Contemporary Fiction Seminar has moved on to Senate House, but it has spawned a little sister project which is here to stay at Birkbeck with the format and the Pringle supply you know and love. Please join us!See More
This group hereby pledges to support the Contemporary Fiction Seminars in all the interesting work they will produce and inspire. For further info please see the events page for upcoming seminars; or contact Tony Venezia or Zara Dinnen.
Hullo. Sorry for the delayed response - I've been busy stressing out about an interview earlier this evening. It's been a few years since I read either 'The Carhullan Army' or 'Never Let Me Go', but can maybe dredge up enough about them to participate tomorrow. I'll attempt the Bowlby article on the train, although the amount that goes in will be inversely proportional to the amount of teenage noise and antics from my fellow passengers...
The Road (which is why I know it well enough to get into arguments about bunker nutrition), Will Self's The Book of Dave and Ballard's Kingdom Come. I hate Kingdom Come and got a little mired in slagging it off - Lionel Shriver wrote quite an amusing review where she suggests that novels trying to satirise consumerism generally work better when they don't include the word 'consumerism' at least three times on every page. The Carhullan Army would have been a much better choice, but for some reason I'd fixated on the 2006 thing and couldn't let it go. What's the wacky 1927 dystopia?
One of my MA essays was on three dystopian novels from 2006, but it was for the contemporary fiction strand of a creative writing degree and had to be very short so I managed to sidestep all that critical circularity too. I started looking at it again when I was putting together a PhD proposal but decided it was all madness - shape sorting really isn't fun unless you are a toddler!
I once tried to write about the generic taxonomies of dystopian and post-catastrophic writing and how they fit into the whole SF vs not SF argument, and I think a significant part of my brain is still tied up iterating thought the same recursive function. I decided the question was best left unasked, but possibly you are more mentally balanced!
I know what you mean about your voice - I felt like I spent significant amounts of Saturday evening nodding at things the jukebox had completely drowned out. I was also preoccupied by the need to get a proposal finished for the AHRC studentship deadline today, which I managed, thankfully.
I'm not sure about the apocalypse thing. It does look interesting but I tend to find one member of the panel somewhat wearing. How many people tend to go to the CF seminar now it's moved to Senate House? If it's sufficiently dilute I might risk it!
Well, self-interested antisocial behaviour does happen everywhere. It's just that in the US there's a higher than average likelihood of its involving the hoarding of canned food and/or firearms. Have you left for good then?
I did catch the Roger/PKD thing back in Dec thanks to a slightly compulsive R4 habit (which I'm now busily trying displace by developing a Twitter habit). There was a BBC Arena documentary about PKD a few years back which talked about some of the weirder aspects of his life, like his dog-food-eating period. I half-remember it being quite good but keep meaning to watch it again on YouTube to make sure - the first slice is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJehaCfnXHE