“Everything Is Interdisciplinary”–A Chat with David Higgins

Today I’m pleased to have on the show one of my all-time favorite humans, David Higgins.

(You can stream our chat via the embed here, on Anchor, or pretty much anywhere else you source your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and Google Podcasts.)

David teaches English at Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota. He is a specialist in 20th-century American literature and culture, and his research explores transformations in imperial fantasy during the Cold War period and beyond. His article “Toward a Cosmopolitan Science Fiction” won the 2012 Science Fiction Research Association’s Pioneer Award for excellence in scholarship. He has published in journals such as American Literature, Science Fiction Studies, Science Fiction Film and Television, and Extrapolation, and his work has appeared in edited volumes such as The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction.

He is also the Speculative Fiction Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books

In our chat today, we talk about his upcoming book on reverse colonization narratives in the science fiction of the 1960s, how he’s calibrated his own best creative routines, why he congratulates his undergraduate students when they feel like they’ve failed, and the many flexible ways to approach the study and criticism of speculative fiction.


Be on the lookout for the publication of David’s book, Reverse Colonization: Science Fiction, Imperial Fantasy, and Alt-victimhood.

David is the Speculative Fiction editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books

Wendy Brown 

Diane Enns

Frantz Fanon

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish novels and stories

The name of the Le Guin collection I was reading on my trip to Ireland last summer is No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. The poem about the mouse that her cat killed is called “Words for the Dead.”

The Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, illustrated by Charles Vess. You can read Charles Vess’s brief statement about his work on The Books of Earthsea at his website here.

Here’s the Vess Midsummer Night’s Dream poster that I was looking at:

You can find the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts online here. They’re also on Twitter at @IAFW_TW

The journal Science Fiction Studies

The journal Extrapolation

Jeff VanderMeer

If you’re not already familiar with the term “the Anthropocene,” you can read more about it as a concept here.

The SFRA, Science Fiction Research Association, is the oldest professional association dedicated to scholarly inquiry into Science Fiction and the Fantastic across all media.

The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA).

Cognitive estrangement is a “concept derived by Darko Suvin from Russian Formalism’s notion of ostranenie and Bertolt Brecht’s closely related (but Marx inflected) notion of the estrangement-effect in his Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979), a structuralist attempt to distinguish the genre of science fiction writing from other forms of fiction.”

Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics has had an inestimable impact on contemporary comics scholarship. 

Here’s the website for the dubstep artist Excision.

The term “indigenous futurisms” was coined by Dr. Grace Dillon.

Ytasha Womack’s book Afrofuturism is a great introductory primer on the topic.

One of rapper (and book club organizer) Noname‘s signature lyrical turns of phrase is “everything is everything.”