Mormonism and the Arts at the Berkeley Institute:
Fiction (sf/f)

11.12.13 | | 9 comments

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[background]

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Today’s readings are:

“The Class That Wouldn’t Die” by Joe Vasicek

“Three Different Mormon Futures” by Eric James Stone

“Avek, Who is Distributed” Steven L. Peck

“Release” by Wm Morris

“Waiting” by Katherine Cowley

and, if we have time, “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone (free audio)

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Please feel free to have your own seminar in the comments to this post.

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Other posts in series:

Poetry

Fiction (lit)

9 comments: “Mormonism and the Arts at the Berkeley Institute:
Fiction (sf/f)

  1. Wm Morris

    Re-reading the class that wouldn’t die several years after it was published and as an outsider looking in, it seems like such a tragedy that BYU cast off LTUE. LTUE will be fine. In fact, will likely be only stronger without the constrictions of its affiliation. Rather it’s a tragedy for the university, which has cut itself off from what should have been a continuous flow of goodwill and energy to the campus community.

  2. Wm Morris

    Thought on the fiction: I really like the Mormon sci-fi worlds that the 22nd (and 21st) centuries of the contest evoke. We need more Mormon sci-fi that’s like those stories. I’ve written some stuff that will come out (one piece very soon and then, hopefully, a few more the first half of next year), but I want to read more. I especially would be interested in near future/nearish future confined to Solar System Mormon sci-fi.

  3. Th.

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    Report:

    We began with a longish conversation on this New York Times stuff and ensuing blogposts (learned from the regular instructor that George Handley once held my calling in my ward).

    We then did not discuss the Ender’s Game movie even though I went and saw it last night because I thought they were all planning to have it seen by now. (Mostly, they hadn’t.)

    Then we spent the bulk of our time on “Leviathan”—which much of the class had glanced at then surprised themselves by finishing. It was mostly a hit. Although one guy saw the Agrippa reference coming from miles away. But overall our discussion on “Leviathan” was rather rich and broad, incorporating elements of James’s article we read a couple weeks ago. Which led into a discussion of the three EMW stories which, though not as popular as “Leviathan,” proved to be conversation-provoking all the same.

    We closed with a quick listing of Mormons in comics and a pitch for the two comics in Monsters & Mormons.

    And now we shall see if they shall, as threatened, come here and correct my sunny report.

  4. Theric Jepson Post author

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    Bad news. I finished the story, but because of the pov, there’s no way to tell that the other main character is Mormon.

    She’s having a very Mormon internal reaction to the events, but good luck being able to tell.

  5. Julie Saunders

    I thought the class was terrible. TERRIBLE.

    OK, actually we had some really interesting conversations and I think your contribution will be missed. At the moment I’m particularly thinking back to the discussion about the “Mormonness” of Leviathan, and the ways in which Eric James Stone incorporated or explained the elements of Mormonism necessary to make the story work. Some of the students were surprised that it was ever successful among non-Mormon audiences and that possibly further explanation should have been necessary, while others felt that the explanations detracted from their experience as a reader because they were unnecessary to a Mormon audience. In a way you could see the kind of dilemma you run into with a hybrid non/Mormon audience – do you sacrifice one reader’s experience for another’s? Is there a way to make it really accessible to both without changing the focus of the piece?

    Afterward, a friend and I talked about Chaim Potok and My Big Fat Greek Wedding and concluded that audiences don’t need much explanation if they’ve got a good character to hold onto. They’ll follow a good protagonist pretty much wherever you want them to go. Mormons worry overly much about how peculiar we’re supposed to be.

    On a tangentially related ending note, I still have not seen Ender’s Game.

  6. Theric Jepson Post author

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    . . . audiences don’t need much explanation if they’ve got a good character to hold onto. They’ll follow a good protagonist pretty much wherever you want them to go. Mormons worry overly much about how peculiar we’re supposed to be.

    I could not agree more.

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