Category Archives: All Posts

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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Gears & God (& Me) at Worldcon 76

My box of author copies of Gears and God arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also heard that people who’ve already ordered it on Amazon have received their copies in the past weeks. I’m lucky to have Borderlands Books … Continue reading

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Worldcon Academic Track and Schedule

This weekend, I’m working as the lead coordinator of Worldcon 76’s academic-track programming in San Jose. This means I’ll be moderating multiple panels, as well as attending most of the other ones. Full info is on the online programming guide. … Continue reading

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Oxford Fantasy Class

In four weeks, I taught seven novels at Jesus College, Oxford and oversaw multiple day trips. Examples? After reading Alice in Wonderland, we visited Christ Church College in Oxford where Lewis Carroll taught and took a boat ride down the … Continue reading

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Teaching Fantasy Class at Oxford

This summer, it will be my honor to cover Dr. Amy Clarke’s regular UC Davis Study Abroad class called Oxford: Portal to Fantasy. Right now, I’m having a wonderful time revisiting some classics (and reading a few new ones). The … Continue reading

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Steampunk Class Projects

Last quarter, I finished up another section of my UC Davis first-year seminar on Steampunk. Fifteen students came on board to read the VanderMeer’s short story collection, the original League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel, and watch Wild Wild West … Continue reading

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There are Two James Gunns, but Nobody’s Confused

James Gunn had two great stories in Asimov’s last month, finishing a string of works he’s published there over the last year, all affiliated with his recent Transcendental series for Tor Books. But the author is not the same guy … Continue reading

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Did Bob Dylan Use Star Trek Dialogue as Lyrics?

Since I wrote my earlier post on The Last Jedi‘s use of Elvis Costello, another famous sci-fi/rock ‘n’ roll connection has been on my mind: a minor incident in Bob Dylan’s career that involves fans thinking he had pilfered Star Trek dialogue for lyrics. … Continue reading

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Replacements Tribute by Guardians of the Galaxy Director

Here’s the best science fiction/rock n’ roll convergence I’ve seen recently. Director James Gunn, who helmed Guardians of the Galaxy (1 and 2) as well as some great genre films of his own creation, wrote an online essay about being … Continue reading

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C19 in Albuquerque: A Great Conference

I got back from the biennial C19 conference last week. It was an excellent four-day event, with presentations from many scholars who focus specifically on American literature of the 19th century. That said, transnational approaches were in abundance, including my … Continue reading

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Armed Force(s): The Last Jedi and Elvis Costello

I’m obsessed with places where science fiction and pop music overlap. So I loved seeing recent reports about a veiled reference to musician Elvis Costello in the latest Star Wars movie. Apparently, director Rian Johnson used the moniker “DJ” for … Continue reading

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My Book’s on Amazon Now

My publisher wrote to let me know that Gears and God is now available for pre-order at Amazon.  It gives the release date as July 10, 2018 (so just in time for Worldcon). You can read the publisher’s summary, the … Continue reading

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C19 Paper Acceptance: In Nemo’s Footsteps

Last week, I learned that I’ll be presenting a paper at the C19 Conference at the University of New Mexico, March 22-25, 2018. The conference theme is “Climate.” My paper is called “In Nemo’s Footsteps: U.S. Responses to Verne’s Oceanic … Continue reading

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Twain and Dime-Novel Science Fiction

If you’re interested in listening to my October 11, 2017 guest lecture on “Mark Twain and the Inventor Fiction Boom, 1876-1910” the audio is now available online. You can’t watch the slideshow that went with it, but there is a … Continue reading

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Gears and God Book Editing

BOOK UPDATE: I received publisher’s final copy-edits on my book, Gears and God, from University of Alabama press last night. I have about three weeks to spend going over them, checking for accuracy or making small revisions. I’ll be doing … Continue reading

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Upcoming Mark Twain Lecture

Here are final details on my upcoming presentation at Elmira College’s “Trouble Begins” Mark Twain Lecture Series: “Mark Twain and the Inventor Fiction Boom: Technology Meets American Conceit, 1876-1910” Wednesday, October 11 at The Barn at Quarry Farm Elmira, NY … Continue reading

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New Doctor Who is a Woman (and Still Kinda Bowie)

Kudos to David Llewellyn who immediately noted the similarity between Jodie Whittaker in the promo for her new Doctor Who and the cover of David Bowie’s Low.  His tweet was picked up by NME earlier last week. I’ve blogged about … Continue reading

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Summer Poetry Class on “Love and Desire”

Starting in August, I’ll be teaching a section for UC Davis’ English Department. The class is called “Love and Desire in Contemporary Poetry” (a regularly offered course at UCD). My reading list: Collected Poems, 1947-1997, Allen Ginsberg The Dream of … Continue reading

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Updated Summer Schedule

This June, I’m going to be at the Campbell Conference at the University of Kansas and at the SFRA Conference at UC Riverside. I’ll be teaching the first half of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction’s Summer Institute from … Continue reading

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