You’ll be reviewing the BBC radio play “Houston, Houston, Do You Read.” (1990) The radio play is based on a novella (a short novel) of the same name, written by James Tiptree Jr. (1976), and the short story is based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian novel Herland (1915).
Write a review of the radio play for the FIU Libraries Newsletter that acknowledges the radio play’s source material.
Listen again to the BBC radio play “Houston, Houston, Do You Read.” (1990). You may need to do this several times as you plan your review. You’ll be writing a review of the radio play for the FIU Libraries Newsletter that acknowledges the radio play’s source material – and gets readers interested in the radio play.
This doesn’t mean you must “sell” the radio play as wonderful. Even if the radio play is deeply flawed, it may still have value for readers who are interested in the history of utopian thought; and it may shed light on other important issues in our nation’s social imagination. Step 3
Outline your review. You may want to read a few movie or television reviews. Here is a review from Vox media about the new HBO series Lovecraft Country Links to an external site.. The show is based on a novel by Matt Russ with the same name, and the novel is based on a collection of stories and novels by writer H.G. Lovecraft. Notice that most effective reviews do these things:
Assume that the reader needs background and context. You’ll want to discuss the source material for the work under review. In this case, to give the reader context for the BBC radio play “Houston, Houston, Do You Read.” (1990), you’ll need to explain a bit about Herland and Tiptree’s ““Houston, Houston, Do You Read.” You may want to do some research (Wikipedia is fine) and provide biographical sketches Tiptree and Gilman.
Share a brief spoiler-free summary. You may want to summarize both Herland (1915) and “Houston, Houston, Do You Read.” (1990). You may compare the 1976 novella to the 1990 radio play adaptation.
Analyze the work being reviewed. After you feel that you yourself fully (or mostly) understand the radio play, you can start its analysis. Critically evaluate the film from the beginning to the end, noting every detail. You may answer these questions:
1. What were the producers of the radio play trying to do?
2. Entertain, make an argument, be faithful to Gilman’s or Tiptree’s ideas, or something else?
3. Did they succeed, in your opinion?
4. Does the radio play differ from Herland in important ways?
5. What do you think of using technology in the radio play, especially genetics?
6. Do the women astronauts in “Houston, Houston” come from a utopia?
Strengthen the review with examples. Your observations should be supported with examples, i.e., mention scenes the event took place. If you feel that the radio play is unfair to men, then provide proof by discussing different scenes when this unfairness is most obvious to you. If you find the radio play creepy or hopeful or realistic or whatever – connect your observation and opinion to something specific that happens (or notably doesn’t happen) in the radio play.
FYI: Enumerate the answers to Step 3 questions. 1-6 (Instructions attached also)