What is BSFG? How do I join?

The Bonn Speculative Fiction Group (BSFG) was formed on April 9, 2019 when more than 45 students signed up for the reading group. It now has more than 130 members. Thank you for making this happen! 🙂 Meetings take place once a month, books are announced via email and this blog. I will make tea for everyone, you bring the cookies! During the pandemic, we meet using our very own Discord Server and its voice chat!

Reading speculative fiction is more than an escapist past-time: when reading fantasy or science fiction one does not only encounter “strange new worlds, new life and new civilization” but one also learns a lot about (for example) our world, different cultures, ideas, mythologies, the human nature and thus ourselves. The power of speculative fiction should not be underestimated as it can change the way we see things. It also gives us pleasure. Yet, we sometimes forget to read for pleasure and not just for a term paper or a final exam… Let’s change that!

Reading for pleasure can not only be rewarding for you personally, but also academically: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”(Dumbledore). Let us reclaim our pleasure for reading which made us study literatures in the first place… However, academic topics (such as queer, feminist, indigenous or postcolonial issues) might find their way into our discussions as speculative fiction can incorporate numerous topics and enable minorities or (formerly) oppressed groups to (re)gain their voices. (Great term paper topics!)

“Dragons are more dangerous, and a good deal commoner, than bears. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel safe.” (Ursula K. Le Guin) There might be dragons, queer love, adult themes, indigenous heroes and feminist topics, so beware!

Books will be selected by Marthe-Siobhán Hecke (M.A., M.Ed.), a ravenous reader of unhealthy amounts of books and an enthusiastic PhD student and lecturer at the Department of English, American and Celtic Studies at the University of Bonn. She would love to introduce you to some old and new speculative fiction, such as fantasy, sci-fi, utopian or dystopian literature – literature that does things differently. Discussions will take place via Discord & at the meetings – in English. Never fret if you are not an English Studies Student, your English will be enough and this is a great way to practise!

Your wishes & recommendations are also taken into account. Feel free to stalk Marthe’s Goodreads Account & add her as a friend!

Interested? You can join at any time! If you want to sign up for the reading group, please write an e-mail to mshecke[@]uni-bonn.de