Fartcopter Studies

I’m proud to have had a short, hard-hitting piece of cultural criticism (on Adult Swim’s “Fartcopter” and drone aesthetics) published in Slate, mostly because I’ve now achieved my longstanding dream of putting the word “fartcopter” on my CV.

Pretty Cool

It’s hard for me to believe sometimes, but I submitted my dissertation prospectus in December of 2005, during my fourth year as a graduate student in the Department of English at Stanford University. At the time — having recently read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and feeling vaguely dissatisfied with his argument in “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction” — I […]

In Praise of Zombies

We need to talk about zombies. In a recent article in Inside Higher Education about the precipitous decline in the number of English majors at my institution, the University of Maryland, College Park, the undead rear their charred and mutilated heads. Our zombie friends, we are informed, promise (or threaten) to help lure resistant students back into the English major: […]

A Delicious Breakfast Burrito at LARB

My review of William Gibson’s newest novel The Peripheral is now up at the Los Angeles Review of Books. NEAR THE END of The Peripheral, William Gibson’s latest novel, there is a short chapter dedicated to the problem one character faces in acquiring a breakfast burrito. The burrito is for one of the novel’s two protagonists, Flynne […]

Korzybski’s SF Legacy

Earlier this month, an essay I wrote about Alfred Korzybski appeared on io9. Korzybski’s the founder of General Semantics, which is  a sort of meta-science that tried to give an account of humanity’s relationship to language and abstract thought. I first learned about Korzybski through my research on William S. Burroughs (who was a big fan of […]

Utopian Foresight

Last week, I had a short essay published in Slate that discusses the failure of recent popular science fiction to imagine Socioeconomically Less Awful Futures. This failure is, in many ways, understandable, given how Socioeconomically Awful the present is, but I suggest that it might be interesting to conceive of science fiction as a genre with a special power to help us think […]