Sunday, 16 January 2011

Thesis results, and my plans for 2011 and beyond

Happy New Year! Just a short post to update those interested on how my honours (undergraduate) thesis went last year. I submitted my thesis on religion in Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun in October last year, and received results in December. I was thrilled to receive First Class Honours for the thesis, which both examiners really enjoyed. Furthermore, last week I received the 2010 Monash University Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies Best Honours Thesis Prize.

One of the examiners also made some comments on how much he enjoyed reading The Book of the Long Sun in preparation for marking the thesis, saying that Wolfe's tetralogy reminded him of the "emancipative and enlightening force of early Christianity," with its emphases on personal faith in a single god and love and self-sacrifice for others. Yay! The world now has one more Wolfe reader!

This year I will be working on developing the thesis into a couple of articles - one on Wolfe's catholicism in The Book of the Long Sun (and how he uses the text to propound a complex and multifaceted Christian theology), and another on how Wolfe's use of the generation starship trope differs significantly from the generally more anti-religious uses of the trope which preceded his tetralogy (and which the tetralogy responds to). I'll be sure to post details here as these plans gradually come to fruition.

This year I also begin a Master of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University (part-time via distance over three years), in order to become a qualified librarian. I plan to continue reading and researching science fiction (and Gene Wolfe in particular) over the next few years, with the intention of beginning a PhD (probably part-time) a year or two after I graduate from CSU. My head is brimming with half-baked ideas on what this hypothetical thesis could be on: Wolfe's experiences in the Korean War and their influences on his writing (including a study of Letters Home), Wolfe's relationship to the New Wave movement, or maybe the narratological techniques Wolfe employs in order to open up his stories to multiple interpretations, creating an infinite interpretative space within the text (something I thought about working into my honours thesis, but in the end rejected because it proved to be too massive a topic to handle properly). I also need to take some time to finish reading all of Wolfe's writing, since there is a vast amount of it (including hundreds of short stories), and I'm probably not even half-way through reading it all yet. Oh well, there's plenty of time! All the best for 2011, everyone!


  1. Congratulations on such a great result! I look forward to seeing (and reading) your work in print!