Professor of English
Editor, Journal of the Fantastic in Arts
PhD, MA in American Civilization, Brown University, 1979, 1976
BA in English, Albertson College (The College of Idaho), 1974
My first scholarly publication was on Emily Dickinson, but I soon turned away from canonical topics. Since that first effort, I have written on fantasy, science fiction, Disney films, utopias, childrenís literature, gender, and interdisciplinarityĖall dodgy topics for one reason or another. My article on Henry Nash Smith, Leo Marx, and the theoretical basis for their pioneering work in American Studies appeared in American Quarterly in 1996. Along with collaborators Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler, I edited the groundbreaking Norton Book of Science Fiction, which is used in many science fiction courses around the country; I also wrote a teacherís guide to the volume. In 1991 I received the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies a year later. I was named ISUís Distinguished Researcher in 1997 and was given an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities by the Idaho Humanities Council in 2004. The Science Fiction Research Association gave me its Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction and fantasy criticism in 2009.
I enjoy teaching at Idaho State partly because I am a fourth-generation Idahoan, addicted to mountains, silence, and sky, and partly because of the support and intellectual stimulation offered by my colleagues and students. When Iím not juggling words in the English department, I slip over to the Fine Arts building to assume my secret identity as Adjunct Instructor in cello. In the fall of 2006 I took over as editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, with graduate students in the ISU English Department serving as editorial assistants.
"The Fantastic." The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction. Ed. Rob Latham. Forthcoming.
Parabolas of Science Fiction. Ed. with Veronica Hollinger. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.
"Structuralism and Fantasy." Cambridge Companion to Fantasy. Ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 81-90.
"Teaching Gender and Science Fiction." Teaching Science Fiction. Ed. Peter Wright and Andy Sawyer. Teaching the New English Series. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011. 146-71.
"Elizabeth Enright and the Family Story as Genre." Children's Literature 37 (2009): 114-36.
"High Church versus Broad Church: Christian Myth in George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis." The New York Review of Science Fiction 207 (Nov. 2005): 14-17.
"Patricia Wrightson and Aboriginal Myth." Extrapolation 46 (2005): 329-39.
"Dust, Lust, and Other Messages from the Quantum Wonderland." Nanoculture: Implications of the New Technoscience. Ed. N. Katherine Hayles. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2004. 161-69.
"The Magazine Era: 1926-1960." The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. Ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 32-47
Decoding Gender in Science Fiction. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Teacherís Guide to The Norton Book of Science Fiction. New York: Norton, 1993.
Contributions to Reading Narrative Fiction, by Seymour Chatman. New York: Macmillan, 1993.
Strategies of Fantasy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.
The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature: From Irving to Le Guin. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.
- Introduction to American Studies
- Introduction to Folklore
- Literature of the Fantastic
- Survey of American Literature
- History and Criticism of Childrenís Literature
- Late 19th-century Literature
- Seminar in Pedagogy: Teaching Science Fiction
- Seminar in Genre: Utopia