Our little cat Miao Miao passed away on December 26, 2018 after a battle with cancer. She was 13 years and 8 months old. Y rescued Miao after her mother had abandoned her when she was only a few weeks old in 2005. She was sick and small, but Y nursed her back to health and adopted her as part of her family. I came to know Miao beginning in 2008, after I met Y at Kent State. Soon, I became a part of the family, too. Miao was strong willed but also very loving. When we had guests over, she was an enthusiastic host. She brightened our days, which now seem diminished without her around. Even though Miao never really took to our younger cat Mose, we can tell that he grieves in his own way for her, too. She will be dearly missed.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was pitching the call for papers for my co-edited issue number 12 of NANO on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Now, there’s an exciting new cfp for issue 15 on Twin Peaks, Season Three!
I fondly remember the strangeness of watching the original two seasons unfold on ABC and then confronting BOB again when it was re-aired on Bravo. Unlike so much of our culture, Twin Peaks (and I would argue all of David Lynch’s work) stays with you. It’s a dream and nightmare collapsed into an inescapable memory that remains after the other things fade away.
Read the cfp below, and click here to submit your work to the co-editors, Matt Miller and Matthew Lau.
This special issue of NANO will explore the significance of the recently released third season of the seminal television show, Twin Peaks. Controversial from the outset and divisive to fans and critics alike, the new Twin Peaks (2017) is emerging as perhaps even more radical and important than the original series (1990-1991). The original Twin Peaks is often considered the first cult television show that spawned intensive fan followings in the emergent world of the web, and the immense catalogue of paratexts and influences the series has inspired since has never been fully tabulated. As a central work of American surrealism, a universe of oddities continues to find Twin Peaks’s orbit.
It is challenging even to define the latest Twin Peaks season. Creator David Lynch has referred to it as an 18-part feature film, and it has been presented on the big screen as a film at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and other venues. While Twin Peaks has always played with the tricks and tropes of genre television, especially detective fiction and soap operas, it has also pushed beyond the conventional limits of television and transgressed and exploded expectations. Season three of Twin Peaks is amorphous both in terms of its media formations and its constantly shifting tableaux of symbols and themes. It is an origin myth and tale of apocalypse, a profound questioning of the nature of good and evil, a veritable dictionary of post-modernity, a slow-moving narrative painting, a testament to the strength of a single woman, a series of elegies for actors and actresses who died between seasons two and three, a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey, a cosmic dream, and a forum for music videos. Co-writer Mark Frost has extended its world back to ancient Sumerian mythology, but season three of Twin Peaks also tracks the pulse of the moment with major statements on the current opioid crisis and the puzzling reversal of the FBI as an institution being looked to for salvation by a significant portion of the American left.
This issue welcomes multimodal essays up to 4,000 words (excluding works cited) exploring topics relating to season three of Twin Peaks, including but not limited to the following:
• Twin Peaks as genre fiction (for example, science fiction, detective fiction, horror, and soap operas)
• Examinations of use of artistic devices such as symbolism, allegory, and parallelism
• Media transformations and adaptions of season three
• Twin Peaks fandom in all its forms
• Use of music in Twin Peaks (its score, Roadhouse musical interludes, and atmospheric effects)
• Authority in Twin Peaks, including the role of Lynch’s refusals.
• Twin Peaks and its literary and media paratexts (especially The Final Dossier)
• Reception of season three of Twin Peaks by the television and film industry
• Explorations of intertextuality in Twin Peaks, season three (with film, painting, music, etc.)
• Explorations of gender and feminist critique
• Examinations of the hero’s journey and critique of heroism
• Religious vision and its disguises in season three
• Philosophical implications of Twin Peaks, season three
• The origins of Twin Peaks in Lynch’s other works, including not only his films but his drawings, paintings, writings, short films,
and other proto-works
Please direct questions to the special issue editors: Matt Miller, Yeshiva University [firstname.lastname@example.org] and Matthew Lau, Queensborough Community College (The City University of New York) [email@example.com].
NANO is a multimodal journal. Therefore, we encourage submissions that include images, sound, video, data sets, or digital tools in support of a written argument. The multimodal components of the essay must be owned or licensed by the author, come from the public domain, or fall within reasonable fair use (see Stanford University Libraries’ Copyright & Fair Use site, http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/ and the U.S. Copyright Office’s Fair Use site, http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html for more information). NANO’s Copyright and Permissions information is on the top left of this page.
