Tag Archives: steampunk

Celebration of Authors at C19 Conference

I’ll be participating at the “Celebration of Authors” event for the all-online C19: Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists conference this October. My book came out over a year ago, but it’s a biennial conference and the book wasn’t available last time … Continue reading

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Americana Music in Sci-Fi Games

There’s a fascinating video on Polygon from last week that begins by asking “Why is there so much banjo music in science fiction video games today?” (I’m not a gamer, so I wasn’t up on this trend–but I’m obsessed with … Continue reading

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Gears and God Reviewed in Extrapolation

My book on 19th-century American science fiction was reviewed in the journal Extrapolation. I’m linking to the review’s first page, although the rest of it is behind an academic paywall that will prevent most folks from reading the whole thing. … 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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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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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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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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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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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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Steampunk Images from Hannibal

Just posting some photos from the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, MO.  My parents went up there over Labor Day weekend and snapped these. As I said in an earlier post, it’s nice to see one of America’s best … Continue reading

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Mark Twain’s Town Discovers Steampunk

I recently returned from a Mark Twain conference in Hannibal, MO, and I noticed a change in Twain’s hometown since the last time I was there in 2011. There’s a lot more steampunk stuff. The town is already a tourist destination, … Continue reading

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Steampunk Links from UC Davis Course

We just finished up this quarter’s Steampunk first-year seminar.  I thought I’d share a screenshot of the class’s SmartSite folder of external links and pictures to give a taste of what the students examined.   As you can see, we … Continue reading

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Dime Novel Sci-Fi at “God and the American Writer” Symposium

At the end of February, I’ll be presenting a paper on the Frank Reade, Jr. dime-novel inventor series at a special symposium on “God and the American Writer” sponsored by the American Literature Association. What do those early science-fiction stories–best … Continue reading

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Scott Westerfeld & Justine Larbalestier Interview is Out

The interview Laurie Glover and I did with YA science-fiction giants Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier is now out. It appears in the Spring 2014 issue of Writing on the Edge (WOE), pages 96-106.  It’s not available online, so Larbalestier/Westerfeld … Continue reading

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Forthcoming Westerfeld and Labalestier Interview

Last week, Laurie Glover and I interviewed authors Scott Westerfeld and Justine Labalestier for UC Davis’s interdisciplinary writing journal, Writing on the Edge.  I’ve been transcribing and editing for the past few days with a February 28th deadline. We discussed … Continue reading

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Steampunk Final Exam, Part 2

As promised, here is the second half of the final questions I posed to students in my Steampunk first-year seminar at UC Davis.  This was the essay portion of the exam, and their answers were thoughtful. Instructions: Take a position … Continue reading

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Steampunk Final Exam for First-Year University Seminar, Part 1

O.K., I didn’t actually give my students a final exam for our Steampunk seminar.  I did, however, make a mock final and asked them to come up with answers for me. Part 1 was an identification section.  Answers are listed … Continue reading

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More Films from Steampunk Seminar

It took two class sessions, but we finally watched all of Howl’s Moving Castle.  What a great movie. Lots of discussion regarding whether or not the steampunk setting–with the mechanical/magical castle and the old planes and the pre-WWI uniforms–was really … Continue reading

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Wild, Wild West and Steampunk Movies

I just made 13 first-year university students watch the 1999 film version of Wild, Wild West, starring Will Smith and Salma Hayek, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.  I feel sort of guilty. It’s a bad film.  Even Roland Barthes would … Continue reading

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Case Study in Steampunk: Jekyll and Hyde

So, when contemporary writers appropriate 19th-century fictional characters, what can we learn?  Here’s how we tackled that question in my UC Davis first-year seminar class on steampunk… Last week, students read Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. … Continue reading

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Worldcon Update – San Antonio Appearances

I’ve updated my schedule under Appearances for Worldcon.  I have two confirmed appearances, but may have more “fill-in” gigs at the last minute. I’m particularly looking forward to attending panels on rock journalism and science fiction, Doc Savage, Mark Twain, … Continue reading

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UC Davis Steampunk Seminar–Full Steam Ahead!

Quick note: my First-Year Seminar on Steampunk was approved by University of California, Davis.  I’m looking forward to it.  I tried to pick texts/media that are appropriate for a 2 hr, once-a-week class designed for small-group, interpersonal work and creative … 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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