Professor Curzan was easy to listen to and understand. She spoke fluently and confidently. I loved the word play and history. The consistent referenci..Show More »ng meant it was easy to get further information.
I've listened to many Great Courses before and now that they are on Audible it can only be good. this one was interesting for me as I like to study wr..Show More »iting techniques and style etc as well and you gain insight not only into methods to try, but into what makes some of the great writers great. there are many excellent quotations from famous writers that make me want to read them more if i haven't already.
one good thing about these courses is that you can do the lessons/lectures one at a time and come back after something else and continue, or do them several together.
the only thing i would change is the little intro/exit announcement and applause needs to go. and i would like to see at least a pdf of materials referred to if not the actual sentences quoted.
I was an English major in college. I learned to do research and write papers. I think I have some natural writing ability, and I know I am very logi..Show More »cal. Nevertheless, writing essays was agony for me. I had no idea how to outline. I put the project off to the last minute. Thanks to many all-nighters, I was able to get good grades.
Thirty-five years later, I listened to this course for a couple of reasons.
I'm a supervisor and have to provide written feedback. Almost always, I end up writing the reviews at the last possible moment and stress about not having done them sooner.
I am also a Toastmaster. As a Toastmaster, I give 15 to 20 speeches a year. After 24 years, I've finally learned to outline, but I thought this course might help me organize my thoughts more efficiently. I have a technical speech that I've been planning to give, but couldn't quite figure out how to organize and present it to a non-technical audience.
This course (perhaps the 20th I've listened to) is one of the two best I've heard. (The other was "The Other Side of History".)
Professor Armstrong is a gifted and engaging lecturer. She provides insight into her own writing, which informs her recommendations of best methods. She has concrete suggestions for how these techniques can be used both inside and outside academia. (Letters to the editor, resume writing, etc.)
She gives us examples of poor or average writing, then recommends changes that undeniably improve the work.
Her course is clear, well-organized, easy to follow and (surprisingly) fun.
My niece wants to teach high school English. I have recommended this course. If I had been presented with this material in my youth, my writing would have been better and my sleep more prolific. As it is, I believe my habits and my writing will improve thanks to Professor Armstrong and this course.
This course is long overdue. Everyone knows that there are really two industries for writers, the one that exists in the rosy imagination of an aspiri..Show More »ng author, and the one that exists in the real world. They rarely meet. If you're reading this, then you must have some interest at one day writing a book. Well, if so, then you're just like me. Professor Jane Friedman tells you pretty much everything you need to know with practical and sympathetic advice. She knows what we EXPECT the industry to be and she knows how difficult it is for writers to adjust to the reality of a massive global industry populated by countless other professionals. So, here it is...eleven-and-a-half hours of 21st Century reality, passed on to you by an industry insider. You'll hear her explain how all the gears of the great and mysterious publishing machine work. She covers fiction authors and non-fiction authors...and she covers traditional publishing and self-publishing avenues. She's up front that publishing is an industry in transition and today's author has many more options with many new risks. If you are serious about writing a book and if you plan on making reality an ally, then this course is for you. And thanks to Audible.com for making courses like this one available! Enjoy!
After listening to these 24 lectures by Professor Gary Wolfe, I think the Hugo Awards for outstanding achievement in science fiction writing needs a n..Show More »ew category. This course should win Most Interesting History and Best Argument for the Literary Value of the Genre.
The overview starts with the19th century European and American roots of science fiction, through the American-dominated pulp magazine and early novel years, the transformative 80s and 90s, and into the new millennium. The chronological presentation is interspersed with lectures on the different icons and tropes of science fiction: space ships, robots, aliens, apocolypses, and dystopias all get thorough coverage. How sci fi has dealt with religion, history, ecology, and gender also get their own lectures.
There is all kinds of interesting stuff here. There are digressions about the difference between fantasy and science fiction (my favorite distinction was the premise that science fiction has planets--Mars, Arrakis, Barrayar--while fantasy has worlds--Middle Earth, Westeros, Chalion). Dr. Wolfe returns frequently to the paradox that the audience for sci fi books and short stories has always been a fairly small one compared to that for, say, mystery, romance, or even fantasy, whereas science fiction movies have huge audiences and have dominated the box office for decades--think 2001 Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Alien, Independence Day, and Avatar, to name just a few.
In both print and cinematic form, however, Wolfe notes that, in the eyes of Those Who Decree What Shall Be Considered Art (and those who give out the National Book and Academy Awards), science fiction "don't get no respect." His final two lectures are among the best, covering, respectively, the wide range of international and culturally diverse authors and their contributions that have appeared in the last 20 years; and what he considers hopeful signs of increasing recognition that the best science fiction is as good as the best "literary" fiction. He quotes author China Meiville's observation that, while the latter may bring readers moments of "Oh. Yes," good science fiction brings readers moments of, "Oh, wow!"
Dr. Wolfe is very obviously an expert, immersed in and enthusiastic about his subject. There's no dreary droning, no pedantic pomposity here. I suppose if you *really* hate being lectured to, this college-level course will not change your mind. But if you're at all interested in science fiction--or even in literature in general--I can't recommend this course highly enough.