In this course we will examine a selection of science fiction short stories and novels that give us some sense of the preoccupations and explorations of SF over time. We will be considering the following questions: What is SF? How has SF changed as a genre? How has SF impacted the world outside its borders? How does SF negotiate social issues such as race, gender, and sexuality? We’ll start with looking at selections from The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction and continue into sf of the 1950s “Golden Age,” then turn our attention towards the appearance of larger social issues such as race, gender, culture, consumerism, and the mediation of technology and privacy, before finishing with a look ahead at how the future is currently being imagined. Throughout we will reflect on how SF has been shaped by and shapes its genre and (our understandings of) its history.
2 short critical reading papers, 1 literary analysis paper, 1 portfolio, 1 presentation, a midterm, and a final exam
Selections from The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction
Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Joanna Russ’ The Female Man