The artist deals with what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words. --Ursula Le Guin
Literature is a way to think. Good literature can help us wrestle with some of the most intractable, often unconscious or unacknowledged, issues of its moment and ours. The novels in this course do so by imagining alien worlds with distinctive and strange ecologies. Through the imagined Mars of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, the evolutionary mystery of Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead, and the waterworld of Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean, we will explore the interrelations between gender, colonialism, language and ecology. Student will have an opportunity to write their own ecological speculative fiction. And we will read two of the best science fiction novels of all time—Frank Herbert’s Dune and Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness—which helped launch a “new wave” of science fiction, more political, more psychological, and more literary.