BookGrowl

BookGrowl is a series of interviews with SWOSU faculty and administrators about noteworthy books and DVDs. All of the BookGrowl titles are available from the SWOSU Libraries. BookGrowl is hosted by SWOSU librarian Frederic Murray.

Talking About Author Philip K. Dick with SWOSU Librarian Phillip Fitzsimmons

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The author of more than forty novels and numerous short stories, Philip K. Dick over the course of three decades helped reshape twentieth-century science fiction. Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago, IL and died in California in 1982, but he never lived to see his novels and ideas make the leap into popular culture through the medium of film. A number of these films, such as Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall (based on We Can Remember It for You Wholesale) and Minority Report have become common currency in the world of science fiction narrative. In many ways, Philip K. Dick is the most famous writer you have never heard of …

More than anything else, Philip K. Dick was a novelist of ideas, one who was able to transform science fiction novels from pulp entertainments into philosophically challenging explorations of the nature of reality. It is this depth of vision that continues to gain new audiences for his work and serve as a continual fount of images and ideas to contemporary filmmakers.

Here to discuss three of his novels is Phillip Fitzsimmons. Mr. Fitzsimmons is the Reference and Digitization Librarian at the Al Harris Library. Phillip has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oklahoma in Philosophy and English Literature as well as a Master's in Library and Information Studies, also from OU. We will be discussing the novels A Scanner Darkly, Martian Time-Slip, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

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Lost Spacecraft: The Search for Liberty Bell 7 by Curt Newport with Stafford Air and Space Museum Curator Max Ary

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Curt Newport’s Lost Spacecraft: The Search for Liberty Bell 7 is a tale of discipline, exploration and discovery. It is the story of the search for astronaut Gus Grissom's lost 1961 Mercury spacecraft. After a successful sub-orbital flight into space (the second of a planned seven missions) the Liberty Bell 7 suffered a catastrophic malfunction causing the spacecraft to sink to the bottom of the Atlantic in an area known as Blake’s Basin. For close to forty years the spacecraft was considered lost and unrecoverable, lying 16,000 feet below the surface. In 1999, Curt Newport and his team were able to locate and recover the spacecraft against overwhelming odds in a race against time and weather. Newport, a veteran of deep sea underwater work, recounts the hardships of working with remote vehicles more than three miles under the surface of the ocean. Along the way, he provides a technical perspective on the design and construction of the Mercury spacecraft as well as a basic history of the United States' first crewed space program.

Max Ary is the Curator of Special Projects at the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, OK.

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Sleuthing the Alamo by James E. Crisp with Historian Dr. Leland Turner

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In Sleuthing the Alamo, historian James E. Crisp draws back the curtain on years of myth-making to reveal some surprising truths about the Texas Revolution — truths that are often obscured by both racism and political correctness. This engaging first-person account of historical detective work illuminates the methods of the serious historian who searches for the more complex truths behind the glorious myths.

Here to discuss Sleuthing the Alamo is historian Leland Turner. Dr. Turner is Assistant Professor of History and Geography in the SWOSU Department of Social Sciences.

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Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro with SWOSU President Randy Beutler

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Robert Caro's Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson is a book about power. It is a book about one man's naked, ruthless ambition. If there is a single theme to its twelve hundred pages it is that power reveals. Within its pages we find the story of a man whose compassion runs like a "bright thread in a dark tapestry." We find a Senate mired in tradition, a stronghold of the status quo, an institution unwilling and unable to face the challenges of the rising demand for civil rights.

Master of the Senate is a close study of political power played out at the highest levels. It is the political biography of a man who was able to enact historic legislative change when change was most needed. It is the story of Lyndon Johnson's struggle to rise above his humble Texas origins and find his place in history.

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The Watchmen by Alan Moore with Jason Dupree

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One of the first graphic novels to achieve critical acclaim, The Watchmen by Alan Moore was selected as one of the 100 best English language novels from 1923 to the present by Time Magazine critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo. The novel was compared to works like Beloved by Toni Morrison, Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Grossman and Lacayo wrote that The Watchmen "is a book-length comic book with ambitions above its station — starring a ragbag of bizarre, damaged retired superheroes. Told with ruthless psychological realism, in fugal, overlapping plotlines and gorgeous, cinematic panels rich with repeating motifs, Watchmen is a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read and a watershed in the evolution of a young medium."

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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson with Dr. Victoria Gaydosik

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Snow Crash, a novel by Neal Stephenson, is set in the not-too-distant future where the mafia controls pizza delivery, the U.S. is a vast, mall-like patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and young Hiro Protagonist (yes, that's the hero protagonist's name) uses his computer game wizardry and pizza delivering skills to combat a deadly new designer drug called "snow crash." The novel has the distinction of helping usher in the world of cyberpunk fiction. The novel's ideas cascade around the topics history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, and philosophy.

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Cheyenne-Arapaho Education, 1871–1982 with author Dr. Herietta Mann

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Dr. Mann's book draws on oral histories, interviews, and tribal records to document the years during which Cheyenne and Arapaho children were subject to a constantly changing government assimilation policy. The book encapsulates an important period of Oklahoma history, as well as national history. This is not merely a history of buildings, classrooms and policies, but is also a story of individuals, families and tribes.

Dr. Mann is president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College. She is also rofessor Emeritus in Native American Studies at Montana State University. She earned her doctorate from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and holds a master's degree from Oklahoma State University.

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The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan with Dr. Chad Kinder

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In The Big Burn, author Timothy Egan takes us back to 1910, to the scene of the largest forest fire in American history. Three million acres — an area the size of Connecticut — burned in Idaho and Montana in a single weekend. By the time the terrifying fire burned out, more than seventy people had died.

Dr. Chad Kinder is Associate Dean of the SWOSU School of Behavioral Sciences and Education and Chair of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation Management.

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Jazz Icons with Dr. Keith Talley

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The Jazz Icons DVD series features full-length concerts and in-studio performances from some of the most important figures in the history of jazz music. Performers include jazz legends Art Blakey, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others.

Dr. Keith Talley is an Assistant Professor in the SWOSU Department of Music. Dr. Talley is an accomplished saxophonist and clarinet player, music educator, and jazz aficionado.

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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi with Dr. Valerie Reimers

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Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of her childhood in Iran. Satrapi's novel spans the tumultuous years of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the devastating Iran-Iraq War that followed soon after. The book's stark black and white artwork echos the difficult choices she faces as she and her family struggle to adapt their lives to life under a regime of religious fundamentalist revolutionaries.

Dr. Valerie Reimers is a Professor of English in the SWOSU Department of Language and Literature. She recently presented her paper "Satrapi's Persepolis: Displacements/Continuities and the Poetry of the Graphic Memoir" at the South Central Modern Language Association in Baton Rouge, LA.

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