Genre: Science Fiction

English 271: Introduction to Literature: Genre,

Section 1, MWF 9:30-10:20, Kuy 302


Science Fiction


Instructor: John Rieder


The goals of the course are

  • to enjoy reading and discussing some excellent novels and short stories;
  • to help students improve their writing, particularly of essays focused on persuasion and analysis;
  • and to exercise our critical faculties by learning about the discipline and art of interpretation.


There will be some lectures, but most classes will be devoted to class discussion. Attendance and participation are mandatory.


Writing assignments:

  • four three-page essays
  • six one-page reaction papers
  • an in-class oral presentation
  • a final exam.


Reading list:

  • H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds
  • Karel Ĉapek, War with the Newts
  • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
  • Octavia Butler, Dawn
  • Samuel R. Delany, Babel-17
  • Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life”
  • Ruth Nestvold, “Looking Through Lace”
  • more short stories by Stanley Weinbaum, Alice Sheldon, Ursula Le Guin, William Gibson, and others
  • a selection of feature films possibly including The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Night of the Living Dead (1968), Alien (1979), Sleep Dealer (2008), Avatar (2009), Arrival (2016)