Walls of Words

Nicole Lobdell

Nicole Lobdell is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English in 19th-century British literature at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.



Georgia Tech, English 1102: 19th-Century Speculative Fiction (Fall 2015)

This course will look at several pieces of speculative fiction from the 19th century including Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838), H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man (1897), Charles Kingsley’s satirical response to Darwin’s theory of evolution, The Water-Babies: A Fairytale for Land Babies (1862-63), and Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), a mathematical romance of the fourth and fifth dimensions of space. Other writers we might read or discuss include Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard, and Robert Louis Stevenson. The course will examine how works of 19th-century speculative fiction are often interpreted as turning away from realism, when in actuality they offer alternative engagements with a world made increasingly complex by social and political upheavals and scientific discoveries. One of our course goals will be to discuss and analyze how these fictions influence and reverberate through speculative fiction today. Possible artifacts that students will create include a book cover redesign, a video blog, and a movie trailer project.

An abstract dance titled "Flatland" and inspired by Abbott's novel.

A trailer for the 1933 film The Invisible Man, directed by James Whale and starring radio voice actor Claude Rains.

Students considered Monument Valley (2014) and Miegakure (2010-forthcoming), both puzzle games which play with perspective and 2D, 3D, and 4D worlds.

Book Cover Redesign Challenge

Below are some samples of student work. Students were charged with redesign the book cover for The Invisible Man or Flatland. Some designs were physical 3D covers and some were submitted as digital designs, including one which was an interactive tesseract (a 4D cube). Please do not copy or use designs without written permission from the designer.

This video is the interactive coded book cover of an evolving tesseract cube, designed by Marc "Ru Yi" Marone. The student designer discusses his design and highlights a few features of his coding work. Video uploaded by Ru Yi Marone on 2015-10-20 to YouTube.

Infograph Design Challenge

Below are samples of students' infograph design work. Students were charged with design an infograph that included quantitative data and responded to themes of our course. The samples demostrate a variety of topics, research methods, and design choices. Please do not copy or use any work displayed without written permission from the designers.