A Side Effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic? Reading Got a Lot Harder

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  • Lisa Yaszek Lisa Yaszek

Lisa Yaszekprofessor in the School of Literature, Media and Communication, was quoted in the article "A Side Effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic? Reading Got a Lot Harder" in Chronicle of Higher Education on April 20, 2020.

The article explores another unfortunate consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, one that has affected even people not afflicted by the virus: The difficulty of focusing on their work. Yaszek discussed the intersection of that issue with the world of science fiction, one of the focuses of her scholarship. 


Lisa Yaszek is also trying to be kind to herself. These days, the last thing the professor of science-fiction studies wants to do is read more science fiction. She already feels as if she’s living through a disaster, Yaszek said. She doesn’t need the excitement of somebody else’s.

Of course, she said, some might find comfort in dystopian stories, like E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops,” about a world where society lives underground, reliant on a giant machine to provide its needs, and the machine breaks down. The parallels are obvious.

Lots of science fiction is inherently optimistic, said Yaszek, who teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It’s about the possibility that people might put down their differences and work together. Reading those narratives can feel discomforting right now, she said, because when you’re done, you return to this imperfect world, where people are making imperfect choices.

Read the full article here.

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Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

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School of Literature Media and Communication, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
  • Created By: ifrazer3
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Apr 22, 2020 - 12:58pm
  • Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020 - 12:59pm