Monday, September 11, 2017

Oh, an encyclopedia article on aliens in Stephen R. Donaldson

So, Stephen R. Donaldson's one of my favorite writers, someone on whom I did my undergrad senior thesis. (I went to Kent State, where he got a MA, and they have a nifty SRD special collections.) Well, recently there was a volume asking for articles on the aliens in the work of various writers/tv shows/movies. The story of this volume is rather interesting. Mike Levy, a quite well-known sf and fantasy critic, tragically passed away recently, and his widow asked the fantasy scholar Farah Mendlesohn to take over this book he'd been contracted to write. (Together, Levy and Mendlesohn recently wrote a fantastic book on Children's fantasy literature; the cover itself should win an award.) Well, Dr. Mendlesohn wasn't that much familiar with aliens, according to her own admission, so she outsourced the writing of many of the essays and individual encyclopedia articles. I volunteered to write an article on aliens in SRD, and she just green lighted me.

I'm excited about this. Donaldson deserves to be more widely discussed than he is, and even here his sf Gap series is unfairly neglected in favor of his first two Covenant trilogies. Plus, I've always thought his Amnion were a super cool idea for aliens -- one of my personal favorites. Moreover, SRD's continuing concern for human nature  (and an alien species that runs counter to everything he imagines human nature to be) is a nice contrast to the many theorists, most often strangely enough in the humanities, who consistently deny the coherence or morality of any concept such as "human nature." As might be imagined, I'll be bringing up some notions of posthumanism to be on the discussion.

I already got a draft done, and it should be finished in a few days.

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