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SFF Masterclass - The Ex-Communicator

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July 4th, 2011


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07:46 pm - SFF Masterclass
I would recommend the SFF Masterclass to all who would like to spend a long weekend discussing SF with educated and intelligent people. Although I had not done the reading I managed to enjoy the discussion. I was able to wing it on my past reading, and/or keep my mouth shut.

The three 'class leaders' were Paul McAuley, Claire Brialey and Mark Bould. Mark Bould teaches film at UWE. He's a Marxist, so that was quite congenial. He talked about the sublime and the grotesque and a lot of the things I am interested in to do with making peace with corporeality and the contingency of personal identity. It was really good, and he used The Thing/ Who Goes There and At The Mountains of Madness as texts, which really suited me down to the ground. I was very interested in what he said about using language to suggest the ineffable, both through the use of holes and gaps, and also through over-writing or meaningless over-elaboration. I think Mountains of Madness is firm and hard at one end, and soggy and soft at the other.

Claire was particularly good at making everyone participate and contribute, with almost-invisible direction which avoided too much silence or too much overlapping talk, so it all flowed seemingly-effortlessly. Paul seemed to be winging it, because I think he was responding unplanned to where the discussion went, and able to pick it up without needing to direct it very often.

Participants had come from many different countries, including Australia, USA, Sweden, Germany and Ireland. There was a good mix of ages and genders. Some very gentle or playful. Some more analytical and assertive. Every one was intelligent and well read. A real pleasure to meet them.

At the after-class party I met rozk and dalmeny, who was just in the country for one day and stopped by the party. What a great coincidence! We talked for ages before we realised who we were. Again, a real pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:emmzzi
Date:July 4th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
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so glad you decided to go aand that it was worthwhile despite your reservations!
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From:communicator
Date:July 4th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
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Yes, thank you. The group was big enough that I could disappear into the woodwork when I was out of my depth. There were two older women there, to make me feel more at home.

Edited at 2011-07-04 06:51 pm (UTC)
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From:muuranker
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
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I am sorely tempted! Do you have a link to the course? Google hasn't helped.
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From:communicator
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
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It's run once a year. I think it will be announced for next year in about a month, and I will post a link to it then.
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From:muuranker
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!
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From:fjm
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
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This is this year's class: http://www.sf-foundation.org/events/index.html

If you are interested, send me an email and I'll put you on the mailing list. The call usually goes out in September.
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From:muuranker
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
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Excellent - thank you!
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From:communicator
Date:July 4th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
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Thank you
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From:pennski
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
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So glad you enjoyed this! Every year I ponder going.
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From:fjm
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Oh, you know you want to :-)
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From:communicator
Date:July 4th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
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I think you would enjoy it. The atmosphere was a bit shy at first, but by the end everyone was opening up and it was a very diverse and fascinating group.
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From:del_c
Date:July 4th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
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I didn't know you'd be there! Are you in any of fjm's pictures? I didn't see Claire or Paul.
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From:communicator
Date:July 4th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
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I'm afraid I'm the rather plump grey haired lady in a pale dress.
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From:happytune
Date:July 4th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Stop that!
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From:communicator
Date:July 4th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
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PS were you there? I am afraid I don't know people's ljnames
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From:del_c
Date:July 4th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Certainly not! If I was a writer, you'd at least see more LJ entries from me. As it is, I think I must have some sort of writing equivalent of dyslexia. Not that my writing comes out badly-spelled or anything, but every paragraph is such an effort.
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:July 5th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
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That sounds like it was highly worthwhile for you.

Excellent stuff.
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From:communicator
Date:July 6th, 2011 10:07 am (UTC)
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It really was worth going to. I probably couldn't pin it down to any specific 'things I learned' but it made my mind race.

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