For questions about video, audio, or image usage, please contact NANO: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NANO uses modified 8th Edition MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting and style. See: https://www.nanocrit.com/Submissions/Submission-Guidelines
Please use the Submission Form on top left of this page.
Keywords and abstract: Each author is asked to submit 5 keywords and a 150-word abstract to accompany their submission.
Deadlines concerning the special issue to be published in NANO:
• Submission deadline: January 31, 2019
• Publication: spring/summer 2019
We look forward to receiving your contributions.
200 Years of Interdisciplinarity Beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 27, 2018. 9:00am-5:00pm
Location: New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay St., Namm N119, Brooklyn, NY
“So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”
–Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1831 edition)
“Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
–Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Jurassic Park (1993)
Ian Malcolm’s admonition above is as much a rebuke to the lasting echo of Victor Frankenstein’s ambition to accomplish “more, far more” as it is to park owner John Hammond’s explaining, “Our scientists have done things no one could ever do before.” Films like Jurassic Park and the kind of literature that came to be known as Science Fiction (SF) owe a tremendous debt to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818). In addition to being an (if not the) inaugural work of SF, Mary Shelley builds her cautionary tale around interdisciplinary approaches to science, and she takes this innovation further by applying the humanities to question the nature of being in the world, the effects of science on society, and the ethical responsibilities of scientists. These are only some of Frankenstein’s groundbreaking insights, which as Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove observe in Trillion Year Spree (1986), “is marvellously good and inexhaustible in its interest” (20). The many dimensions of interdisciplinarity in Frankenstein and the SF that followed are the focus of the Third Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.
In this special anniversary year of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, join us for a one-day symposium discussing interdisciplinarity and SF. Continuing conversations began in the earlier symposia, we seek to investigate SF’s power as an extrapolating art form with interdisciplinarity at its core, including interdisciplinarity within STEM fields and the interdisciplinary synergy of STEM and the humanities.
We invite presentations of 15-20 minutes on SF and interdisciplinarity. Papers on or connected to Frankenstein are particularly encouraged. Possible presentation topics include, but are not limited to:
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and interdisciplinarity (focusing on research questions or teaching approaches)
- Explorations of interdisciplinary ideas, approaches, and themes in SF (or what disciplinary boundaries does SF bridge)
- SF as an interdisciplinary teaching tool (or what SF have you used or want to use in your classes to achieve interdisciplinary outcomes)
- SF’s interdisciplinary imaginative functions (or Gedankenexperiment, considering ethical issues, unintended consequences, or unexpected breakthroughs)
- Studying SF through an interdisciplinary lens (or combining otherwise discipline-bound approaches to uncover new meanings)
- Bridging STEM and the humanities via SF (or SF as an interdisciplinary cultural work that embraces STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics)
- SF and identity (or how interdisciplinarity in SF reveals, supports, or explores issues of identity, culture, sex, gender, and race)
- SF and place (or how SF’s settings are interdisciplinary, or where it is written fosters its interdisciplinarity)
- Interdisciplinarity and archival work in SF collections (or making the City Tech Science Fiction Collection work for faculty, students, and researchers across disciplines)
Please send your abstract (no more than 250 words), brief bio, and contact information to Jason Ellis (jellis at citytech.cuny.edu) by Oct. 31, 2018.
The program will be announced by Nov. 12, 2018 on the Science Fiction at City Tech website here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/.
Hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.
The Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction is held in celebration of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, an archival holding of over 600-linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and scholarship. It is located in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library (Library Building, L543C, New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201). More information about the collection and how to access it is available here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/librarycollection/.
Recently, I posted about the new OpenLab site that I launched for “Retrocomputing at City Tech.” On the site, I included a photographic inventory of the computing hardware and peripherals that I have on-hand in my office in Namm 520. Now, I’ve added to the site with a second page that inventories a majority of the software that is in the vintage computing archive. The software archive includes games (like Neuromancer pictured above, Star Wars X-Wing and TIE Fighter, and Star Trek 25th Anniversary), productivity software (such as Microsoft Office 2004), encyclopedias (Comptons, Groliers, and Microsoft Encarta), and operating systems (Windows 95, Macintosh System 7.5, Mac OS X 10.0-10.3 and 10.5). Follow the link above to see all of the software on its original media followed by textual descriptions.
