Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Amitav Ghosh on why science fiction still struggles to be taken seriously.

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Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

“where I can get prickly and combative is if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions.”

– Ursula K. Le Guin

In an interview in 2015, the great science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin was asked about what the term ‘science fiction’ means to her:

Interviewer: “How do you feel about the term science fiction, as connected to your work?”

Le Guin: “Well, that’s very complicated…I don’t think science fiction is a very good name for it, but it’s the name that we’ve got. It is different from other kinds of writing, I suppose, so it deserves a name of its own. But where I can get prickly and combative is if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions.” …


‘What would I eliminate if I had a magic wand? Overconfidence.’ — Daniel Kahneman

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Highlights

  • Research shows that first-stage screening interviews continue to be widely used in the academic hiring process to filter out candidates,“despite a vast literature suggesting that they have little validity.”
  • Even though they’re generally useless for employers, and time-consuming for applicants, those of us on the job market will likely all have to do these interviews at some point.
  • Recognizing this reality, we could all use some strategies to reduce stress and anxiety, build confidence, and perform well when we do online interviews.
  • Here are 2— admittedly silly but surprisingly effective –– strategies I use to improve my ‘image management’ communication skills in first stage screening interviews. …

Can anthropomorphism serve as a wildlife conservation tool?

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Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

‘How do you get a reader to give a sh*t?’

There’s a great interview with science writer Ed Yong about his approach to effectively telling stories about wildlife conservation efforts, especially efforts that are failing. As Yong puts it, the main question we should ask ourselves as environmental communicators is this: “How do you get a reader to give a shit?

Yong explains the conundrum: “In a news ecosystem that is increasingly filled with tales of woe and doom for our own species let alone all the others, how do you get a reader to give a shit about a random group of 400-ish animals?”

The main strategy he suggests is to “establish that these animals are individuals, not numbers.” Yong deploys this strategy with skill in his essay for the Atlantic, “North Atlantic Right Whales are Dying in Horrific Ways,” telling the story of 6 individual whales killed by ship strikes and entanglement in fishing nets. …

About

Gavin Lamb, PhD

I’m a researcher and writer in environmental communication based in Hawai‘i. Subscribe to my weekly digest of tips, tools and ideas here: wildones.substack.com

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