Teaching in Breach

The City and The CityWhen I began the semester, it was Catherynne M. Valente’s book about a sexually transmitted city, Palimpsest, that I was worried about teaching. Well, worried is maybe too strong of a word, but there are some texts that require tighter classroom management than others, and I was prepared for Palimpsest to be one of those. Still, after explicating all the quaint sexual punning in The Canterbury Tales and teaching a law school seminar on the speech clause of the first amendment that included a lecture on the constitutional necessity of wearing g-strings and pasties while dancing nude, I was sure I could handle it. More importantly, the book was too perfect for the course – The Fantastic as Place – to leave it off the syllabus out of cowardice.

Palimpsest, as it turned out, wasn’t a problem. No, the book that almost broke my class was China Miéville’s The City and the City.

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: September 5

Back to SchoolAhhh, September!  That time of year when a young person's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of....pencils.  Backpacks.  Homework.  School!

Many of us who write for Fantasy Matters are educators, and so the beginning of a new school year is always exciting for us.  We love the potential of new classes, the excitement of creating new syllabi, and the possibility of new conversations, new understandings, and new ideas.

That's why we're celebrating "Back to School" this week!

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: September 2, 2011

To celebrate the start of our series on key episodes of Dr. Who, we're featuring Dr. Who-themed fun this Friday!  For starters, here is this fun shirt available over at Woot! that brings two great time-travellers together into the same place in space AND time:

It Came Out Of Nowhere

Some other fun Dr. Who links we found for you this week:

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The Keys to the TARDIS: The Christmas Invasion

Doctor WhoToday we are launching a new series called "The Keys to the TARDIS," in which people write about the parts of the BBC show Doctor Who that they think are somehow key to the series.  "Key" can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways--key to the narrative, key to a certain character's development, key to personal understanding, key to the overall conception of the show.  We'll post a new installment each Friday, and we'd love to know what you think, too, so make sure to post your own choices in the comments. 

In this first installment, Jen Miller writes about how "The Christmas Invasion" episode in between Series 1 and 2 of the reboot changed her thinking about the nature of the Doctor. 


I'm new to Doctor Who.  I just started watching this summer, and I started watching the show from when it picked back up in 2005, rather than from the very beginning.  Not only that, but I haven't caught up to the current episode of Doctor Who, either.  I'm not even close--I only just started watching the episodes with Martha Jones as the 10th Doctor's companion.  All of this is a very long way of saying: I'm not an expert on Doctor Who, and this essay shouldn't be read as an analysis of the series as a whole.

Rather, this essay is a look at one episode that changed the way I thought about the Doctor, and thus changed the way I watched the show. 

This essay is about "The Christmas Invasion."

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: Comics Edition

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryEarlier this week, Tia Mansouri wrote about the new cover of Roald Dahl's classic children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a closer look at the cover made me think about other, similar artwork--in particular, comics that use simply drawn characters to tell their stories.

As Tia mentions in her article, one of the reasons the new cover is able to portray most of the major goings-on in the novel is because of these simple lines.  They keep the drawing looking uncluttered, thus allowing the image to contain more details from the book.

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