Lit Think Podcast
Chapter 3.12 - Time Travel to Truth

Chapter 3.12 - Time Travel to Truth

Exploring the Hulu adaptation of Octavia Butler's Kindred to expand our understanding of science fiction

Alicia and Sarah expand their understanding of science fiction through the unconventional time travel story in Octavia Butler’s Kindred. They discuss how the Hulu adaptation has updated the forty-year-old novel while still challenging audiences to consider the lasting effects of slavery on our modern consciousness. At the end of this week’s discussion, they talk about the things they've been reading, watching, and analyzing outside of the classroom.

Literary terms of the week: speculative fiction, utopian fiction, visionary fiction

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Music by Craig Harmann

Cover art by Matt Holman

Show Notes:

30-second summary

Literary terms of the week (plus historical context):

  • Speculative fiction

    • Science Fiction

    • Utopian Fiction

    • Visionary Fiction

  • 5 Elements of Science Fiction

    • What if?

    • Unfamiliar setting

    • Innovative tech

    • Relatable characters

    • Themes about humanity

  • Visionary Fiction: “Visionary fiction is…fantastical writing that helps us imagine new just worlds. Visionary fiction encompasses science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism, alternative timelines, and more. It is fantastical literature that helps us to understand existing power dynamics, and helps us imagine paths to creating more just futures.”

    • “When readers who are White, middle class, cisgender, heterosexual, and able-bodied enter the fantastic dream, they are empowered and afforded a sense of transcendence that can be elusive within the real world. If this is the case, then readers and hearers of fantastic tales who have been endarkened and Othered by the dominant culture can never be plausible conquering heroes nor prizes to be won in the fantastic. Unless the tale is meant to be comedic, tongue-in-cheek, a wink and a nod that breaks the fourth wall and assures audiences that this is a parody of the fantastic, not the real story…

“...the implicit message that readers, hearers, and viewers of color receive as they read these texts is that we are the villains. We are the horde. We are the enemies.

“We are the monsters.”

  • Through a Looking Glass, Darkly: Theorizing Fantasy from the Monster’s Point of View, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Tips for discussing racism in the classroom: 

  • Develop a classroom contract on how you will address a hard topic together

  • Consider the following questions from this PBS lesson plan:

    • From what starting place are your students approaching this conversation?

    • Do your students feel they can trust you and each other?

    • Prepare for uncomfortable moments. What will you do?

    • How can you respect and protect students who may feel pressure to share personal or even traumatic experiences? Consider what personal risks students may be taking in sharing such experiences and prepare accordingly.

    • How can you frame discussions of race in the classroom in a way that takes pressure off of BIPOC ( = Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students to speak on behalf of their communities?

  • The First Time I Realized I Was Black

  • Note: We recorded this episode shortly after the release of the Tyre Nichols video.

What are we enjoying right now?

  • Alicia: National Treasure: Edge of History (TV on Disney+), Even Though I Knew the End (CL Polk)

  • Sarah: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (book), A Man Called Otto (movie)

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