This course will explore the emergence of modern science fiction as a genre, the ways it has reflected our evolving conceptions of ourselves and the universe, and its role as the mythology of modern technological civilization. We will discuss such characteristic themes as utopias, the exploration of space and time, biological engineering, superman, robots, aliens, and other worlds—and the differences between European and American treatment of these themes. The course is structured chronologically and thematically around a series of classic SF novels (available for purchase at the Penn Book Center). Monday and Wednesday lectures will set the novels in historical, scientific, and thematic context. Friday sections will provide the opportunity for in-depth comparative discussion of the week’s readings.
Jules Verne, From Earth To Moon (1863).
H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895), War of the Worlds (1898).
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Princess of Mars (1912)
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men (1930).
C. S. Lewis, Out Of The Silent Planet (1938).
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932).
Robert A. Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon (1947).
Eugene Zamiatin, We (1926).
George Orwell, 1984 (1948).
Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End (1953), The City and the Stars (1956).
Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1951), Caves of Steel (1954).
Robert A. Heinlein, Red Planet (1949), The Door Into Summer (1956), The Moon Is a
Harsh Mistress (1966).
Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959).
Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan (1959), Cat’s Cradle (1961).
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962).
Frank Herbert, Dune (1965).