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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Classtime: Your Genre Recommendations

Originally posted on Google+, but equally relevant here:

Need recommendations from you all. I'm teaching a course called Writing About Postcolonialism and Genre Fiction and I want to couple the postco genre text with a short, representative example of the literary tradition in a particular genre. So, I'm asking you for your recommendations and opinions. I've got a lot of things in mind, but I haven't read everything and it's possible there's a perfect story that I don't know about...which you have read.

This is what I'm looking for (short fiction, novelettes, novellas, but no novels if possible):

  • Golden Age or Pulp Era Space Opera (the high octane kind of stuff that best represents SF of the period) 
  • Medical Thriller 
  • General Thriller 
  • Crime or Detective Mystery 
  • Fairytale (perhaps a specific Western tradition, or specific tales) 
  • Dystopia 
  • Noir 

Right now, I'm considering things like Smith's Lensman Series, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Shorts, some of Poul Anderson's shorts, and selections from Grimm's fairytales (among other things).

That's a lot of genres, I know. I just want to saturate my head with as many possibilities so I can find the perfect combo for this class. Crowd sourcing literature classes FTW!

(A quick clarification: I'm not looking for contemporary examples, as much of the texts I'm using on the postco side are from the last 40ish years. I want to show how they arise from a solid literary genre tradition, if that makes sense.)


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  1. Define 'post-colonial'.

  2. That's somewhat difficult. The broadest definition I will be using for the course: the period immediately following anticolonial revolution, colonial retraction, or similar events in which colonies cease to become colonies in the proper sense (directly governed by an colonial agent).

    But that's a very simple definition which doesn't quite get at the complexities of the term.

    Granted, I'm not concerned about postcolonial work, since I have that list filled out. I'm concerned with comparison texts.

  3. I'm not entirely sure quite what you're looking for, but you should check out Edmond Hamilton's "Conquest of Two Worlds" and William Tenn's "The Liberation of Earth" for interesting early SF.

    For a mystery/thriller, maybe something like Georges SImenon's Tropic Moon. I don't think Elspeth Huxley's Kenyan mysteries are still in print, or I'd say they're worth looking at.

  4. Matthew: I'm simply trying to play comparative "Western" texts of particular genres alongside texts written by writers from the postcolony(ies). That way I can show what traditions these writers are manipulating and using.

    But those are wonderful examples! I'll check them out for sure. Thanks!