

The quarter at UC Davis is over, and I’m spending most of my time revising a 4,000-word entry on “Science and Technology” for Mark Twain in Context, a book forthcoming from Cambridge U Press. It’s a joy to read/re-read some … Continue reading

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Projects from Steampunk Freshman Seminar 2018

This week, students in my Fall 2018 “First-Year Seminar” on steampunk turned in their first round of creative projects. The assignment asks them to “steampunk a common object.” As you can see from the photo below, I got some clever … Continue reading

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Gears and God Signing at Avid Reader

I’m doing a reading/signing for my book, Gears and God, at the Avid Reader in Davis this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Please share with friends who like Mark Twain, science fiction, or U.S. history!

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Mark Twain Forum Reviews Gears and God

As promised earlier, here is a link to the full text of John Bird’s review of Gears and God on the Mark Twain Forum.  Here’s an excerpt: Gears and God is important for the way it places Mark Twain’s works within … Continue reading

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Book Review News: Gears & God; Strange Stars

Gears and God received a really positive review from John Bird on the Mark Twain Forum last week. I’m unable to reprint it, but will try to link to it in the future. Speaking of reviews, I’m thrilled to be … Continue reading

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Mark Twain Center Hosts “Gears and God” Short Essay

A few months ago, Joe Lemak from the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College asked me if I’d like to write something to promote my book for their web site. Today, they’ve published that essay, along with some … Continue reading

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Dr. Who Draws from David Bowie (Again)

This week, BBC announced the official premiere date of the new season of Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker. The first episode’s title will be “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.” It’s a tip of the hat to 1970s sci-fi film … Continue reading

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