Who am I, anyway? John has kindly agreed to let me hang around here on the 28th of each month and talk your ears off – mostly about mythology and its connections to science fiction and fantasy.
As you will have seen in my bio, I teach English. I can’t remember when I first started to notice that I was appalled with the novel selections that English teachers were “supposed” to use with classes. If you have ever been in an English class, as I wager most of you have – you know that a lot of the novels chosen for assigned readings are things that turn many people off reading for life.
It was a beautiful day for me when I realized that I could choose my own readings to assign. The first time I did this in a college composition class, it was a book called The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Have you read it? All I’ll say is that Jane Eyre gets kidnapped out of her book…
While I had the usual grumbles and complaints about assigned readings, I also had a few students who voluntarily went to the library and got a copy of Jane Eyre. I knew I was on to something.
Since then, my own reading tastes have broadened. As I’ve gone deeper into the world of science fiction and fantasy, I’ve gotten more interested in the connections that science fiction and fantasy has with mythology.
Here’s a preview of coming attractions:
Over the next few months, I’m going to look at a couple of books with you. Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys involves a lot of West Indian and Ashanti myth, not to mention adaptation of some trickster tales. I’m in the middle of reading China Miéville’s Kraken now, and while I have not yet discovered all of the hidden treasures, there are some interesting allusions to Egyptian mythology. The question of whether Miéville is developing a particular mythology that is London’s own is well worth exploration, too. Finally, Nnedi Okorafor’s work is influenced by West African mythology. I finished reading Who Fears Death not long ago, and have The Shadow Speaker and Zahrah the Windseeker on deck.
Now you know what I want to talk to you about. Talk to me. What do you want to hear from me?