New Class!
Online: Zoom

Speculative Series: Thresholds, Portals, and Liminal Transformations - Remote!

Saturday, December 11th from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST).
Online: Zoom
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

What do an outcast hopping across the multiverse, a home for disappearing children, and a time-traveling alien have in common? One word: Portals! They come in all shapes and sizes, from wardrobes to wormholes. Portals don't just exist in fantasy, but in all subgenres of the speculative—and maybe even the non-speculative. (Zoom, anyone?) In these stories, portals function as the liminal spaces that connect worlds—whether those worlds are separated by time, the multiverse, or our imaginations. While traditional portal fantasies often rely on a human’s accidental discovery of a fantasy world, contemporary works use these doorways in innovative ways, questioning agency in the use of portals, examining our relationship to history and futurity, and more.

In this session we'll look at the way liminal spaces function in speculative fiction. We'll explore portals as a physical representation of transformation—whether we're standing on the threshold of Narnia or of adulthood—and discuss how these in-between spaces can highlight or call into question our relationships to the boundaries that delineate our world. We'll look at the work of authors like Seanan McGuire, Micaiah Johnson, Catherynne M Valente, Victor LaValle, Alix E Harrow, Octavia Butler, VE Schwab, and Zen Cho to take inspiration for our own stories, and maybe debate whether, as Charlie Jane Anders claims, every spaceship story is a portal fantasy in the end.

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Stephanie K Brownell
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Previous Students Say

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  • Generate New Work
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  • The Novel
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