Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World with Eric Rabkin

SFFaudio News

Our good friend, Professor Eric S. Rabkin, is teaching one of the free summer Coursera courses. It’s entitled Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World and all of the required readings, except for two of the novels, are available free online!

Here’s the official description:

Fantasy is a key term both in psychology and in the art and artifice of humanity. The things we make, including our stories, reflect, serve, and often shape our needs and desires. We see this everywhere from fairy tale to kiddie lit to myth; from “Cinderella” to Alice in Wonderland to Superman; from building a fort as a child to building ideal, planned cities as whole societies. Fantasy in ways both entertaining and practical serves our persistent needs and desires and illuminates the human mind. Fantasy expresses itself in many ways, from the comfort we feel in the godlike powers of a fairy godmother to the seductive unease we feel confronting Dracula. From a practical viewpoint, of all the fictional forms that fantasy takes, science fiction, from Frankenstein to Avatar, is the most important in our modern world because it is the only kind that explicitly recognizes the profound ways in which science and technology, those key products of the human mind, shape not only our world but our very hopes and fears. This course will explore Fantasy in general and Science Fiction in specific both as art and as insights into ourselves and our world.

This course comprises ten units. Each will include a significant reading, typically a novel or a selection of shorter works. I will offer video discussions of each of the readings and also of more general topics in art and psychology that those readings help illuminate. Each unit will include online quizzes and ask you to write a brief essay offering your own insights into the reading. In order, the units are:

Grimm — Children’s and Household Tales
Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Stoker — Dracula
Shelley — Frankenstein
Hawthorne & Poe — Stories and Poems
Wells — The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, “The Country of the Blind,” “The Star
Burroughs & Gilman — A Princess of Mars & Herland
Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles
LeGuin — The Left Hand of Darkness
Doctorow — Little Brother

In Unit I, the specific stories are the ones in the Lucy Crane translation (1886) which was published by Dover and is available online through Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5314). In Unit V, the specific readings are: Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “The Artist of the Beautiful“; Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” “The Bells,” “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee.” All the readings except Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness will be available online at no charge.

[thanks Jenny!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #128

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #128 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Luke Burrage talk about recently arrived audiobooks, new releases and more.

Talked about on today’s show:
Germline by T.C. McCarthy, Russia vs. United States, Kazakhstan, Blackstone Audio, Hannah, Finland, unapologetic fairy tale imagery, Brothers Grimm, Tama is a sucker for girls who kick ass, Kick-Ass, Bourne Identity, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Full Cast Audio, Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein, interplanetary survival course, “Rod Walker, as Heinlein Intended“, Ozzy in Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton, Between Planets, Space Cadet, Perseus by Geraldine, Hercules, Odyssey, Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce, young adult books, The City And The Stars, abstracting the voices of the characters, Jesse enthuses about Full Cast Audio’s format, Blackstone Audio, Downward To Earth by Robert Silveberg (it draws from Heart Of Darkness, The Secret Sharer by Robert Silverberg, The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad, “the heart of lightness”, The Hidden by Jessica Verday, The Hidden (movie) with Kyle MacLachlan, The Hollow, The Haunted, supernatural/romance/YA, “maybe Jenny can take up the lance”, Macmillan Audio, How Firm A Foundation by David Weber, On Basilisk Station, “Steve Gibson loves it”, George R.R. Martin, the Writing Excuses podcast, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, “it’s very tempting to kill everyone”, Star Wars: Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn (20th Anniversary Edition), Mark Thompson, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye (Luke and Leia get married), the Han Solo novels, Michael A. Stackpole, Star Trek novelizations vs. Star Wars novelizations, Wookipedia, perhaps Lucas was lucky and not talented, Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan, Stories Of The Golden Age: The Tramp and Shadows From Boothill, Jenny is late, War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, Zoo City, South Africa, China Miéville audiobooks flood audible, Iain M. Banks, Audible Frontiers vs. Audible Ltd., Ready Player One sounds like nostalgia not SF, everybody who wears spandex and legwarmers likes Ready Player One, the Gweek podcast, virtual world, Daemon by Daniel Suarez, Blackstone Audio, The Ringworld Engineers, To Sail Beyond The Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein, Origin Of The Species by Charles Darwin, Recorded Books, Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem, Lawrence Block audiobooks, Hard Case Crime, Getting Off by Jill Emerson (Lawrence Block), AudioGo, Such Men Are Dangerous by Lawrence Block, The Specialists, Coward’s Kiss, You Could Call It Murder, Small Town, Paul Kavanagh, Michael Crichton, Eaters Of The Dead, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake, Psycho by Robert Bloch, Stand On Zanzibar by John Brunner, Luke’s novel Minding Tomorrow, does Stand On Zanzibar have a cylindrical structure?, long stuff tends to be crappy, Luke is on Audible’s platinum plan, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, Courtney Brown’s Science Fiction And Politics podcast, Spellwright by Blake Charlton, spell errors?, “as you well know…”, Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer, The Swarm by Frank Schatzing, Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein, tie-in novels, Dan Abnett’s Warmhammer 40,000: Horus Heresy series, Black Library, “a fist the size of a baked ham”, Jesse’s meta review of Luke’s meta review of Sword Of The Lichtor by Gene Wolfe, Halting State by Charles Stross, Luke’s pick of the week: Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian, Jesus’ final words on the cross, Jesse’s pick of the week: Invincible Ultimate Edition Volume 1 written by Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker, Gregg Rucka, Scott’s pick of the week: Declare by Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides, is Declare idea fiction?, Kim Philby, Tamahome’s pick of the week: The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Invincible Ultimate Collection Volume 1

