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Live Video Lecture: “The Hunger Games” and the SF Tradition

Attention Hunger Games fans! (You know who you are!)

Amy H. Sturgis writes in to tell us about a cool video lecture she’s giving on September 1st, 2012: The Hunger Games and the SF Tradition. Hosted by Starship Sofa, the live video lecture takes an in-depth look at both the book and film version of The Hunger Games in the context of science fiction.

More details can be found on the event page and the following course description…

How does the story of Katniss Everdeen – the District 12 tribute, the Girl on Fire, the Mockingjay — fit into the genre tradition? Join award-winning scholar Amy H. Sturgis as she discusses The Hunger Games (both in book and film form) as science fiction.

The lecture will consist of four sections followed by a live Q&A session.

PART 1: MYTHOLOGICAL UNDERPINNINGS
Where did Panem get its name? Is The Hunger Games missing a Minotaur? Like many authors of science fiction, Suzanne Collins built her fictional universe on the foundations of classical myths and the civilizations that game them life. This section will explore the history and legends that inspired The Hunger Games.

PART 2: FUTURISTIC SCIENCE
What debt do the tracker jackers and mockingjays owe H.G. Wells? In the world of The Hunger Games, some human citizens of the Capitol alter themselves to resemble animals, while others alter animals to serve as agents of spy craft, torture, and execution. Genetic engineering, body modification, and the unintended consequences that occur when the natural and the human-made mix: we will trace the lineage of such concepts back to their roots in the modern beginnings of science fiction.

INTERMISSION

PART 3: POST-APOCALYPTIC LANDSCAPES AND DYSTOPIAN NIGHTMARES
The Hunger Games depicts a post-war, post-apocalyptic landscape just familiar enough to seem real – so real, in fact, that many fans have used the clues from the novels and film to construct maps of its borders. Its dystopian elements, from constant surveillance to propaganda wars, may also feel rather close to home for contemporary audiences. This section will fit The Hunger Games into the larger context of science fictional worlds gone wrong, drawing connections between Suzanne Collins and her predecessors, including Mary Shelley herself.

PART 4: YOUNG ADULT HEROES/HEROINES IN SCIENCE FICTION
Many reviews laud Katniss Everdeen as a new kind of heroine. But is she? Or is she simply the newest and best incarnation of a kind of young protagonist that science fiction has been celebrating for generations? We’ll identify some of the key ancestors of Katniss and consider how she puts a new spin on a classic genre convention.


About John DeNardo (13014 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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