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 work with authors every day, plus I teach a quarterly course called "How to Publish Your Book" which is only 3 hours -- so I frequently recommend bo..Show More »oks for them to read. This is my new "go-to" book. Excellent content, not stuffy or favoring one method over another, and comprehensive but not too much to consume. Great job!
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.