Whitney Speculative Finalists 2011

This is the fourth and last segment of my Whitney finalist reviews, following earlier installments on general fiction, general youth fiction, and speculative youth fiction. I would have liked to do the other categories as well, but these are the genres that lie closest to my heart — and as many as I could get to by the voting deadline, which is this coming Monday.

All the regular warning: Story spoilers. My own opinions. Thanks to publishers of No Angel and A Night of Blacker Darkness for making electronic copies available. Please chime in with your opinions.

A final comment: Opinions about specific finalists and categories notwithstanding, I think the Whitney Awards fill an invaluable role within the community of Mormon letters, and very much appreciate the work that goes into them, including those who administer the awards and particularly the committees of judges. Thanks to all of you for your hard work.

Continue reading “Whitney Speculative Finalists 2011”

Call for abstracts: Ender’s Game and Philosophy

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series is calling for abstracts on the subject of Ender’s Game and Philosophy. Deadline for abstracts is March 19, 2012.

Wm: Kent Larsen passes this on to me for posting. Some of you may be interested in responding…

Call for Abstracts

Ender’s Game and Philosophy

Edited by Kevin S. Decker

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader.

Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following: “A Childhood Deferred?”: the ethics of hyper-specialized training for the very young; “The Military and their Monitors”: issues of privacy and civil rights during wartime; “All-Out War”: just war theory and the ethics of total mobilization of Earth society against the buggers; “We Know What You Think”: how and why monitors could be used to keep track of individuals’ inmost thoughts and desires; “They Aren’t Normal; They Act Like–History”: Hegel and the cunning of reason in history and future wars; “The Hook and the Raft”: does the I.F. “System” colonize the human and bugger “Lifeworlds”?; “The Giant’s Drink”; Ender’s training is a simulation, but are we living in one?; “Know Your Enemy”: the strategic philosophies of Sun-Tzu and Ender Wiggin; “Ender’s Game and the problem of Dirty Hands”; “Constructing Subjects in Space”; Foucault and Ender’s military leaders; “Bugger All!”: when cultural incommensurability turns into conflict; “Wiggin’ the Dog”: ethical and political dimensions of stage-managed wars; “Down with the Warsaw Pact!”: the epistemology of blogging; “Locke and Demosthenes”: “˜virtual’ politics with false personas; “Of Bachelard and Battlerooms”: philosophy of bodies in space; “Peter’s in the Mirror Again”: virtual simulations and artificial intelligence; “Valentine’s Day”; philosophy of emotion in Ender’s Game; “Like a Gun”: is Ender responsible for the terrible consequences of his actions, or has he been a pawn for the I.F.?

Wm interjects: please note that in later editions OSC changed the name of the alien race from buggers to Formics.

Submission Guidelines:

1. Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV(s): March 19, 2012.

2. Submission deadline for drafts of accepted papers: June 18, 2012.

Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to: Kevin S. Decker at kdecker@ewu.edu

Check out the series website: http://andphilosophy.com/

Analyzing the Book of Mormon with Grant Hardy for fun and profit

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Grant Hardy’s Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide is unquestionably the most important piece of Mormon criticism in the last few years. The way he has dissected the Book’s text and structure is remarkable. And while of course Book of Mormon criticism has been done before, I don’t think anyone has taken it nearly as deeply.

(Which is funny because, if I have any complaint about Hardy’s book, it’s that sometimes it could have gone on for another thirty dozen pages without boring me. All I want for Christmas is for this book to be twice as long.) Continue reading “Analyzing the Book of Mormon with Grant Hardy for fun and profit”

Mormon Fan Fiction?

0--Among_the_Nephites_productEarlier this month Time magazine used the popularity of Harry Potter to look at fan fiction. I was a little surprised to find that not only is the fan fiction universe much larger than I supposed (fanfiction.net alone has more than half a million Harry Potter works and more than 2 million total), but that two LDS authors are in the forefront of some controversy surrounding the genre.

Continue reading “Mormon Fan Fiction?”

Some Definitional Thoughts About YA (Mormon) Fiction

Author’s note: This started as a post on my own blog on whether or not No Going Back is a YA novel. I showed it to William Morris, who suggested that I post it here. I quote from his comments: “I know you are worried about readers tiring of hearing about No Going Back, but this blog entry a) is literary criticism, which is the heart of AMV and b) tackles what is becoming a core question for Mormon fiction, imo, because of the huge number of authors finding success with YA and/or work for middle readers — that is, is YA capable of providing real literary value to Mormon letters and if so what level of “˜mature/explicit’ content can it deal with without alienating Mormon readers.”

So I’ve posted different versions (with different titles) in the two places. The version at my blog focuses on the original question of whether No Going Back is a YA novel. The version here retains most of that content, but also considers some more general questions about the nature and status of YA novels, particularly in the Mormon universe.

Continue reading “Some Definitional Thoughts About YA (Mormon) Fiction”

Critic’s Corner: Eugene England on OSC’s Pastwatch

I’m pleased to announce the launching of Critic’s Corner here at AMV. As with our other Friday/Weekend features — Short Story Friday, , and Weekend (Re)Visitor — I’m hoping that my co-bloggers and AMV’s readers will help me with the effort, which was inspired by the responses to a previous post on works of literary criticism found in Dialogue’s archives.

For the launch, I’ve decided to highlight Eugene England’s response to Orson Scott Card’s novel Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher ColumbusAmazon ) because it captures well, I think, a specific, fascinating moment in both of these great men of Mormon letters’ careers.

Title: Pastwatch: The Redemption of Orson Scott Card

Author: Eugene England

Publication Info: Mormon Literature Database; text of a paper presented at Life, the Universe, & Everything XV: An Annual Symposium on the Impact of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Provo, Utah, February 28, 1997

Submitted by: Wm Morris

Why?: Wm says, “What fascinates me about this paper is that it represents an attempt by England to convince himself that OSC is back in his corner (so-to-speak). It is as much about the socio-cultural politics of Mormonism as it is about the novel Pastwatch.”

Participate:

Fill out the Critic’s Corner form

Read all the Critic’s Corner posts so far

Angela Hallstrom and the Art of Short-Story Arrangement

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This is the third and final entry in this series. The first part of our interview was about Ms Hallstom’s novel-in-stories Bound on Earth. The second was about her editorship of the literary journal Irreantum. This third portion is about the short-story collection, Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction, that she edited for Zarahemla Books (review).

Dispensation:Latter-day Fiction

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Let’s start with what criteria a story had to meet to even be considered for inclusion. What were the ground rules going in to this anthology? Continue reading “Angela Hallstrom and the Art of Short-Story Arrangement”