Thesis Theater: Franny Moore-Kyle & John Costello

Signum University Thesis Theater
Join us on Monday, Monday, May 21, 8pm EDT for a Thesis Theater with Signum MA graduates Franny Moore-Kyle and John Costello.


Kristine Ainsworth Swank
Librarian; Preceptor; Lecturer


May 21, 2018 - 8:00 pm EDT


Join us on Monday, Monday, May 21, 8pm EDT for a Thesis Theater with Signum MA graduates Franny Moore-Kyle and John Costello, who will discuss their recently completed theses. Signum graduate and preceptor Kris Swank will lead the discussion.

About the Participants

Franny: Originally from Southern California, I’ve lived in Central Arkansas for more than 25 years. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and our three children are all grown. Currently have 8 cats and 18 chickens. My BA is from California State University, Fullerton, in History & English (1975). I started with Signum in Spring 2012 with Dr. Sturgis’s Harry Potter class. I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy since I was about 12, and have been active in conventions, filk singing and fan fiction in several fandoms. I also knit, crochet, cross stitch, needlepoint, bead…. and any other crafty thing that catches my attention (Look! Shiny!).

John: John began his career as a Naval Architect/Marine Engineer upon graduation from the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture in 1989. After working as a Naval Architect for six years while also performing IT Systems Management, he went on to work as a sales manager and later a marketing manager in the Aerospace industry.  Upon graduation from the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Law in 1999, John moved on to a corporate counsel role supporting businesses in the Aerospace and Defense Industry. John passed the patent bar in 2009 and has been working for ten years as the Managing Counsel for Intellectual Property and Technology for Laureate Education, a company which owns and manages a worldwide network of over 60 universities. He currently lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with his long-suffering wife, three boys aged 10-15, two dogs and two cats. All family members enjoy sailing, fishing, reading and some enjoy riding motorcycles while others are dead-set against the riding of said motorcycles.

Thesis Abstracts:

Franny: While the search for immortality has been part of Western Literature since Gilgamesh, it has only been in the post-Christian era (mid-20th century to present) that it has not been a spiritual quest. The characters of Lazarus Long, Duncan MacLeod, and Saint-Germain (from Robert A,. Heinlein, TV’s Highlander, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, respectively) are each immortal/long-lived in a different way, but show common character traits in their journeys through time and space. Looking at these characters and their stories, and seeing how they deal with cultural and social changes throughout their long lives gives insight into dealing with the escalating rate of change in the real world.

John: “Steampunk,” as a subgenre of speculative fiction, is a relatively recent literary phenomenon which posits an alternate version of history in which the path of human technological development veered into a world of steam-power rather than internal combustion during the Victorian Era.  Hallmarks of the genre include anachronistic technologies, Victorian aesthetics and architecture, and characters embodying the honor-bound morals of nineteenth century England.  Given the tribute Steampunk authors pay to this period, one would expect their stories to portray Victorian culture in a positive light. While some might view the political and social characteristics of the time in a retrogressive light, in fact Victorian England saw a rapid expansion in voting rights and governmental reform.  This took place at the same time that the world’s first industrial revolution was thrusting the English Empire well ahead of its competitors.  The English political system was one of the few in Europe that weathered these changes without falling into bloody revolution. On the other hand, the industrial revolution also left many in poverty, racism was prevalent and voting rights were not universal.  This thesis undertakes a study of preeminent Steampunk works over time to determine if they Victorian culture in a positive or negative light, and whether or not that depiction has changed over time based upon modern literary criticism.

Suggested Readings

From Franny:

  • Heinlein:
    • Methuselah’s Children
    • Time Enough for Love
    • The Number of the Beast 
    • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls 
    • To Sail Beyond the Sunset
  • Yarbro:
    • Hôtel Transylvania,
    • Blood Games
  • Highlander: The Series & Highlander: The Raven