Intro to Lit: Creative Writing

Intro to Lit: Creative Writing – Creative Writing & Science Fiction.

Days/Time: MWF 10:30-11:20am
Room: KUY 406
CRN: 86358

“Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.”
– Isaac Asimov

“How Easy to See the Future”, Natural History magazine (April 1975)


There is nothing still nor stagnant about the world we inhabit. Everyday the world around us changes for better or for worse, and in the friction of change we may sometimes be left chafing, wondering if tomorrow will really be better than yesterday. We may ask ourselves how can we fix the fissures of the past that haunt us at present, and just how can we ensure the problems we have at present will not destroy our future.

The beauty of science fiction is that it allows us to imagine solutions and confront unfolding crisis. Science fiction is not just a genre that preoccupies itself with fantastical technology and outer space travel, but asks us to imagine the impacts of technology on both humanity and on the individual. Science fiction is a tool to help us imagine how change can be harnessed for our benefit, as well as how change can be weaponized against those we consider alien to ourselves.

This course will introduce students to the art of thinking about, reading, and writing short science fiction stories.  Throughout the semester students will be introduced to the elements of fiction (setting, plot, character, dialogue, symbolism, points of view, voice, theme, and more) and how they braid together to create a work of fiction. Students will discuss how issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, climate change, environment, governance, economics, and catastrophe play a role in the genre, as well as the different ways science fiction can approach these subjects.

We will be reading a few short stories in this course as well as responding to them via short reaction papers. With each short story we read, our aim will be to deepen and broaden our understanding of the structures, ethics, purposes, and pleasures this form of creative writing can offer, not just as scholars or writers, but as members of our respective communities. In addition to writing our own short stories (a process that includes drafting, in-class workshoping, and revisions), students will also learn how to engage with the various histories, politics, cultures, and expressions which are embedded in the form (via selected readings, short quizzes on literary terms/devices/content, writing short reaction papers and imaginative short stories, a midterm, and a final exam).


Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will augment their knowledge of how literature is organized by historical periods, genres, cultures, and cultural formations.
  • Students will improve their ability to ask questions of and to read, analyze, and interpret complex literary texts, using relevant literary terminology critically and creatively.
  • Students will improve their ability to express ideas by organizing, developing and supporting a description, analysis, or argument in written formats, within conventions of academic writing.
  • Students will produce a significant amount of writing such that the course fulfills the requirements of its mandatory W Focus designation (i.e. 4,000 words).