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Brian Attebery

Brian Attebery

Professor of English; Editor, Journal of the Fantastic in Arts

Office: LA 225



PhD, American Civilization (1979), Brown University

MA, American Civilization (1976), Brown University

BA, English (1974), The College of Idaho


My first scholarly publication was on Emily Dickinson, but I soon turned away from canonical topics. Since that first effort, I have written on fantasy, science fiction, Disney films, utopias, children’s literature, gender, and interdisciplinarity–all dodgy topics for one reason or another. My article on Henry Nash Smith, Leo Marx, and the theoretical basis for their pioneering work in American Studies appeared in American Quarterly in 1996. Along with collaborators Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler, I edited the groundbreaking Norton Book of Science Fiction, which is used in many science fiction courses around the country; I also wrote a teacher’s guide to the volume. In 1991 I received the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies a year later. I was named ISU’s Distinguished Researcher in 1997 and was given an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities by the Idaho Humanities Council in 2004. The Science Fiction Research Association gave me its Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction and fantasy criticism in 2009.

I enjoy teaching at Idaho State partly because I am a fourth-generation Idahoan, addicted to mountains, silence, and sky, and partly because of the support and intellectual stimulation offered by my colleagues and students. When I’m not juggling words in the English department, I slip over to the Fine Arts building to assume my secret identity as Adjunct Instructor in cello. In the fall of 2006 I took over as editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, with graduate students in the ISU English Department serving as editorial assistants.


Ursula K. Le Guin, The Complete Orsinia. Brian Attebery, editor. New York: The Library of America, 2016.

Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Parabolas of Science Fiction. Ed. with Veronica Hollinger. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.

Decoding Gender in Science Fiction. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Teacher’s Guide to The Norton Book of Science Fiction. New York: Norton, 1993.

Strategies of Fantasy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature: From Irving to Le Guin. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

"The Fantastic." The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction. Ed. Rob Latham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 127-138.

"Structuralism and Fantasy." Cambridge Companion to Fantasy. Ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 81-90.

"Teaching Gender and Science Fiction." Teaching Science Fiction. Ed. Peter Wright and Andy Sawyer. Teaching the New English Series. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011. 146-71.

"Elizabeth Enright and the Family Story as Genre." Children's Literature 37 (2009): 114-36.

"High Church versus Broad Church: Christian Myth in George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis." The New York Review of Science Fiction 207 (Nov. 2005): 14-17.

"Patricia Wrightson and Aboriginal Myth." Extrapolation 46 (2005): 329-39.

"Dust, Lust, and Other Messages from the Quantum Wonderland." Nanoculture: Implications of the New Technoscience. Ed. N. Katherine Hayles. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2004. 161-69.

"The Magazine Era: 1926-1960." The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. Ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 32-47

Contributions to Reading Narrative Fiction, by Seymour Chatman. New York: Macmillan, 1993.


Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies for Stories about Stories, 2015.

Distinguished Researcher, ISU, 1997

Master Researcher, ISU, 1991, 1995, 1996

Courses Taught


  • 4492/5592: Folklore and Literature
  • 4467/5567: Studies in Late 19th-Century Literature
  • 4441/5541: History and Criticism of Children’s Literature
  • 2277: Survey of American Literature I
  • 2212: Introduction to Folklore
  • 1115: Literature of the Fantastic
  • AMST 2200: Introduction to American Studies
  • Seminar in Genre: Utopia
  • Seminar in Pedagogy: Teaching Science Fiction