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #113

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #113 – Jesse and Eric S. Rabkin talk about Stupidity and Intelligence in Science Fiction (and Fantasy).

Talked about on today’s show:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey Mouse, Fantasia, Christopher Marlowe‘s The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Brothers Grimm Clever Hans (the fairy tale), Clever Hans (the horse), War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Excerpt from (Book Two – Up the Ladder of Civilisation), trephination, “there are some things man was not meant to know”, evil science and evil scientists, R.U.R., Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein is an egotist whereas the creature wants community, Chapter 11 of Frankenstein, intellect vs. empathy, “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought.”, the ideology of intelligence is suspect, Gulliver’s Travels, Laputa, philosophers, The Clouds by Aristophanes, “head in the clouds”, BBC Radio dramatization of Lysistrata, The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, “the big bang”, telepathy, Gregg Margarite, “Genius in not a biological phenomenon.”, “stupid people can have smart babies and smart people can have stupid babies”, eugenics, sterilization programs, “we know so little about what we mean by intelligence”, “we breed against the outliers”, “If I see further than others it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”, Sir Isaac Newton, Newton vs. Leibniz, Darwin vs. Wallace vs. Darwin’s grandfather, Robert A. Heinlein, “steam engine time”, Columbus and the egg, humans (persons) can compound our intelligence, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charly, “we shouldn’t define humanity by our intelligence”, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, flowers from Weena, “fundamental humanity has to do with emotion and not intelligence”, He, She and It by Marge Piercy, programming a robot with stories, Yod is a robot-like golem, “it was immoral to create a conscious weapon”, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Eric is the world’s least reliable critic of The Doomsday Book, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, philosophy of science, the meaning of weapon, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, tool vs. weapon, “we have one mad scientist after another”, Gojira!, Ozymandias, Watchmen, Understand by Ted Chiang, “talking to babies”, “if everyone in the world around you is an idiot…what kind of relationship can you have with the world”, His Masters Voice by Stanisław Lem, Hogarth is an incredibly intelligence person, Edgar Allan Poe, Audible Frontier’s Solaris: The Definite Edition, The Futurological Congress, Isaac Asimov, Eric puts on his professorial hat, nous, the etymology of the word “intelligence”, Asimov reads between the lines for you, the etymology of the word “stupid”, what’s with the word “sentient” in Science Fiction?, Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, ansible, “sentience is the bag that we put all our coding for equally human”, was Larry Niven the prime promulgator of the SF version of “sentience”?, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, “words are a map on the world”, The Time Machine, evolution and the clash of the classes, Wells respects the intelligence of his readers, Morlocks vs. Eloi, the King James version of the Bible, “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani“, Hugo Gernsback, Amazing Stories, “whizz bang sensofwunda”, The New Accelerator by H.G. Wells, “the warp drive is not important”, “the ansible is not important”, “we are all time travelers”, “in Wells’ greatest works he leaves some part of the story open”, “but whether this was a reprieve for us or them only time will tell”, Experiment In Autobiography by H.G. Wells, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain”, Friedrich Schiller, reporters became cynical now they just go see what’s happening on Facebook, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth is public domain, much of Kornbluth is PD because he died so young, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy, stupid people have lots of (stupid) babies (?), what’s wrong with The Marching Morons?, PLENTY!, “The Marching Chinese”, Thomas Robert Malthus, eugenics and dysgenics, what ties do genetics and intelligence have?, a very high fraction of American presidents have been left handed, immigrant groups produce terrific comedians, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, storing up ideas for my “word hoard”.

The Marching Chinese

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #044 – TALK TO: Professor Eric S. Rabkin

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #044 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Professor Eric S. Rabkin of the University Of Michigan to discuss fairy tales, fantastic literature and Science Fiction.

