Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘my media empire

new book series: MASS MARKETS: STUDIES IN FRANCHISE FICTION

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Mass Markets: Studies in Franchise Cultures (University of Minnesota Press)

Series editors: Gerry Canavan (Marquette University) and Benjamin J. Robertson (University of Colorado Boulder)

contact: gerrycanavan@gmail.com

Mission Statement

“90% of everything is crap.” —Theodore Sturgeon

Sturgeon’s Law suggests that the bulk of cultural production is not worthy of our attention, except perhaps as a guilty pleasure. However, as popular media storyworlds increasingly dominate the global entertainment landscape, they call out for serious criticism. The “Mass Markets” of our series title refers both to the audiences who consume media franchises and immerse themselves in those storyworlds and to one of the key media forms through which this consumption has taken place, the mass market paperback. This series thus investigates an archive traditional scholarship typically ignores—from video game franchises to longstanding comic storylines, from fantasy trilogies to Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood blockbusters—even as it expands that archive to include cultural productions by marginalized auteurs and from the world beyond North America and Europe. These studies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ most visible cultural texts are written for critics and fans interested in thinking through the joys and problems mass markets and their fandoms create.

Mass Markets books are 40,000 – 60,000 words each, focused on storyworlds developed in specific franchises and dedicated to expanding our understanding of what franchises can be and who can create and study them. Briefly put, Mass Markets: Studies in Franchise Cultures takes up popular narratives (from books and film to television, games, comics, and beyond) that:

  • are produced and distributed across relatively long timescales;
  • extend across multiple media (including film, television, streaming services, video games, books, comics, and, in certain cases, toys and other commodities);
  • generate extensive narrative storyworlds, both textually and through paratexts like maps, glossaries, indexes, and digital extensions like authorized encyclopedias and fan wikis;
  • have been produced by multiple writers, pen names, and work-for-hire journeymen rather than in accordance with elite notions of “authors” or “auteurs”;
  • are often governed more by a top-down corporate vision than aesthetic and political considerations;
  • and are created for large, mainstream audiences (although they may also contain Easter eggs and others sorts of fan service directed to longstanding fans of the franchise or the genre more generally).

The series aims not to produce full or complete histories of various franchises: their dates of inception, long lists of their various texts and descriptions of the relations among them, the economics and studio maneuvering behind their productions, and so on. Such nondiegetic history is necessary to the series, and we expect the individual texts that make up the series to situate the storyworlds they address in larger cultural movements and historical moments. However, the series shall focus on the diegetic natures of the worlds themselves created by franchises that wish to leverage those worlds into a sustainable condition for storytelling and profit, as well as on the varieties of reception and audience participation such worlds produce.

We therefore envision books on Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the Star Wars Universe, The Walking Dead’s ruined post-zombie America, Marvel’s Wakanda, Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, The Broken Earth’s the Stillness, Tin-Tin’s Africa, Akira’s Neo-Tokyo, Valérian and Laurelin’s City of a Thousand Planets, the stylized India of Bollywood film series such as Dhoom or Raaz, Full Metal Alchemist’s Amestris, and so on. But the storyworld we are most excited about is the one we haven’t thought of yet.

Interested authors should contact us for more information and consultation prior to writing anything, but we include the elements of a Minnesota book review for reference.

Elements of a Book Prospectus (University of Minnesota Press)

1.  Overview of the book, including

            •  a summary of the book’s main substantive contribution(s)

            •  an explanation of the theoretical framework that you employ

            •  a description of the methodological approach(es) that you employ

            •  a comparison of the book to others in the field, as well as an explanation of the unique contribution that this work makes (i.e., xdescribe other books and how, specifically, your differs from them)

            •  a description of the target audience(s) for the book.

2.  Table of contents and chapter-by-chapter descriptions (one page per chapter describing its relationship to the other chapters and to the overall argument of the book)

3.  Sample chapter(s), preferably including the introduction and at least two substantive chapters

4.  Current curriculum vitae (if the book is a collection of essays, include a list of contributors’ affiliations)

5.  Manuscript specifics, including estimated length, delivery date, electronic format, and any special requirements (e.g., artwork, tables, photographs, film stills)

Written by gerrycanavan

July 14, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Grad School Achebe #2: 2 Things 2 Apart!

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Gerry and Aaron are back for more Things Fall Apart, talking about parts two and three of the novel! We also talk The Sopranos, Watchmen, Breaking Bad, bad fans, The Things Fall Apart film, just a little Vonnegut, and Achebe’s 1973 essay “Named for Victoria, Queen of England”…

GSA1: Things Fall Apart chapters 1-13

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It’s all happening again…

Grad School Achebe: Episode Zero

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The first episode of season two! Gerry and Aaron discuss the gameplan for Grad School Achebe, the history and reception of African literature inside and outside academia, Achebe’s place in the canon, his uncanny recurrent deaths on social media, the finer points of pronunciation, and more. Next week: the podcast falls apart.

