icepixie: ([B5] New Beginnings Susan)
Welcome to the Create Your Own Fake TV Show Meme from [ profile] mylittleredgirl, who gave me this most excellent list of actors with which to cast my pretend series:
Claudia Christian
Jerry Doyle
Chi McBride
Terry Farrell
Grace Park
Paul Gross
Jessica Steen

I decided I needed more than seven characters (why, yes, I do like huge ensemble shows, why do you ask?), so I added Susan Coyne, Lee Pace, and Mary McDonnell in small/reoccurring roles.

Not very far into this, I realized that I was getting most of my ideas from other TV shows. Specifically, this pretty much mashes up Babylon 5 and Atlantis, with maybe a bit of due South for spice, and a scoop of BSG's paranoia, because this is 2010 and paranoia is in style. I decided to just run with the derivations, not to mention the typecasting I put some of the actors through, so you will likely recognize certain elements. But we are well into the postmodern era now, and one of the hallmarks of postmodern storytelling is pastiche, so in fact I am just being all highbrow and literary. I have a master's degree in this stuff, so I should know. ;)

(But seriously. When you need a security-conscious, humanity-first president who is nevertheless probably not actively evil, who ELSE are you going to choose besides Mary McDonnell? I ask you.)

I, er, also realized that I know nothing about diplomacy, so making five of my characters diplomats may not have been the smartest move...but I'm forging on anyway. It's probably a good thing that the closest I would ever get to writing this is, like, fluffy shipfic for some of the characters or possibly fic where the three aides have a weekly standing date to bitch about their bosses down at the bar.

For the most part, the actors here are supposed to be playing pretty close to their actual ages as of 2010. However, two of them just stepped out of a time-warp from 1994 'cause, well, that show is the only thing I've ever seen them in, and I like to have decent mental pictures of my characters, okay?

Beyond the Stars

Are you sure you want to eat that? )

Meme Rules )


Jan. 13th, 2010 04:32 pm
icepixie: ([B5] New Beginnings Susan)
Okay, so I thought I knew what I was going to use as my examples of fanvids for class the week after next, but I was wrong. We're doing a day on sci-fi fan culture (well, we're doing a bit more than that, but one day of thorough discussion of it) and since my classroom this semester has TECHNOLOGY,* I would like to show some vids. I've got Lim's "Us" lined up, because it's so awesome and very much about fan culture, but I could use two more. I'd like to have one that offers a really different interpretation of the source material--a slash vid would probably work well, but also a constructed reality vid or something like that would work--and then perhaps one that's just hilarious, like, I dunno, a Scorpius vid to "I'm Too Sexy" or something.

We're watching Serenity for the same class period, so Firefly vid suggestions would be especially appreciated. Others would be great too; I imagine canons that have mass rather than cult popularity--Star Trek, X-Files, etc.--would be better choices as more of my students would know of them, but I'll entertain just about anything. (I'll probably throw up links on our Blackboard site for any I don't assign to the whole class or show in class.)

* Seriously, last semester I had chalkboards, and that was it. Now I not only have dry erase boards, but I have a "sympodium" that will let me project a laptop screen, and some kind of digital overhead projector that feeds into the same unit. Oooooh.
icepixie: (Default)
Ugh. You have no idea how much I want to just say, "Thursday and Friday are October break. No one wants to be in class on Wednesday. Let's just cancel it," in order to avoid preparing for Wednesday's class. (It's not on a particularly challenging topic; I just don't wanna.) Of course, then I really would have no excuse not to grade the stack of papers sitting on my table. I got one section done this weekend, and I managed to power through their homework during my office hours, but I still have the contextual analyses from the other section to get through.

I finished my to-do list early on Sunday, and ended up taking a four-mile walk on one of Knoxville's greenways, which I'd heard of but never tried before. The one I was on was pretty awesome--it runs right by a railroad track, so I got to see two trains going by in addition to pretty trees and plants. I also ran across a shopping center I didn't know existed near me--I guess because it's hard to get to by car. It has two dollar stores, though, and a Subway. I should investigate more some day.

