The Brain, the Self, and Metaphor with Brian Attebery, editor of the Journal for Fantastic in the Arts

Doors at 5:00pm

Science fiction has always been a repository for and source of vivid images of the thinking self. Some of these include Victor Frankenstein’s monstrous experiment at the very beginning of the genre, the clockwork men of the mid-19th century, the swollen superbrains of pulp magazines, and the cyborgs of the late 20th century. Nowadays, it is common to imagine ourselves as software and our brains as organic computers, but writers such as Greg Egan and Ted Chiang challenge those assumptions, offering even stranger and perhaps more useful metaphors for our inner lives.

Brian Attebery is a well-known scholar of fantasy and science fiction who is currently editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. His most recent book is Parabolas of Science Fiction, edited with Veronica Hollinger (2013). His book Decoding Gender in Science Fiction (2002) is an alternate history of the genre through the lens of gender. He has published two books on fantasy—The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature (1980) and Strategies of Fantasy (1992)—with a third appearing next year from Oxford University Press under the title Stories about Stories: Fantasy and Myth. He worked with co-editors Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler to produce the The Norton Book of Science Fiction (1993), an anthology that is still widely used in literature and writing classes. He has received a number of honors, including the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies, and the Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction scholarship. He teaches English and music (cello) at Idaho State University and is married to folklorist Jennifer Eastman Attebery.



Tuesday, November 5