Naomi Mercer is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, a veteran of the Iraq War, and an assistant professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. She earned her doctorate in literary studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 and specializes in feminist dystopian and utopian writing. Mercer’s recently published book, Toward Utopia, explores critiques of religious fundamentalism in works of feminist science fiction, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Marge Piercey’s He, She and It, and Louise Marley’s The Terrorists of Irustan. Naomi is the current literature course director at West Point and organized Margaret Atwood’s visit to the academy in early February 2015 after the students had read The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood’s visit to a military academy in the context of The Handmaid’s Tale (a text in which a future US is in thrall to a repressive military regime in which women are relegated to the role of breeding stock) is remarkable as it highlights the significance of the text’s inclusion in the West Point literature syllabus. Following this Naomi agreed to an interview with Femspec, an opportunity I took to ask her about her own connection with feminist science fiction, the effect of Atwood’s visit on her students, and the role feminist science fiction can play in our lives.
About the Author
Femspec is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to challenging gender in science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, surrealism, myth, folklore and other supernatural genres. We have been in existence since 1999. See femspec.org. Our editorial board includes Suzanne Bellamy, William Clemente, Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger, Philipa Kafka, Sylvia Kelso, Lysa Rivera,, Gina Wisker and Kimberly Brown. Our production team offers internships, apprenticeship and associate experiences to early career participants, our talent scout is Gloria Orenstein; advisory board, Suzy Charnas, Diane DiPrima, Pamela Sargeant, Sheila Tobias, Constance Brereton; contributing editors are Marleen Barr, Samuel R., Delany and Darko Suvin. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe, donate, submit, and get involved. We are as of Mar. 23 2018 in search of contract and author proof manager, peer review coordinator, creative and media editors. We also need an advertising manager, grants writer, and fundraiser.