Then I came home and watched several episodes of Northern Exposure, because really, what better way to while away free time? Ah, Cicely. I wish you existed so I could live there.

That kind of free day usually leaves me ready to get back to work, but not so much this time. Bleh.


I worked on my daily schedule for 102 this weekend, and sadly, I'm going to have to dump The Sparrow from the reading list. It's just too long to fit comfortably into the course as-is; there is, technically, enough room for it at a not-horribly-brutal pace (for freshmen, anyway), but I also have teaching-of-writing goals that need to be accomplished, and some essays we need to read in that space in order for them to do their third paper.

I'm substituting The Forever War in its place, as I read it basically in one sitting Saturday after frying my brain grading, and thought it was most excellent. And I can do it in two weeks instead of the three-plus-spring break Sparrow would take. That, the aforementioned essays, and assorted short stories and TV episodes should do the trick. (I would really like to use Le Guin's "Paradises Lost," but that's ninety pages--the length itself is not a problem, but scanning in that many pages would take a long time, and I'm not sure how willing I am to put in the effort.)


Anyone got Warehouse 13 fic recs? I can't believe I'm asking that, as I only managed to watch the first three episodes before giving up, and then this evening while I was eating dinner I tried to watch the season finale, and got through about two-thirds before I realized it was actually making me want to prep for my classes rather than continue. But I'm in the mood for lighthearted banter, and I've read all the good Castle fics. In fact, I think I've read all the good bantery fics out there in all my fandoms. (Note to self: find more fandoms where the canon isn't a decade old.)


Now I really have no excuse not to be working. *mopes*
icepixie: (Default)
Finished Spaced last night. I knew what to expect this time, so it was a lot easier to fall into the rhythm of the episodes. Plus, Tim and Daisy are just so freaking cute. Eee. (Plus? EPILOGUE. Awwwwww.)


I'm writing the proposal for my 102 class, and I've gotta say, I'm really thrilled about it. 101 is kind of exciting too, but this class is going to be awesome. With some help from a doctoral student (who coincidentally happens to be the other person in the department doing contemporary Irish poetry), I figured out how not to have to cut anything from my mammoth potential reading/viewing list! MWAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm going to make each of them sign up for three extra readings per semester, and have a Blackboard discussion-board conversation among themselves in the small groups that result for each reading. Then they'll have to present on the text and their discussion for a few minutes. It'll be GREAT! And I won't feel guilty for leaving, say, Asimov off the syllabus for the entire class in a sci-fi course.

The paper assignments are going to be pretty cool as well, if I do say so myself. One of them is on fan culture in general (observe a message board/LJ comm/whatever and write a paper about what you see), and for another, one of the options will be analyzing how some fan works of the student's choice interact with/transform their source material. It just occurred to me that there's a slight possibility someone might stumble across my fic in the course of doing those assignments, which would be incredibly weird, but I guess I can live with it. (I have yet to decide what my answer to the inevitable question of "Do you write fanfic?" will be. I have no intention of telling them my nom de plume ever, but I'm not sure whether to deny everything, or just say, "Maybe I do, maybe I don't; if you're still curious after the semester ends, I'll give you a straight answer.")
icepixie: (Default)
...Okay, I want to be part of a choir singing "Diaspora Oratorio." (Listen.) It's amazing just listening to it; I think it would be transcendent to be surrounded by other musicians, helping create the sound.

And there are several other pieces I'd like to choreograph to ("Blood on the Scales" comes particularly to mind).


Some thoughts on sci-fi settings that got long )
icepixie: ([Farscape] Touch the stars)
[ profile] wintercreek, I finished The Sparrow the other day, and OMG I WANT TO INCLUDE THIS IN MY CLASS SO BAD. It's exactly the kind of novel I want the course to be about--using science fiction not only to look at ourselves from a different perspective, but on historical personages from a different perspective as well. SO. AWESOME.

Andandandandand, best of all, it's not as long as I thought it was! We could get through it in perhaps three weeks, which, if it's the longest work on the syllabus, would be reasonable enough. Ah! Hooray!

