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Science Fiction

ENGL 3205.301
W 5:15-8:15pm
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Science fiction as a genre is full of contradictions. It is seen as a literature specifically of Western, scientific, empirical culture, but it also resonates uniquely with marginalized experiences. It is denigrated as lowbrow and nonliterary while also being held up as the “literature of ideas.” It is a site of rich experimentation and also commercialization. In this class we will grapple with these contradictions as craftspeople, seeking to situate ourselves within the history of the genre in order to push our imaginations in new directions. We will focus on craft concepts particular to SF—worldbuilding, extrapolation, defamiliarization—as well as those more general to prose narratives—scene and structure, tension, pacing, voice, and point of view. We begin from the position that content is inseparable from aesthetic, that language is as important to the vitality of “genre” writing as to any other literary mode. Additionally, we will consider how SF has been shaped by the people both within its community (readers, fans) and without (literary gatekeepers, scientists, tech entrepreneurs). We will explore the idea of literary genres and labels as something porous, fluid, insufficient but also essential. Throughout the semester students will write in a variety of science fictional and speculative modes, seeking to answer the question: if science fiction is the narrative of the future, then how do we create the science fictions necessary to bring the world we want into being?

English Major Requirements
English Concentration Attributes
  • Creative Writing Workshop Course Minor (AECW)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes