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Thiess' latest book examines sports in science fiction

Derek Thiess
Dr. Derek Thiess, assistant professor of English at the University of North Georgia (UNG), is publishing his third book, "Sport and Monstrosity in Science Fiction."

Dr. Derek Thiess, assistant professor of English at the University of North Georgia (UNG), has always been interested in sports and science fiction.

"I was around athletes and athletics, especially collegiate athletics quite a lot," Thiess said. "I worked with athletes, tutoring them. My wife is a sport psychologist, so I found myself at a lot of sporting events."

Though these two subjects don't seem to fit together, Thiess found a way to link them. They are the subject of his third book, "Sport and Monstrosity in Science Fiction."

The publication will be released to the public May 31.

"As an academic who was also frequently immersed in athletic environments, I noticed a disconnect between the way we approach sports as academics and the way many athletes experience sport," Thiess said. He noted that the predominant mode of sport criticism relies on the notion of hegemonic masculinity — the idea that sports are mainly about men's violent domination.

"This was not what I saw, neither in my experience with athletes nor in the pages of the science fiction I was reading," he said. "Those science fiction stories certainly contained violence, but also highlighted the complex experiences of sport by athletes, which was also in many ways positive and constructive for their identities."

Thiess said he hoped his book would draw attention to the critical tendency to overlook embodied activities such as sport and contribute to an ongoing academic conversation.

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