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Authors read and discuss their work

Proving that writers can reach common goals through very different paths, two upcoming programs present authors who use either the world of nature or the world of advanced technologies as a springboard for their ideas.


Edward Hoagland explores the world of nature, the simple affairs of the human heart and the dynamics of changing civilizations. Mr. Hoagland, award-winning essayist and nature writer, is best known for his pieces on wild animals and natural phenomena. "One of the things I've been trying to do is finish a 10,000-word essay on snakes��������������������������� and more than a half century ago I wrote an essay about snakes," he said. "See, we don't change. I'm still trying to get it right."

Mr. Hoagland divides his writing between fiction and essays, and his life between an apartment on the New York waterfront and a house in northern Vermont.

Mr. Hoagland will speak and read from his works on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8pm in Rm 6-120. The evening is presented by the Writers Series, sponsored by MIT's Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. For more information, call x3-7894.


For science fiction writers Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany, technologies of communication have been a central topic.

Ms. Butler has been a leading force in exploring issues in the biological sciences through science fiction. Her work is characterized by its often disturbing depictions of human-alien relations and of the transmutation of the body, using science fiction as a vehicle for exploring and complicating our understanding of unequal relations between the races or the genders through the creation of strange and defamiliarizing images. Her books include Kindred, Mind of My Mind, Bloodchild, Dawn, Clay's Ark and Wild Seed. She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for best short story for "Speech Sounds" and won the 1985 Hugo and 1984 Nebula for best novelette for Bloodchild.

Samuel R. "Chip" Delany is a noted science-fiction author and critic whose works address racial and social issues, heroic quests and the nature of language. Best-known for Dahlgren and Triton: an Ambiguous Herotopia, Mr. Delany wrote his first novel at 13 and by age 26 had won four Nebula Awards. He was a major figure in the so-called "Age of Rebellion," a period in which young science fiction writers forced the genre to confront some of the political, social and sexual upheavals of the Vietnam era.

One of Mr. Delany's most important contributions was to focus attention on issues of gay, lesbian and bisexual experience through science fiction. He gave the keynote addresses at the 1991 International Gay and Lesbian Studies Conference and at the 1993 Outwrite Convention.

Ms. Butler and Mr. Delany will read selections and engage in discussions of "Media and Imagination" on Thursday, Feb. 19 from 7-10pm in Rm 10-250. The evening is presented by the Media in Transition Series, sponsored by the Communications Forum and Film and Media Studies with a grant from the John and Mary Markle Foundation. For more information, call x3-3599.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 1998.

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