Talked about on today’s show:
Department Of English Language And Literature @ the University Of Michigan, the Winter 2010 semester: English 342 Science Fiction, English 418/549 Graphic Narrative, hey sign us up!, The Teaching Company, Science Fiction: The Literature Of The Technological Imagination |READ OUR REVIEW|, Masterpieces of the Imaginative Mind: Literature’s Most Fantastic Works, Franz Kafka, H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, Science Fiction (the most important literature for adults), I, Robot by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|, Brothers Grimm, fairy tales, Neuromancer by William Gibson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Asimov’s three laws of robotics, the conversation that is Science Fiction, humans are pattern seeking animals, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, the ansible, Armor by John Steakley, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi |READ OUR REVIEW|, Gundam, The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, Science Fiction as a form of children’s literature, Thomas Disch, Camp Concentration, 334, Kurt Vonnegut, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, alternate history, Hugo Gernsback, pulp literature, paperback originals, adolescent power fantasies, Frank Reade and His Steam Man of the Plains by Noname, Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback, pushing science education through Science Fiction, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe, From The Earth To The Moon by Jules Verne, Henry James and H.G. Wells in conversation over the future of fiction, The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James, WWII, the societal effect of the G.I. Bill, tracking an author’s intentions, powerful fiction becomes classic?, Ted Chiang, Blankets by Craig Thompson, has Science Fiction crossed a certain cultural Rubicon?, Momento, Blindness by José Saramago, Briefing for a Descent into Hell by Doris Lessig, Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers, has our culture become “fully Science Fictionized”?, does SF history begin with Frankenstein and end with Neuromancer?, Alan Moore, Watchmen, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, pattern recognition, allusion (and literary allusion).

Posted by Jesse Willis

Librivox.org’s FREE Public Domain Sourced Speculative Fiction Audiobooks

Online Audio

LibriVox We first told you about LibriVox and its many ongoing FREE audiobook projects last year. Since then many of their titles have been completed. The LibriVox volunteers have read and recorded chapters of books, entire novels and short stories from the public domain using their home equipment. Their lofty objective? To eventually make every book in the public domain available in the audio format! That goal is well on its way to success. LibriVox now has more than three dozen Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror titles completed. There are even more “in-progress.” So with that wonderous news in mind here is the complete* list of all the SF Fantasy and Horror with links to the files :


UNABRIDGED BOOKS:

Andersen’s Fairy Tales (Short Stories)
By Hans Christian Andersen; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 5 Hours 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book 2 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Paul Harvey
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Dorothy And The Wizard in Oz (Book 4 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Judy Bieber
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

The Road To Oz (Book 5 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Kara Shallenberg
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4.7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Sky Island
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Judy Bieber
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 5 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Present At A Hanging and Other Ghost Stories (Short Stories)
By Ambrose Beirce; Read by Peter Yearsley
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

A Princess Of Mars (First In The John Carter Series)
By Edgar Rice Burroughs; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (First In The Alice Series)
By Lewis Carroll; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 2 Hours 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Through The Looking-Glass (Second In The Alice Series)
By Lewis Carroll; Read by
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Wind In The Willows
By Kenneth Grahame; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 6 Hours 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Fairy Tales (Short Stories)
By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (Brothers Grimm); Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 10 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Story Of Doctor Dolittle
By Hugh Lofting; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

White Fang
By Jack London; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 8 Hours 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Great Big Treasury Of Beatrix Potter (Short Stories)
By Beatrix Potter; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus
By Mary Shelley; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Dracula
By Bram Stoker; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 16 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court
By Mark Twain; Read by Steve Anderson
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 13 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Journey To The Interior Of The Earth
By Jules Verne; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 8 Hours 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Invisible Man
By H.G. Wells; Read by Alex Foster
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4 Hours 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The War Of The Worlds
By H.G. Wells; Read by Rebecca
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 6 Hours 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The War Of The Worlds
By H.G. Wells; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – Approx 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]

The Velveteen Rabbit
By Margery Williams; Read by Marlo Dianne
1 MP3 – 28 Minutes 50 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]


UNABRIDGED SHORT STORIES:

The Black Cat
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Tom Yates
1 MP3 File – 26 Minutes 58 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Black Cat
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Don Morgan
1 MP3 File – 32 Minutes 43 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Pit and the Pendulum
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Eric S. Piotrowski
1 MP3 File – 39 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Telltale Heart
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Don Morgan
1 MP3 File – 18 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Cask of Amontillado
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Zach Weissmueller and Ryan Heuser
1 MP3 File – 15 Minutes 45 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Masque of the Red Death
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Juan Carlos Bagnell
1 MP3 File – 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Monkey’s Paw
By W.W. Jacobs; Read by annegram
1 MP3 File – 25 Minutes 52 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Signal-Man
By Charles Dickens; Read by: Andrew Miller
1 MP3 File – 36 Minutes 58 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

Tale Of Peter Rabbit
By Beatrix Potter; Read by: Kevin Devine
1 MP3 File – 6 Minutes 26 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

To Build A Fire
By Jack London; Read by Betsie Bush
1 MP3 File – 40 Minutes 03 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Birth Mark
By Nathaniel Hawthorne; Read by Katy Preston
1 MP3 File – 38 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by Matthew Stewart-Fulton
1 MP3 File – 22 Minutes 1 Second [UNABRIDGED]

The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Justine Young
1 MP3 File – 28 Minutes 18 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

*Any keeners out there are invited to let me know if I missed any SF Fantasy or Horror audiobooks completed by LibriVox that I didn’t recognize as such. Check out the actual list of all of their completed audiobooks on the LibriVox site HERE.