Extinction fiction: book order day

UPDATED, December 2013

So … when I broke English 478 in half and proposed to Continuing Studies that we could offer each half through them to community members, I got the dates backwards. Accordingly, I've had to reverse the intended reading sequence for the main course. If you started reading them out of order, well, great work to get started this early, and I apologize for misleading you.

The sequence below is the official sequence.

Original post, heavily edited for a corrected sequence
Amazing poster by June Cloud Photo

Time for an update for my extinction fiction course, The End of the Human! The deadline for textbook ordering for January courses was September 20th (the date of this post), so I've had to crystallize some of the possibilities that I've been sharing with people over the last while. There's still lots of time to figure out what kinds of approaches are worth trying with these works, but her's the basic shape for the course, and some tips for what people should buy you for Christmas.

Plus, it's looking like the first and third months of the course will run module-style for Continuing Studies, with a students-only piece in the middle, so here's how the schedule will run (assuming everything goes through!):

Module A: Hope in the Dark
  • the title's drawn from Rebecca Solnit's book of that name (which grew from her brave essay "Acts of Hope"), about the good news we tend not to notice in amongst the genuinely terrible news that's everywhere
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road
  • PD James, Children of Men
Module B: student choice
  • maybe you want to read Brian Aldiss' 1960s far-future novel Hothouse?
  • maybe you want to read Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield's webcomic Freak Angels?
  • either way, you're free to choose, but the majority choice will get the majority of class time, and I suspect we'll be doing Freak Angels together
Module C: Bring on the apocalypse
  • the title's drawn from George Monbiot's book of that name (based around this essay) emphasizing humanity's self-inflicted wounds
  • Nevil Shute, On the Beach
  • Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
In the first module, we're looking at two seriously (seriously!) depressing novels, but we're going to be reading them through the frame of Rebecca Solnit's hopefulness. 

In the third module, we're going to be talking about how we've brought apocalypse upon ourselves, and about what that does to our imaginations, especially the way in which it closes down our sense of what we can achieve together.

And in between? Two mad texts to choose from: we'll focus the majority of our class time on the one that the majority of students decide to read, but you'll have to educate the other side a bit about the one you've chosen.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to it -- once this term's two great classes are done, of course!


great post found it via twitter re cli fi radio show cbc i am in taiwan dan bloom coiner of CLI FI term, and PR guy behind the media boost now, if want back story email me at danbloom AT gmail Dot com and let's chat. extinction fiction! i love the term. did you coin it. tell me more about your course and students reax? cheers dan bloom at CLI FI CENTRAL blog http://pcillu101.blogspot.com THIS IS NOW MY LIFE'S WORK AND THEN I DIE. age 65 now. i am not a novelist or writer, just a pr hack and literary activist and deep green climate activist my teachers are James Lovelock and Margaret Atwood. email me

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