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Science and Fiction

ENGL 075.920
TR 11am-2:50pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Sector III: Arts & Letters of the College's General Education Curriculum

 This class will consider the science fiction novel and story as developing genres.  We will read work on the origins of the form, where science blurs with that fantastic. We will consider the alien as trope, both benevolent and ferocious, as well as science as practiced by humans itself escaping our control.  We will read writers such as H. G. Wells, Stanislaw Lem, Arthur C. Clark, and Kim Stanley Robinson. We will read authors from a number of cultures beyond the U.S.,  and we will as well read examples of science fiction used as a device to imagine other ways of human being, embodiment, sexuality, and gender, such as in the work of Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, and Ursula Le Guin. And we will study the way the genre allows us to imagine and work through fears and new ideas about ourselves. Students will gain a sense of the development of the literary genre and narrative as well as exposure to the mutant discourse that strains of scientific forecasting and less linear narrative create. Students will complete assignments including two short papers and will contribute to classroom discussion.