Blogs > Liberty and Power > Virginia Tech, Artistic Freedom, & Implications for Teaching/Writing Genre Fiction

Apr 23, 2007 11:51 am

Virginia Tech, Artistic Freedom, & Implications for Teaching/Writing Genre Fiction

Marleen Barr, a genre scholar who taught at Virginia Tech for 14 years, has written a thought-provoking letter to Locus about last week's shooting massacre and its implications for the writing and teaching of genre fiction.

...If Stephen King enters a time machine, appears in Nikki's class as a young student, and writes as he customarily does, could Lucinda as department head justifiably remove him from class? Or, more generally speaking, consider this possible story opening: Once upon a time, feminist extraterrestrials killed all the male human astronauts who landed on their feminist utopian planet. Should the author of this sentence be barred from Cape Canaveral because she poses a clear and present danger to male astronauts? [Please know that on the evening after I wrote this sentence, Larry King reported that a shooting incident had occurred at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. I did not for a moment worry that a feminist science fiction writer was responsible for this act.] Or, more personally speaking, the penultimate scene of Oy Pioneer! describes the feminist protagonist's extraterrestrial clones arriving in spaceships to circle the Blackhole State University administration building. Thus it is. What would happen if Marleen S. Barr had written this scene post April 16, 2007 instead of when she was thirty-four years old?

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