Bookmarked Edtech sci-fi (code acts in education)

Here’s a list the lovely people on Twitter suggested of edtech sci-fi texts, TV, and film. Three were even suggestions of existing compilations of edtech sci-fi: a 2015 piece by Audrey Watters on Education in Science Fiction, a collection by Stephen Heppell, and an entry on Education in SF at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Check those out too. I’ve alphabetized the list but nothing more. Some people added short descriptions, which I’ve paraphrased, and others links, which you’ll have to mine the replies to find, I’m afraid.

Ben Williamson collects together a collection of science fiction texts which depict education. It would be interesting to have a reader collating excerpts from each that could be used as a provocation to “engage with the complex social, political, economic and and environmental crises of our time.”
Bookmarked 50 Great Classic Novels Under 200 Pages (Literary Hub)

We are now past the mid-way point in February, which is technically the shortest month, but is also the one that—for me, anyway—feels the longest. Especially this year, for all of the reasons that you already know. At this point, if you keep monthly reading goals, even vague ones, you may be looking for few a good, short novels to knock out in an afternoon or two. Last year, I wrote about the best contemporary novels under 200 pages, so now I must turn my attention to my favorite short classics—which represent the quickest and cheapest way, I can tell you in my salesman voice, to become “well-read.”

Emily Temple follows up her list of 50 short contemporary novels with a focus on class novels.
Bookmarked Ten Ways to Lose Your Literature by Ed Simon, Author at The Millions (themillions.com)

All literature is of a similar resistance against time, mortality, finitude, limitation. To write it to commit an act of faith, to pray that what words you’ve assembled shall last longer than you, and that they’ll hopefully be found by at least someone who shall be, however briefly, changed.

Ed Simon explores the world of lost literature. He breaks this down into ten ideas.

Literature as merely a fragment:

Literature as fragment, literature as rough draft, literature as the discarded. The history of writing is also the shadow history of the abandoned, a timeline of false-starts and of aborted attempts.

Lost literature as ‘wish fufillment’:

When it comes to such forgotten, hidden, and destroyed texts, Kelly argues that a “lost book is susceptible to a degree of wish fulfillment. The lost book… becomes infinitely more alluring simply because it can be perfect only in the imagination.” Hidden words have a literary sublimity because they are hidden; their lacunae functions as theme.

Literature as cultural memory:

In A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq by Fernando Baez argues that “books are not destroyed as physical objects but as links to memory… There is no identity without memory. If we do not remember what we are, we don’t know what we are.”

Literature and the hope of being found:

There is no discussing lost literature without consideration of that which is found. Just as all literature is haunted by the potential of oblivion, so all lost books are animated by the redemptive hope of their rediscovery.

Literature and the subline:

Because the gulf between printed word and the meanings which animate them is a medium for sublimity, the entirety of all that which we don’t know and can never read as infinite as the universe itself.

Literature and the rhizomatic revision:

A final copy is the result of writing, but is not writing itself. It rather represents the aftermath of a struggle between the author and the word, merely the final iteration of something massive, and copious, and large spreading its tendrils unseen backwards into a realm of lost literature. Revision is a rhizomatic thing, each one of the branches of potential writing hidden and holding aloft the tiny plant. A final draft is the corpse left over after the life that is writing has ended.

Literature and the limits of the inert:

A script is an inert thing, while the play is the thing forever marked by its own impermanence.

Literature, fairy tales and anonymous authors:

So many variations, so many lost stories, whispered only to infants in swaddling clothe over millennia. We can never know what exactly the earliest version of those stories was like; we’ll never know the names of those who composed them.

Literature, fairy tales and anonymous authors:

So many variations, so many lost stories, whispered only to infants in swaddling clothe over millennia. We can never know what exactly the earliest version of those stories was like; we’ll never know the names of those who composed them.

Literature and the tangent of translation:

Translation is feeling about in a darkened room and being able to discern the outline of the door, but it doesn’t give one the ability to step through into the other room (only perhaps to hear some muffled conversation with an ear pressed against the wall).

When a tongue has genuinely stopped moving there is an insurmountable difference separating us from its literature

Literature as a belief in the future:

Literature is a vote of confidence in the future, in the present, in the past – it’s a vote of confidence in other people. The Future Library Project is in keeping with those theorists who are concerned with “deep time,” with the profoundly long view and arc of human history as it rushes away from us.

There are so many interesting ideas in this piece about the purpose and place of literature. It is one of those pieces to come back to and dig into further and possibly beyond just ‘literature’. For example, the idea of the rhizomatic revision has me thinking about music and the act of remixing and remastering.

“Clive Thompson | @pomeranian99
in Clive Thompson on Twitter: “In @The_Millions, @WithEdSimon alerts me to two fascinating books which I’ve just ordered: https://t.co/2QJ5EsNqzm One is “The Book of Lost Books”, a study of literature that has been lost to time. The idea that Euripides wrote 72 more plays than we have is a gut punch (1/2) https://t.co/OLUe0cnEut” / Twitter ()

Bookmarked Why Do We Keep Reading The Great Gatsby? (The Paris Review)

‘The Great Gatsby’ is not a book about people, per se. Secretly, it’s a novel of ideas.

In an introduction to the Modern Library edition of The Great Gatsby, Wesley Morris explores the lasting legacy of the novel. Morris argues that it is the sort of novel that you can appreciate without having been there. Instead it is a novel which dives into the world of identity and mystery, a story with so many gaps that it entices us to reread to check. This is best captured in one sitting.

In one day, you can sit with the brutal awfulness of nearly every person in this book—booooo, Jordan; just boo. And Mr. Wolfsheim, shame on you, sir; Gatsby was your friend. In a day, you no longer have to wonder whether Daisy loved Gatsby back or whether “love” aptly describes what Gatsby felt in the first place. After all, The Great Gatsby is a classic of illusions and delusions. In a day, you reach those closing words about the boats, the current, and the past, and rather than allow them to haunt, you simply return to the first page and start all over again.

Sarah Churchwell, Philip McGowan, William Blazek and Melvyn Bragg talk about The Great Gatsby on the In Our Time podcast. They discuss Fitzgerald’s legacy and how it came to be so important within the American literacy canon.

For an audio version of the book, the team at NPR’s Planet Money have done a reading after the book was added to the Public Domain:

“Cory Doctorow” in Pluralistic: 18 Jan 2021 – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow ()

Liked “A Second Rabadash” — C.S. Lewis and Dangerous Leaders by Matt MikalatosMatt Mikalatos (tor.com)

here’s my hope for myself and all of us:

May we, like Susan, have the wisdom to recognize if we’ve been deceived by a leader who appears wonderful in one context but has “another face” when he gains power.

May we, like Edmund, remember our own failings and be generous with our enemies, and hopeful that true change is still a possibility even for a traitorous fool.

May we, like Lucy, see clearly into the hearts of our leaders.

May we, like King Lune, be kind-hearted and compassionate with our enemies.

May we, like the people of Calormen and Archenland and Narnia, find peace in the years to come.

In the meantime, friends, let us each be faithful in the things we are called to, despite what our leaders may do. Vote, speak up, and do what’s right. Aslan’s on the move—let’s keep our eyes open for him.

Liked The Life in The Simpsons Is No Longer Attainable by Dani Alexis Ryskamp (theatlantic.com)

For many, a life of constant economic uncertainty—in which some of us are one emergency away from losing everything, no matter how much we work—is normal. Second jobs are no longer for extra cash; they are for survival. It wasn’t always this way. When The Simpsons first aired, few would have predicted that Americans would eventually find the family’s life out of reach. But for too many of us now, it is.

Liked Roald Dahl’s Anti-Black Racism (daily.jstor.org)

Recently, the family of author Roald Dahl family apologized for anti-Semitic remarks he made. But Dahl, most famous for the children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also brought young readers anti-Black racism in his original depiction of the Oompa-Loompas.
Dahl drew on his own life f…

Liked Why I Read 'King Lear' in Advent by Mark Labberton (theatlantic.com)

Since it was finished in 1606, it has never not been relevant. Contemporary stories can be urgent and often compelling, but the seasoned crisis of Lear pierces more primitively, at a deeper and more elementary level. That is one reason it rings as it does.