In addition to working on a book review today, I created a new OpenLab site for Retrocomputing at City Tech. In addition to recording how I use vintage computers in the classroom and in research, the new OpenLab site contains a catalog of my vintage computing archive. I populated this catalog with most of the hardware, but I plan to granulize it further and create a catalog of my software. This, of course, will take time. At least there is a place for me to record these things now within the auspices of the work that I do at City Tech. I updated my previous Retrocomputing Lab page on this site with a link to the updated site on OpenLab.
Back in 2013 and after long deliberation, I deleted my Facebook, Google+, and Academia.edu accounts. Then, I deleted my Flickr/Yahoo and LinkedIn accounts. Now, I’ve wiped out my Twitter and Reddit accounts.
I used Twitter for seven-and-a-half years and had posted nearly 10,000 tweets (this number ebbed after cleaning up a hoard of past tweets). And I had a Reddit account for four years, and I had a healthy number of upvotes for my LEGO-related posts and discussions there.
I leveraged my Twitter and Reddit accounts to keep up with what’s going on in my profession as well as learn and contribute to other areas of interest including computer culture and LEGO. However, my cost for keeping up to date was considerable in terms of time and cognitive effort. And while I saw, read, and learned a lot from the work of social media, actionable returns–what I think of as a meaningful returns in terms of conversation, connections, and opportunities–were very small.
Ultimately, my decision to further reduce my social media footprint was based on these issues:
- Cost (time, attention, and cognitive load)
- Content (anxiety over posting, persistent needle-in-the-haystack problem for finding useful information)
- Discourse (challenge to follow threads, gain background information for out-of-context posts, rage cycles, hot takes, fear of missing out)
- Connection (so many discussions but uncertain where to contribute, sustaining conversation, social media not leading to projects outside of that realm)
- People (nonsense, bullshit, bigotry, and sexism; e.g., disheartening cases of disconnection between how some users comport in online LEGO communities and elsewhere)
Of course, there are arguments for remaining on social media, such as maintaining a professional presence on these platforms, publicizing the work that you and others do, discovering new and compelling work that isn’t amplified elsewhere, and leveraging social media to expand discourse through discussion, debate, and public engagement. For me, however, the daily reality of these platforms do not live up to the promise or potential with which they are often sold to end users.
My choices and these issues will inform how I approach social media in my classes. The reality for many of my students–especially those entering the field of technical communication–will need and rely on various social media platforms for their professional work and advancement. I think that informed, strategic, and purposeful social media choices are the best for them and others. I’m looking forward to these upcoming discussions in the classroom.
If you’d like to trim your social media presence, Wired has a guide for deleting the most popular social media accounts. These instructions show how to deactivate your Twitter account. After 30 days of inactivity, your account and its content are deleted. And, these instructions tell you how to delete your Reddit account. One caveat: Your posts and comments will remain unless you take steps to remove or edit them. In my case, I manually deleted them, but there are automated approaches, such as Shreddit and Nuke Reddit History for Firefox or Chrome.
The Science Fiction Foundation recently published my review of A Conversation Larger Than the Universe: Science Fiction and the Literature of the Fantastic from the Collection of Henry Wessells. The exhibit, held at The Grolier Club in New York City from Jan. 2018 through 10 Mar. 2018 offered a very interesting afternoon’s exploration of one reader’s impressive collection of books, autographs, and ephemera. While I hope that you will click through to read the full review, I include my conclusion below and a separate link to the photos that I took at the exhibition, which might be of interest to those folks who were unable to attend the short-lived display.
Personal collections tend to say more about their collectors than anything else. While the totality of the items in the collection (with the exhibit being a curated selection from the larger collection) provides one kind of map and history of the fantastic, it ultimately expresses the logic and lived experience of its collector. Wessells explains: ‘I collect by synecdoche, meiosis, and metonymy, as well as by inclination, and by ties of friendship’, and ‘My interests as a reader have often led me away from the canonical to the uncertain edges of the fantastic. Along the boundaries is often where distinctions are sharpest, where science fiction is not so much a place you get to as it is the way you went’. Wessells’s exhibited collection is as admirable as it is interesting to experience, a path off the busy Manhattan streets and into other, imagined worlds.