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Kameron Hurley and Gerry Canavan

Apr 8, 2021

Military Sci-Fi Minus the Misogyny

Kameron Hurley with Gerry Canavan

New Books Network 2021

Gerry Canavan talks to geek feminist author Kameron Hurley about her Hugo-nominated novel The Light Brigade. A love-hate letter to military science fiction, The Light Brigade turns the form on its head. It is built around women fighters, queerness, and defying authority while being at the bottom of the chain of command. The novel also has surprising roots in the history of anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa where Kameron lived for a time to research women’s roles in armed revolt. We discuss delayed reveals of characters’ race and gender in sci-fi in light of the genre’s history of White supremacy and male-dominated narratives. Kameron and Gerry also revisit some of the juiciest, pulpiest fiction around – the stuff we loved as kids but don’t talk about or teach in the classroom (shh!).

Mentioned in the Episode

  • Octavia Butler
  • Samuel Delany
  • Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers
  • Joe Haldeman, The Forever War
  • uMkhonto we Sizwe – armed wing of the African National Congress
  • Robben Island – where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned
  • Ursula LeGuin
  • Alexandra Rowland, coiner of the term “hopepunk”
  • Joanna Russ
  • Robert E. Howard, author of the “Conan the Barbarian” stories

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.

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Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.


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