Introduction to Science Fiction

L230 — Spring 2018

Ballantine Hall 232
Days and Times
9:30-10:45 TR
Course Description

This course offers an introduction to the analysis and appreciation of science fiction, or as it is sometimes called, the literature of cognitive estrangement. We will follow five units, usually featuring one novel, one film, and one theorist, each of which focuses on a topic of particular relevance to the genre: Cognitive Estrangement, Governmental Dystopia, Economic Dystopia, Cyberculture, and Time Travel. Along the way, we will explore such concepts as cognitive estrangement, speculative fiction, postmodernism, posthistoricism, posthumanity, and the uncanny. Special attention will be given, especially in light of the works by Moore, Atwood, Cuarn, Eggers, and Mitchell, to the critical concept of dystopia: the depiction of a fictional world marred by disharmony. My intention is to foster not only an understanding of such concepts and their implications for contemporary culture but also a love for what is surely one of the most imaginative of all literary genres. Required texts: Ursula Le Guin, Left Hand of Darkness Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas Dave Eggers, The Circle Alan Moore and David Lloyd, V for Vendetta Required Viewing: Alfonso Cuarn, Children of Men Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey Andrew Stanton, WALL-E Assignments will include three medium-length papers, in-class quizzes, as well as regular attendance and participation. Instructor: Jesse Molesworth

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