I have been reading Fiona Hardy’s How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life with Ms 9 and am really intrigued by the space created. There is a part of me which keeps on questioning various actions and activities, wondering if they would really happen. Would kids write songs so quick? Would they really have access to a video camera … at lunchtime? However, I also wonder if the problem is me? Maybe, I am not the intended audience? Maybe such books are not about being true, but instead about dreaming in an alternative universe?
Liked John le Carré, author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, dies aged 89 (theguardian.com)

The consistent love of his life was writing, “scribbling away like a man in hiding at a poky desk”.

“Out of the secret world I once knew I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit,” he wrote. “First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I’m sitting now.”

According to Wikipedia,

A simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal. According to Baudrillard, what the simulacrum copies either had no original or no longer has an original, since a simulacrum signifies something it is not, and therefore leaves the original unable to be located.

When it comes to fiction, space is a simulacrum. For example, Ian McEwan’s novel is set during the Second World War. This conception of space is an imagined one that comes to stand in the place of any sense of reality.

Discussing John Baville’s Quirke series, Charles McGrath touches on the way in which space can act like a character in itself.

Banville, who is 74, grew up in County Wexford, which he thought boring and provincial. As a boy, he loved visiting an aunt in Dublin, which seemed much more vivid and exciting, and some of that romance lingers on in the Quirke books, in which the city itself — its sights and smells, its atmosphere of secrecy and repression, especially where matters of sex are concerned — is practically a character.

This is something that Leigh Sales’ also touches upon on the Chat 10, Looks 3 podcast in regards to the representation of the Northern Territory in Trent Dalton’s novel All Our Shimmering Skies. It is interesting to contrast this with the ‘best books set in each country‘.

Liked The D. H. Lawrence We Forgot by Frances Wilson (The New Yorker)

Essays like these further suggest that Lawrence invented the genre we call autofiction, though genre was irrelevant to him. Everything he wrote, as Dyer puts it, was a “kind of story,” and his stories, like Lawrence himself, were shape-shifters. His essays on writers, Dyer writes, “are also essays on places; essays on places are also pieces of autobiography.” In the same way, Lawrence’s poems are dramas, his dramas are memoirs, and his memoirs are novels. This last form was key: though Lawrence found stories everywhere, the novel was, for him, the “one bright book of life.” Four of the five essays on the novel in “The Bad Side of Books” were written in 1925, the year Lawrence was diagnosed with tuberculosis. As such, they are partly about the future of the novel and partly about the future of Lawrence.

Liked Revealed: the best book set in (almost) every country by Ellie Walker-Arnott (TimeOut)

Looking for a way to expand your horizons without actually leaving your flat? We hear ya. International travel isn’t on the cards for a lot of us at the moment, thanks to travel restrictions, quarantines and general 2020 anxiety. But there are still ways to explore our planet without getting on a plane.

This literary world map – a bookshelf made up of the most popular books set in (almost) every country on Earth – is a good place to start. It’s been compiled using Goodreads user ratings and reviews, and makes for a fascinating tour around the globe.

Bookmarked Chapter Books Rewritten to Reflect the Catastrophic Effects of Climate Change by Charlie Dektar (The New Yorker)

Charlie Dektar offers up satirical versions of children’s chapter books like “Harry Potter” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” adapted for the age of climate catastrophe.

Charlie Dektar rewrites some classic texts in light of the current pandemic. My two favourites where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

Dee-doop-ee-dee-dee!
Augustus Gloop is an awful child,
Whom we would normally body-shame through song,
But what we’re more concerned about
Is land degradation and desertification,
Which led to the collapse of global supply chains
And drove Willy Wonka out of business,
Leading to our acquisition by Amazon,
Which renamed us “Amazon Sugars”
And only lets us make hard, salty nut rolls,
So enjoy the rest of your tour, led by Jeff Bezos,
I’m sure that it will be a lot of “fun,”
Dee-doop-ee-dee-doo!

And Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:

Once, there were four children, named Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They were all consumed by a plague of ancient diseases unleashed from the melting Siberian permafrost.

The end.

They go with some of the other literary responses associated with COVID-19.

Liked Jane Austen Was Not Fucking Around about Home School by Sarah Allison (Avidly)

Mansfield Park is both Exhibit A of white complicity with racist violence and a demand to recognize it. Fanny Price gets richly rewarded for being a person who kind of gets it. The victory of Fanny, who is introverted, unathletic, and often silent (except for occasional bursts of enthusiasm about nature), affords a different satisfaction from Elizabeth Bennet’s.