Steampunk Presentation

On Valentine’s Day, I presented my paper, “Projecting Victorians into the Future Through the Works of H.G. Wells and Steampunk” at the weekly Faculty and Postgraduate School of English Seminar. I think that there was a pretty good turn out with folks peppering Lecture Theatre Two in the Rendall Building. My presentation was only twenty minutes long, because I had edited the paper down to ten pages (from twelve). I spent the last week working on this so that it would be the appropriate length for the SF and the Canon Conference in Cambridge. I shouldn’t have done this, because the Q&A session didn’t run very long. This was due in part to my not knowing everything there is to know in relation to steampunk. Also, I should have structured my handout differently, because I was asked more questions about the titles on the handout (most of which I haven’t read) instead of the titles that I talked about in my paper–Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, Wells’ “A Story of the Days to Come,” and Chiang’s “Seventy-Two Letters.” Everyone told me that it was a good presentation, but I feel that I didn’t deliver as much as I should have. I suppose I’m my own worst critic, but I think that’s the way it should be. Thanks again to everyone for coming out and I hope that you enjoyed the chocolates and talk. Pictures from the presentation are here.

I called my folks the other day to ask them to ship my J.Crew suit to me, because I don’t have any good presentation clothes. I wore my GAP shirt and sports jacket from my very first presentation at Georgia Tech’s Monstrous Bodies Symposium. My shirt was like a balloon since I’ve lost so much weight!

After the presentation, Jonathan, AP, Andy, Christian, Ardy, and I walked over to the Cambridge for a pint. Jonathan hooked me up with some Fosters. I found out some more about the PhD program here at Liverpool from Jonathan, and we all had a lively discussion about comics, books, and films.

For Valentine’s Day, Sunshine organized an outing to FACT for a one night screening of Casablanca. Christian, Ardy, Jean, “Him,” and I met Sunshine outside her university tele-annoying job around 7:45pm, and then we all walked down to FACT. After we got there, I went to the bar and got a White Russian, and then we went into the movie after Phill got there. It was great seeing Bogart, Bergman, and Rains on the big screen.

Today, I met Meghmala for coffee and a lively discussion about science fiction and astrophysics. I messaged her awhile back on facebook after seeing that she’s a fan of Asimov. I think that we had a good conversation, and I certainly enjoyed hearing about her program and coursework. If I had it to do all over, I think astrophysics would be a good path to take.

I’m currently reading Murray Constantine’s (Katharine Burdekin) Swastika Night for Utopias and Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine for reworking my steampunk paper.

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.