For Immediate Release:

July 14, 2006

Western Iowa Tech Offers Discussion Group on Science Fiction 

Science fiction enthusiast Russ Gifford presents a series of conversations on the development of science fiction over the past century from the pulp era to its current domination of television, movies and games.

This series, Science Fiction: from Pulps to Cyberpunk, will provide an overview of the three eras of science fiction and a review of the leading writers in each. The discussion will center on specific books, authors, movies and themes that represent the three eras, and how SF has changed over the years.

Each presentation features clips, photos and discussion. You may register for the entire series of three classes, or any individual session. the classes will be held Thursday evenings at the Advanced Sciences Building, room  L208.

Science Fiction before World War II: Verne, Wells, and Hugo Gernsback


A look at the foundations of science fiction with attention to the acknowledged founders, the establishment of the genre, and Hugo Gernsback, an inventor and magazine publisher who also wrote science fiction and whose publications included the first science fiction magazine in modern publishing. Authors: Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Gernsback. Movies: Metropolis.

The Golden Era: John W. Campbell and the Grandmasters of the Golden Age


This session will look at the creation of the modern science fiction era as pulps became legitimate and John W. Campbell used his editorial control to shape stories and groom authors. We will also look at science fiction in movies and early television and the influence of the Cold War. Authors: Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, William Tenn, Kurt Vonnegut, Frank Herbert, and Larry Niven. Movies: Forbidden Planet, and the B movies of the 50s.

Postmodern SF: From Space Opera to Cyberpunk


In 1977, Star Wars blew the lid off science fiction, minting money by the bucket. Asimov hit the New York Times best seller list, and soon the long despised science fiction genre was considered hot property. But as movies became bigger, the themes also became darker, and in little over a decade the cyberpunk movement foretold tales of a future where freedom and prosperity were more alien than the creatures inhabiting the stories. Authors: Harlan Ellison, Roger Zelazny, C.J. Cherryh, Samuel R. Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, The coming of the tie-in novel with Alan Dean Foster. Military science fiction with David Drake, Elizabeth Moon and John Ringo. And the rise of the cyberpunk, with William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Movies: The Star Wars/ Star Trek franchises, The Matrix, and more.

For further information, contact Fiona Valentine at Western Iowa Tech Community College.

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