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Here you will find (eventually) a potpourri of writings relating to three kinds of Storytelling - Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror - and the connections between them, between them and their readers, and between them and their critics.
Over the years I've written essays, articles, and reviews concentrating on how these particular Stories work, and why. While I appreciate the journals that published many of these, especially The Leading Edge, they enjoyed relatively limited readerships. What seemed a dream beyond hope was some outlet that would allow students and fellow enthusiasts not only to read my thoughts but to respond to them, react to them, and use them as invitations back into some of my favorite books.
Then … the internet. And Hatrack River has generously provided this webspace for precisely that purpose.
StarShine and Shadows will print and reprint articles ranging from the theory of Science-Fiction poetry to studies of individual books and stories by Orson Scott Card, Stephen King and others; from reviews of new books to selections of poetry (some of mine, to suggest ways theory can be transformed by practice; some from other poets where they give permission); from finished essays to ideas-in-progress.
Who am I?
For 25 years, I've taught literature, composition, and creative writing at Pepperdine University in Malibu CA, teaching classes from Milton and the Renaissance Epic to Myth, Fantasy, and Science Fiction. Along the way, I've worked with Children's Literature, Epic, Lyric Poetry, and as many other subjects as I could.
What have I written?
Most recently, I've published analytical bibliographies of Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, and Peter Straub (all from Overlook Connection Press, 2000-2003); other books include In the Image of God (Greenwood 1990), the first book-length study of Card's works; Scaring Us to Death (Borgo 1999) and half a dozen additional books on Stephen King.
What can you expect to see here?
The first postings will include these papers read at the Brigham Young University Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy: Life, the Universe, and Everything, 1988-2004.
"Literary Heroism in the Novels of Orson Scott Card"
"Dialogues by Starlight: Three Approaches to Writing SF Poetry"
"Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror in Paradise Lost: 'And on his Crest Sat Horror Plum'd'"
"Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show: Realism in Horror Fiction"
"Stephen King, Richard Bachman, and 17th-Century Devotional Poetry: Faith Within Fantasy"
What do I hope for this site?
This site is posted as an open invitation to discussion. The primary - if not the sole - function of literary criticism should be to provide insights that others, students and readers, might profitably use when engaging or re-engaging the text. It is not to assert a definitive reading or to close the paths of discussion. So if you have responses, please post them. I look forward to hearing from you.
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