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Furman students author stories about the future and sustainability

Writing

An online volume of short stories by Furman students has been published by Project Hieroglyph, a global collective of writers and researchers whose aim is to create science fiction that will spur innovation in science and technology.

Slow Catastrophes, Uncertain Revivals: Stories Inspired by Project Hieroglyph is a collection of research-based stories about the future. The book features stories created by students in “Environment and Society—Slow Catastrophes, Speculative Futures, Science & Imagination: Rewriting and Rethinking Sustainability,” a course designed and taught by Furman University English professor Dr. Michele Speitz.

The book is edited by Speitz and Joey Eschrich, editor and program manager at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. It includes stories from 2015 Furman graduates Graham Browning and Elisa Edmondson, and Furman juniors Hagan Capnerhurst, Elly Gay, and Anna Peterson.

In the introduction of Slow Catastrophes, Speitz says, “The course challenged students to draw on multiple disciplines—across the sciences and the humanities—in order to create works of science fiction that might inspire us to address the multifarious complications bound up with climate change, that might embolden us to confront what some see as an impossibility: to be able to say “Yes, sustainability is still possible.”

“… [The] short stories published here are a sampling of the course’s capstone projects, selected not by me but rather by the class as a whole … the project deemed that students honor science fiction’s longstanding commitment to infusing speculative fiction with careful research. Thus, at their collective core these stories are not simply the stuff of the imagination, but also of rigorous study and serious inquiry,” adds Speitz.

Speitz says the course and the stories in Slow Catastrophes were inspired by Project Hieroglyph, particularly by Hieroglyph’s first anthology, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (2014), which her students read and discussed throughout the course – along with a wealth of scholarly readings on sustainability, ecocriticism, international development, narrative, and ecology.

Project Hieroglyph is administered by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. Visit http://hieroglyph.asu.edu/ for more information. Slow Catastrophes is free for anyone to read and share under a Creative Commons license. Follow this link to read or download. Or call the Furman News and Media Relations Office at (864) 294-3107.

About Dr. Michele Speitz
Dr. Michele Speitz joined the Furman faculty in 2012. She specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature, with particular interests in Romanticism, critical theory, aesthetics and poetics, and science and technology studies.

She has been the recipient of the Trent R. Dames Fellowship in the History of Civil Engineering from The Huntington Library’s Munger Research Center (2013-2014). Her work has appeared in SEL Studies in English Literature: 1500-1900: Restoration and Eighteenth Century, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, Essays in Romanticism, and The Keats-Shelley Review. She is currently developing a monograph entitled Technologies of the Sublime.

Speitz offers courses on the novel, poetry, aesthetic theory, literature and the environment, the philosophy of technology, science fiction, and literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is an Affiliate Faculty member with the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a master’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a bachelor’s degree from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

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