Weekend Reading: Classics and Sci-Fi

This week kicked off with what is now widely recognised as Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You, for those who don’t speak Geek!). So I thought I’d continue the theme with some Classics/Sci-Fi links to brighten up your weekend. Do chip in, if you have other links to books and articles: all reading suggestions gratefully received…!




New readers of this blog may not have realised that I’m a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan – particularly since you can’t see my collection of Firefly t-shirts or my home-made Tardis (nope, not joking – it has lights and sound effects, and is actually bigger on the inside…!). I desperately wanted a PhD not because I longed for a career in academia, but because I wanted to be The Doctor. If your mother knitted you a Tom Baker scarf when you were a teenager, you’ll know where I’m coming from.


To prove my geek credentials, here’s part of my collection of original fantasy novel cover art and autographs, with a shout-out to one of my favourite cover artists, the wonderful Geoff Taylor.


The beauty of Classics is that the category of ‘classicist’ overlaps quite significantly with the world of sci-fi nerds: so a lot of classicists have a secondary expertise in this area. If we were on Mastermind our first specialist subject might be Monuments of Augustan Rome: but in the final we’d be answering questions on The Geography of Tatooine.




And so we find that Classical Reception has a whole sub-genre of Sci-Fi Studies. To be honest, I tend to avoid it as much as possible, because that’s the rabbit hole I’m most likely to get sucked down. But it’s top of my list for when I run out of things I have to do…!

Here are some of the classical Star Wars links and pictures that I’ve been enjoying this week:


Star Wars1


Star Wars as a Latin epic – In Medias Res

Star Wars Day in Rome – Wanted in Rome

Star Wars and myth – Open Learn

Star Wars and Rome – The Latin Language Blog

Star Wars archaeology – Forbes

Remembering and restoring the Republic – Classical World [for those with journal access]



Star Wars2


Star Wars3
From the wonderful Legonium, on Twitter @tutubuslatinus



You’ll also find some interesting articles on Doctor Who, Star Wars and other sci-fi on Philip Boyes’ blog, and the CREWS Project blog; and former OU tutor Tony Keen has also written some great publications in this area:



Here are some books you might enjoy, if you want to take a more academic interest in the sci-fi/Classics crossover. (By the way, if you follow the links to Amazon and buy something, Amazon gives me a few pennies. I live in hopes that someday this website might start to pay for itself, but so far I haven’t earned enough to pay for a cup of coffee!)


(reviewed by my sister here)




And from the less murky corners of the internet…




Stephen Fry on a ‘Mythos’ tour [hooray – I’ve got tickets for Gateshead!] – BBC 

Antony Gormley in Greece – The Guardian 

Hadrian’s Wall cartoons at Segedunum – Chronicle Live 

The UK’s Tutankhamun – BBC 

Lots of lovely coins – BBC

Sphinx room at the Domus Aurea – Ansa 



Comment and opinion

More on the history of OU Classics, from the wonderful Janet Huskinson – OU Classical Studies

Becoming a Latin teacher – In Medias Res 

Autism and myth – Institute for Classical Studies 

A walk through Athens – Delphi the Philosopher

Votives from Corinth – The Votives Project 

A new wave of classicists – Warwick Knowledge Centre 

‘Abductions’ in art – Journal of the History of Ideas 

Working class Classics – The Edithorial 





Podcasts, video and other media

Latin philosophy in Byzantium – History of Philosophy 

Emily Wilson’s Sebald Lecture – BCLT 

Barbara Graziosi on Greek religion – Ancient Greece Declassified 

Briseis: Wonder Women of Greek Mythology – Greek Mythology Retold 

On being a Spartan woman – Ancient History Hound



Sign up for Ancient Health MOOC (10th June) – Future Learn 

…or go along to the Minimus Latin Weekend at Vindolanda – Vindolanda 



3 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Classics and Sci-Fi

  1. I’m not a huge fan of reception studies but if I were to pursue the reception route then this would be the way I’d go. I’ve always been a sci-fi geek, I love a bit of Star Trek (particularly Voyager & DS-9), I did have an unhealthy obsession with Stargate SG-1 & Atlantis and you don’t have to go too far in my home to find the odd light sabre! That being said I hadn’t completely appreciated just how serious this branch of reception studies was. Truth be told I’d tossed it into an imaginary box alongside ancient alien theories that would never again see the light of day! It’s certainly something worth reading about though, if only to satisfy the inner geek!


  2. I reckon every classicist should be sat down and forced to watch ‘Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra’.

    Don’t even get me started on Buffy! So much to have fun with there…

    And while I am more of a TOS/TNG girl at heart, I never missed an episode of Voyager or DS9 (although I did cringe a bit every time they went onto the holodeck!), or SG1 (good for intrepid archaeologists, of course). Maybe that’s why I became a classicist: too much early exposure to epic tales of war and journeys home… Actually, now that I think about it, my obsession with the politics of Babylon 5 may well have fuelled my interest in Tacitus!

    In my case, I’m afraid the inner geek is more outer geek… 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s