Course Instructor Days Times Room


This course considers science fiction not as a familiar set of plots (space travel, alien encounter, global disaster, etc.) but as a narrative mode with its own values and its own very distinct formal and aesthetic principles.  Early in the course we will master the concepts that define science fiction and look at some moments of its history.  Both the concepts and the history will stay with us for the rest of the course.  Most texts will be from the past half-century of science fiction in English, with roughly equal weight given to print fiction and to film.

Note: Students taking the course will be expected to watch the films on their own. 

Note:  Students should be aware that both the print texts and the films contain some depictions of violence, including sexual violence (as well as sexual content of many other kinds).  Please do not take this course if either your conscience, or any other factor, does not allow you to examine such material with energy and full critical attention.


Short essays will be assigned throughout the term.  A longer essay, which must interact in significant ways with criticism and theory, will be a major component of the final grade.  There may be the alternative of a final exam in place of the longer final essay.

Quizzes on both print texts and films will be constant.


See above.


Students will be allowed five absences.  Additional absences will damage the final grade; the more absences there are, the worse the damage will be.  If some absences are excused, the damage can be reduced but not erased.  Students should be aware that this policy is never altered, and that it has been the primary factor in drops and failures in previous terms.  Take this into consideration before deciding to register for the course.