Spring 2021 Undergraduate English Courses

358:254 Introduction to Science Fiction

01  09268   KURNICK   MW  2:50-4:10

This course is an introduction to the history of science fiction, from its emergence as a recognizable genre in the late nineteenth century to the present day. While there are plenty of recognized sci-fi “classics” (some of which we’ll read), the genre also challenges our conceptions of literary value, and we’ll be considering such issues as well as we read samples from the “pulp” magazines that were such fertile ground for the form throughout much of the twentieth century, as we think about how the genre has been taken up by mainstream writers, and as we investigate sci-fi’s central importance to radio and film. We’ll pay attention to how the speculative impulse in sci-fi allows narrative experiments in thinking about race, gender, sexuality, class, the family, and humans’ relations to animals, technology, the natural world, and climate catastrophe. Authors covered may include Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Ursula Le Guin, China Miéville, Nnedi Okorafor, Joanna Russ, Kim Stanley Robinson, James Tiptree, Jr., H.G. Wells.