Amy H. Sturgis earned her Ph.D. in intellectual history from Vanderbilt University, specializes in Science Fiction/Fantasy and Native American Studies, and teaches at Lenoir-Rhyne University. In addition, she contributes the regular “Looking Back on Genre History” segment to StarShipSofa, which in 2010 became the first podcast in history to win a Hugo Award. In 2006, Sturgis was honored with the Imperishable Flame Award for Achievement in J.R.R. Tolkien/Inklings scholarship. In 2015, the Los Angeles Press Club named her Reason Magazine article “Not Your Parents’ Dystopias: Millennial Fondness for Worlds Gone Wrong” the “Best Magazine Review/Criticism/Column” of the year. She has authored four books, edited six others, and published over fifty essays in scholarly and popular publications. A regular guest speaker at universities and genre events, Sturgis also has taught summer seminars for the Institute for Humane Studies, Cato University, and the Foundation for Economic Education, and she has been interviewed as an expert by a variety of programs and publications such as NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and The Huffington Post. Sturgis lives with her husband in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her official website is amyhsturgis.com.
Donald Trump added a portrait of Andrew Jackson to the White House Oval Office shortly after his inauguration. Why Jackson?Well, Jackson’s defeat of incumbent John Quincy Adams in the 1828 election was the first great US political upset in which an anti-establishment candidate defeated an insider. This comparison no doubt pleases the man who kept Hillary Clinton from the White House.Like Trump, Jackson also styled himself as a champion of the “common man,” and that’s a distinction that somehow follows him to this day. But does Jackson deserve to be remembered so fondly as the one who put
On March 11, 2017, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s pioneering novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus turns 199 years old. In addition, March is Women’s History Month. These are two good reasons to remember and celebrate Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her work. Here are 5 more. 1. She was literally born out of the Liberty Movement. Mary’s father was the pioneering anarchist philosopher William Godwin, the author of An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, among many other works. He also effectively showed how an author could use fiction to explore his political and social concerns,
Here at the start of the Trump Era, in the wake of the Women’s March on Washington, and just before the start of Hulu’s television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I see and hear the terms misogyny, fascism, patriarchy, and Nazism linked frequently. The first great fiction author who connected these concepts was well ahead of Margaret Atwood by almost fifty years. Like protestors and activists today, she was concerned about how these forces affected people — especially women — in her here and now. And in her day, Nazis were … well, Nazis. Her name was Katharine
January 19, 2017 is the 208th birthday of literary great Edgar Allan Poe. He doesn’t look a day over 40. Chances are you’re familiar with at least some of Poe’s greatest hits: poems such as “The Raven” or “Annabel Lee,” for example, or stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Fall of the House of Usher.” It’s worth our time to take a look at one of Poe’s less well-known works, however, to appreciate just how much Poe still has to say to readers today. Mellonta Tauta: The Present as Future Past Poe’s satirical dystopian science-fiction story “Mellonta
When fans of Star Trek or Harry Potter write their own stories or make their own films or music set in those universes, are they hurting the original art or its creators? Or are they in fact making new art and adding something positive to the world?It’s no secret that the best stories inspire us to become storytellers ourselves. As award-winning author and journalist, activist for intellectual property rights and electronic freedom, and former fan fiction writer Cory Doctorow notes in “In Praise of Fanfic,” “The Pygmalion story didn't start with Shaw or the Greeks, nor did it end with
This Halloween season, as you’re contemplating shadows on the wall and things that go bump in the night, I invite you to consider that the Gothic tradition includes works deserving of a recognized place in the literature of liberty canon.If we follow the definition of the Gothic provided by Jerrod E. Hogle in The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, we get four major ingredients for a Gothic story: It is rooted in setting (an “antiquated space,” whether it’s a castle or a spaceship).It is absorbed with the past (either in general or with a recent, personal past).It is associated with
Do you dream of a free future?Are you looking for challenging speculative fiction that wrestles with big ideas?Are you interested in how such fiction “can promote an appreciation of the value of liberty as the prerequisite for cooperation, peace, prosperity and a just society”?If you answered yes to these questions, you should check out the Libertarian Futurist Society.The Prometheus AwardsNow is the perfect time to get to know the Libertarian Futurist Society, because summer is award season.Every year the LFS sponsors the Prometheus Awards. They were established in 1979, making them some of
What’s the worst that could happen in the upcoming presidential election? A classic novel takes us to that world gone wrong so that we can see the chilling results unfold step by step. Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote It Can’t Happen Here (1935) to warn his fellow citizens about candidate Huey “the Kingfisher” Long, whose bid for the White House appeared in full swing in 1935. At the time, Long already had served as the 40th Governor of Louisiana and was serving as U.S. Senator. (Long is perhaps best remembered today as
On April 25, 2016, organizers of MidAmericon II/The 74th World Science Fiction Convention announced the finalists for this year’s Hugo Awards, one of the most prestigious accolades in the global science fiction community.Also announced were the finalists for the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards which will honor works that should have been recognized in 1941 but weren’t, because the events of World War II made a meeting of the World Science Fiction Convention impossible.What’s old is definitely new again. One of the 76-year-old works that now is a finalist for the 1941 Retro Hugo for Best Novel is every
The ControversyIn preparation for the November 2016 release of her upcoming film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which is set in 1920s New York City and features MACUSA, the Magical Congress of the United States of America), J.K. Rowling has shifted her focus from Harry Potter’s Great Britain to North America. Last month on her Pottermore.com website she published the stage-setting History of Magic in North America to whet audience appetites.A Terrible Misstep? Many scholars, students, and fans of the well-researched, allusive, and clever writing that has made Rowling’s Harry Potter
The Red Rising trilogy is a "must read" for those who follow young adult dystopias, dystopian fiction in general, and contemporary science fiction, as well as those interested in "big idea" fiction about individualism and liberty. Red Rising owes a debt to many science fiction works that came before it, from Frank Herbert's Dune and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series to Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games. Brown acknowledges the obviously profound influence of Ender's Game in a clever line of the text: "So this kid is what? A predestined Alexander? A Caesar? A Genghis? A Wiggin?" Despite -- or perhaps
In The God of the Machine, journalist Isabel Paterson (January 22, 1886, – January 10, 1961) offers an original theory of history based on the metaphor of the machine, with humanity as the dynamo. That's right: one might venture to call this "steampunk political theory." As one of the "big three" publications of feminist-individualist thought in 1943 (the others being The Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand), Paterson made a significant contribution to the political dialogue of her time. The God of the Machine is fascinating as a historical text - especially
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