So with that on there, I've filled, hmm, perhaps two-thirds of the syllabus. Here's what I'm planning on:

- The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell [Oooh, and excerpts from sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary reports or the conquistadors' relaciones for comparison purposes--holy cow, is my Early Am Lit class coming in handy here?]
- The Martian Chronicles - Bradbury
- "Paradises Lost" - Le Guin*
- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Adams
- "Strangers" and possibly "Fortune Hunter" - Poul Anderson
- "The Screwfly Solution" - Raccoona Sheldon
- Stories from Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics (probably some combination of "The Distance of the Moon," "The Sign in Space," "Without Colors," and "The Spiral")
- Excerpts from Margaret Cavendish's A New World Called the Blazing-World
- Radio version of War of the Worlds and the various fabulous historical sources on same that [ profile] nickless sent me
- Contact (film version) [Comparing and contrasting this to Sparrow would be amazing]
- Serenity (or possibly the episode "Ariel")
- Babylon 5: "Believers" or perhaps "The Geometry of Shadows"
- TNG: "Darmok"

I'm tempted to include the Vorkosigan novella "The Mountains of Mourning," but it would be tricky because you need to read the whole thing to discuss it in any kind of interesting way. Perhaps over spring break... I would also like to include an episode of The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, but that would have to be very bootleg, alas, since there are no DVDs of it. Boooo. Perhaps there is a suitable steampunk short story lying around somewhere... (Recs? [ profile] castalianspring?) I also haven't finished reading through all the recommendations y'all gave me last time I posted on this, so there will be more short stories selected from that, I'm sure. (I'm thinking "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" and "Repent, Harlequin!" will be definites, but I probably need four or five more all together.)

My main theme is still turning out to be space exploration and alien interaction, but I feel like I should throw in something connected to the other major sci-fi threads out there--time travel, cyberpunk, androids, alternate universes, etc. I think I should probably include a NewWho episode so my film/TV examples aren't all American, but...gah. I'm still ticked off at that show. Maybe I'd better find a time travel short story instead. (There's The Time Machine, but I'm starting to run low on time in the semester. There's Heinlein's "All You Zombies," but I can't see sustaining 50 minutes of discussion on it.) I would like to include something from BSG, but I really don't know how I would manage to find an episode that didn't require yards of explanation for nonfans, so that may be a non-starter. Are there more non-space opera short stories I'm missing that need to be on here and weren't suggested before?

Another question: if you could pick one or two episodes each of Farscape and Futurama to put on this syllabus, which would it be? I haven't seen either series in too long, so I don't recall which would be best. Perhaps "Revenging Angel" for FS? (I need things that aren't too continuity-heavy, but of course the best episodes are the ones steeped in continuity, and I don't really remember a lot of them anymore, sigh.) The two I remember most clearly from Futurama are "Jurassic Bark" (which, come to think of it, would illustrate time travel rather well) and whichever one it is where Fry moves the stars for Leela. I would also like to use that series in a similar manner to HHG, as an example of sci-fi trope parody, so any particularly great examples of that would be welcome.

For you comic/graphic novel folks out there, any short examples to offer? I feel like there's probably good stuff there, but I just don't know about it. It would have to be readable for and discussable in one 50-minute class, because I'm running low on slots in the semester.

And finally, if y'all know some good fandom-related essays, blog entries, or the like, I'd love to hear about them, since one of the three paper assignments is going to be related to fandom. I figure Henry Jenkins is probably the go-to guy for this; anyone know if Textual Poachers is still the gold standard of fandom anthropology-type stuff, or are his newer books just as good? (I see he has a blog as well...I'll have to look through that and see if any entries are particularly relevant to what the assignment will be.)

* If anyone knows how to get copies of this novella not bundled in the collection The Birthday of the World, that would be fantastic. Since it's less than 30% of the book, I should be able to get the library to digitize it and make it available for my students to print out--I would hate to make them buy the book just for a small part of it--but at 100+ pages, I bet most of my students won't bother to print it out, and, if my experience is any indication, read it. I don't know why, but they buy and read the textbooks, but completely ignore the online material. Damned frustrating.

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