Texts discussed:

Chinua Achebe in conversation with Bill Moyers (1988)

Chinua Achebe in conversation with Lewis Nkosi and Wole Soyinka (1964)

Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease (2015)

Ceremonial End of the Semester Tab Purge and Semi-Annual Apology for Being So Busy

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Between my research, service obligations, Zoom teaching, the kids’ virtual schooling, and getting a new puppy, I’ve been just incredibly busy. Another man might say: hey, this is the perfect opportunity to let the blog you’ve been updating continuously since 2004 die! But I am no ordinary man...

First, just a few things I’ve been doing:

And a carefully curated, deliberately and self-consciously incomplete list of some things I’ve been reading this spring:

Written by gerrycanavan

May 11, 2021 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet, Look at what I put on the Internet

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GSV25: Death March, Power Rankings, and Celebratory Clambake

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March Links!

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 6, 2021 at 9:04 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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GSV23: GALÁPAGOS!

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This is the one the podcast has always been building towards: Gerry, Aaron, and special guest Brian Thill take on Galápagos. Does it hold up? Is it secretly the best Vonnegut novel? Can Kurt wriggle out of being canceled one last time? Only our big brains know for sure…

Written by gerrycanavan

February 9, 2021 at 2:16 pm

GSV22: “EPICAC”!

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Gerry and Aaron return for a discussion of “EPICAC” (1950)! Join us for a meandering tour of automation, machine learning, feminism, suicide, the war machine, masculinity, STEM, and so much more…

Written by gerrycanavan

January 15, 2021 at 3:34 pm

GSV21: PLAYER PIANO!

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What’s that? There, in the back, behind the Christmas tree? Why, it’s a very special, two-hour episode of Grad School Vonnegut, guest-starring Matt Hauske & Hilary Strang from the Marooned! on Mars podcast! We talk Player Piano, automation, capitalism, revolution, utopia, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ministry for the Future, failsons, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, the Ghost Dance, and so much more…

Written by gerrycanavan

December 29, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Ye Old Link Roundup!

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GSV20: “All the King’s Horses”

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This week Gerry and Aaron’s guest is Cameron Kunzelman of the “Just King Things” and “Game Studies Study Buddies” podcasts! We talk Vonnegut’s 1951 short story “All the King’s Horses,” adaptation, chess, Go, games, game theory, the Cold War, the 90s, Stephen King, The Queen’s Gambit, esports, Pikmin 3, and finally taking down the Vonnegut Library! #FreetheGame #FreetheVonnegutBoardGame

Written by gerrycanavan

December 20, 2020 at 7:36 pm

And a Very Merry Election’s Night’s Eve To You Too

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THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE Wants You!

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I wrote a bit about Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest novel and ecoterrorism over at LARB:

If you truly claim to represent the people of the future, Frank asks — people who have the exact same right to a livable planet that we do — doesn’t that mean you should be willing to kill in their defense? Not as a first choice, not as the only choice — but can you really take it off the table? “If your organization represents the people who will be born after us, well, that’s a heavy burden! It’s a real responsibility! You have to think like them! You have to do what they would do if they were here,” Frank argues. “I don’t think they would countenance murder,” retorts Mary, to which Frank replies, “Of course they would!”

The Ministry for the Future is thus a novel about bureaucracy, but it’s also about the possibility of a wide diversity of tactics in the name of a livable future that include fighting both inside and outside the system. Characters in the novel contemplate targeted assassination of politicians and CEOs, industrial sabotage of coal plants, intentionally bringing down airliners in the name of destroying commercial air travel, bioterrorism against industrial slaughterhouses — and they do more than contemplate them. How does it change what’s possible when we stop worrying so much about losing in the right way, and start thinking about winning in the wrong ways?

GSV 15: Mother Night!

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After a brief hiatus, Gerry and Aaron are back, talking Mother Night with Matthew Cheney, Assistant Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University and author of Modernist Crisis and the Pedagogy of Form and Blood: Stories! We are what we pretend to podcast, so we must be careful what we pretend to podcast…

Huge thanks to Matt for coming on and putting up with us! Editing it I thought this might be our smartest episode, but also the Vonnegut book that most aggressively confounded and defeated us.

We are regrettably coming very close to the end of the podcast: after Mother Night we have only four novels left. Here’s something like the final schedule, if you’re interested in keeping up:

16*. Ryan North’s Slaughterhouse-Five graphic novel (we talked for so long on this one this might honestly be a two-part episode)

17. Timequake

18. God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

19. Hocus Pocus

20. “All the King’s Men”

21. Player Piano

22. “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow”

23. Galápagos

24. Final Episode Snake Draft, Deathmatch, and Celebratory Clambake

We specifically designed the podcast to fill time during the pandemic, so take heart that there’s only about nine or ten weeks left of this thing.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 16, 2020 at 8:20 am