On Academic Brain and Compartmentalizing

As an academic, it is often very difficult to shut off the faculties I've spent the last fourteen years building.  Since I spend almost every day of the week analyzing literature, reading or thinking about theoretical/philosophical texts, I generally use my brain in a very particular way.  Turning that off is a chore, but a necessary one.  In fact, it is often so difficult to turn off that even some of my colleagues have expressed dismay at the inability or unwillingness of other academics to turn those faculties off just long enough to have a "regular conversation."  It's a problem I've seen, too, and it sometimes results in a distancing effect between those who can't turn it off and those that can.  Since I'm so often engaged in everyday sf/f fandom, the exercise of flipping that little academic switch is, in my opinion, crucial.

One such exercise occurred last Sunday when I went with a friend to see Ant-Man, the last entry in Marvel Studio's Phase 2.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if I can muster the words to say something intelligent about the film, I'll write a review for Totally Pretentious.  Discussing the film on Twitter eventually prompted a brief discussion with David Annandale and John Stevens about the impact of "academic brain" on one's ability to enjoy a creative product. Read More


Shaun’s Rambles 001: The Gallo Conspiracy and Trial By Fire

...in which I begin a podcast of random thoughts had while driving home from work. In this edition:
  • Some thoughts on the controversy over Irene Gallo's statements about the Sad / Rabid Puppies
  • Some thoughts on Trial By Fire by Charles Gannon and the absence of sf/f awards for adventure fiction
Enjoy the rambles. You can download the mp3 directly from this link or stream the episode below.

Book Review: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

For someone who considers themselves a fan of Elizabeth Bear's work, I sure haven't talked about her work all that much on this blog.  Two of my favorite science fiction novels -- Carnival and Dust -- were written by Bear, so it should come as no surprised that her latest novel, Karen Memory, would entice me equally as much as her much earlier work.  This novel, of course, is not the same kind of thing as Carnival and Dust, both more connected to a long and storied tradition of science fictional writing.  Karen Memory is delicious late 19th-century pulp pastiche steampunk! Read More