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Reading Groups

Transgressive '70s Speculative Fiction with Alaya Dawn Johnson

Four Sessions Saturdays, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT June 15 to September 14, 2024

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group with a 10% discount from our Bookstore.

Meeting Dates:
6/15, 7/13, 8/17, 9/14
Online via Zoom

If the 1960s was the start of the New Wave in Science Fiction, by the 1970s it had moved to deep and transgressive waters. Women, black, and queer writers, among others, were writing the genre-breaking works that would reshape the “literature of ideas” of Asimov and Clarke forever. In this course, we will read four exemplary works from this period by four of its most storied practitioners, placing each in their historical and literary context. We will discuss the convergences and tensions among the works, their concerns with power dynamics, their destabilization of technology, and their re-localization of utopia among the historically marginalized. By reaching into the roots of the genre, we will come away with a far deeper understanding of the field as it has evolved today.

Participants should read The Dispossessed in advance of the first meeting.

What to Expect from This Reading Group: This will be a conversational, participant-driven course, in which I will give context and further nuance when necessary.

Please Note: All virtual classes are recorded. Please click here for information about our recording policy.


Led by

  • Alaya Johnson Large

    Alaya Dawn Johnson

    Alaya Dawn Johnson

    Alaya Dawn Johnson is an award-winning short story writer and the author of eight novels for adults and young adults. N. K. Jemisin has hailed her recent YA science fiction novel, The Library of Broken Worlds, as “modern epic poetry.” Her most recent novel for adults, Trouble the Saints, won the 2021 World Fantasy Award for best novel. Her debut short story collection, Reconstruction, was an Ignyte Award and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist. Her debut YA novel The Summer Prince was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and the follow-up Love Is the Drug was awarded the Andre Norton Nebula Award. Her short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, most notably the title story in The Memory Librarian, in collaboration with Janelle Monáe. She lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.