Tag Archives: nostalgia

“Stranger Things” Soundtrack Makes Best Albums of 2016 List

Rolling Stone just listed their “50 Best Albums of 2016” and there’s a surprise appearance at #47 by the soundtrack to Netflix’s sci-fi/horror series, Stranger Things. The recognition is for the theme and incidental music, composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael … Continue reading

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I Blame Star Wars and Bruce Springsteen

I found this chart (see below) in an old notebook.  It’s my first attempt to graphically explain how science fiction and rock music are connected in my nostalgia. I’ve said that I blame pretty much every cool thing that happened … Continue reading

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Johnny Cash: Science Fiction Author

As I’ve said here before, the connections between science fiction and 20th-century popular music run very deep. If you’re a fan of both, you find yourself becoming the jelly in a giant nostalgia sandwich.  Want an example? This week, Cracked.com … Continue reading

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Going to Worldcon in San Antonio (+Retrofuturist Listmania)

Big announcement: I’m going to be able to attend the World SF in San Antonio.  I’ll be helping the current AboutSF coordinators, Meagan Kane and Mackenzie VanBeest, put on the AboutSF Teaching Workshop on Labor Day (Monday, last day of … Continue reading

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Not Pictured: My Nostalgic Favorite SF/Fantasy Books

Last post, I showed a picture of some books from my early reading days that I found in my parents’ basement.  They’re only a smattering–the ones that never were lost/loaned/stolen like many others.  They represent the tip of my sci-fi/fantasy … Continue reading

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Portrait of the “Artist” as a Young Fan

Here’s a foray into personal sci-fi nostalgia.  The books in the fuzzy picture below were boxed in my parents’ basement.  Some of them even have tags from a garage sale that never happened while I was away at college. Collectively, … Continue reading

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What is That Junk??

There’s a lot of junk in the photo at the top of the page.  It could be my own personal voodoo shrine.  Nope.  It’s a collection of pop culture items that I’ve accumulated over the years.  Tchotcskies.  Lagniappes.  Whate’er you … Continue reading

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What Will We Be Nostalgic for in the Future?

The last writing assignment from my Topics in the Novel class asked a simple question that applied our discussion of books like Ragtime, …Kavalier and Clay, and Boneshaker: What part of our current culture will illicit nostalgia in the future? … Continue reading

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Final Exam Questions: Steampunk, Nostalgia, SF Novels

Because it’s finals week at UC Davis, I thought I’d go ahead and publicly post the final exam questions from last quarter’s novels class on nostalgia and desiderium.  Here’s a taste of the questions I asked.  Students could write about … Continue reading

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Goonan’s In War Times: SF Nostalgia and Lost Jazz Giants

Kathleen Ann Goonan’s In War Times (2007)  is a splendid book, and in many ways it represented the culmination of all the threads my Topics in the Novel class considered: nostalgia, science fiction, jazz, comic books, history-as-pastiche, youth rebellion, time … Continue reading

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Steampunk Dogs – ConQuesT and ASLE

Dogs in Old-Time Science Fiction.  That’s what my next two weeks will be about. On Sunday the 26th, I’m giving a fiction reading at ConQuesT (the Kansas City Science Fiction Convention) that will include my “steampunk dog” tale.  It’s a … Continue reading

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Buddy Holly, Woody Guthrie, and Alternate History SF

Quite possibly the best record review I ever read was an alternate history tale in disguise. I’ve spent a decent chunk of free time scouring the online archives of the great Americana magazine No Depression trying to find a reprint … Continue reading

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On Teaching Boneshaker; or, Steampunk’s Gritty Nostalgia

What makes steampunk tick?  Is it nostalgia or something else?  I understand nostalgia for the ’50s or the ’80s.  A lot of people are still alive who lived through that.  But why set stories a hundred-plus years in the past? … Continue reading

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SF Fandom Birthed Rock Journalism (Remembering Paul Williams)

I just learned that rock critic and science-fiction researcher Paul Williams passed away Wednesday.  Anyone looking for an example of how science fiction fandom helped create rock n’ roll journalism, look no further than the first half of this interview … Continue reading

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Intro to Steampunk Exhibit

Earlier this school year, I contributed an introductory essay for “Worlds of Steampunk: Fiction, Art, Fashion, and Culture,” a multimedia exhibit at UC Davis’s Shields Library.  Research librarians Roberto C. Delgadillo and Marcia Meister have created an invaluable resource for … Continue reading

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Buddy Holly, Bradley Denton, and Bahktin

I’m almost reluctant to write about Brad Denton’s Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede because I’ll be talking about it in my Eaton Science Fiction Conference paper on retro-futurism and nostalgia.  Instead of covering that material here, I … Continue reading

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George Lucas and Pavement: My Imaginary California

When I started dating a girl from the Sacramento Valley, there were only two northern California towns I really knew and cared about. One was Stockton, the town that produced the great band Pavement.  “Cesspool,” the people who’d been there … Continue reading

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A Kansas City Labrick in California, Part 3

It has been brought to my attention that the term “Kansas City Labrick” may in fact be a geo-social redundancy, akin to “pushy New Yorker” or “dumbass Texan”*. *Any offended Texans, please note that the last one comes directly from … Continue reading

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Howard Waldrop Saves the Day!

If you know Howard Waldrop’s classic short story “Save a Place in the Lifeboat for Me,” (from his collection, Howard Who?) you know it pulls off a sci-fi/magical-realist blend of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the “Day the Music … Continue reading

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“…Look, Look. Look Where Your Hands Are. Now”

What can I say about Toni Morrison’s Jazz?  It’s great.  I’ve taught it in American Lit surveys.  But this week was the first time I covered it in a special topics upper-division class, which often puts books in a different … Continue reading

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February 3rd, 2009 – A First Draft

File this under “strange things music nostalgia will drive you to do.” Four years ago today, on the 50th anniversary of their deaths, I drove to Clear Lake, Iowa and walked to the crash site of the plane that carried … Continue reading

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A Kansas City Labrick in California*

I’m teaching The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in my Topics in the Novel: Nostalgia/Desiderium class today. Rather than wax on Twain’s approach to nostalgia, I want to wax on my nostalgia for Twain—or lack thereof. See, I grew up in … Continue reading

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Why I’m OK with “Sci-Fi”

Exhibit A in the ways pop culture nostalgia affects my work with speculative literature: I’m OK with the term “Sci-Fi.” A lot of folks working in SF hate the label. They see it as a dismissive term, used by those … Continue reading

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You Sell Wonderment?

I write (mostly) speculative fiction, and I’ve taught science fiction classes at University of California, Davis, including a “Nostalgia and Desiderium” novels class covering pop music and science fiction tropes.  I will intermittently post material that encompasses those endeavors. Posts usually cover one or more … Continue reading

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