By Adam Roberts | June 15, 2009
Categories: Events and Appearances
I spent much of last week in Liverpool, teaching (with Joan Gordon and Paul Kincaid) the annual SFF Masterclass.
Location: University of Liverpool
Dates: June 10th, 11th and 12th, 2009. The Science Fiction Masterclass is held in conjunction with the University of Liverpool. The aim of the Masterclass is to provide those who have a serious interest in sf criticism with the opportunity to exchange ideas with leading figures in the field, and also to use the SFF Collection. The Masterclass will take place from June 10-12th at the University of Liverpool. Each full day of the Masterclass will consist of morning and evening classes, with afternoons free to prepare. Class leaders for 2009 will be Joan Gordon, Adam Roberts, and Paul Kincaid.
It was a thoroughly stimulating experience, for me at any rate. The main theme of my thread of the teaching was the relative merits of broadly structuralist/formalis approaches to SFF (such as are, at the moment, probably dominant in the critical culture associated with genre) and the approaches we might call, again broadly, 'poststructuralist'. A very bright class, and lots of interesting interaction.
On the last day we picked a text we had all read -- The Hobbit, it turned out to be -- and discussed how we might write a paper about it. We discussed a wide range of possible angles; and after we'd noted the preponderance of holes in the novel, we talked about that. Rejecting (rightly, I think) a vulgar Freudian decoding ('all the holes are vaginas! And there are swords, too! The swords are penises!') we instead tried out a Deleuze/Guattari 'holey space' reading. After the class I wrote up the paper, and you'll find it here.