Amazing Stories–Science Fiction

Instructor: Lavelle Porter
Wednesdays, 1:00 PM – 3:40 PM
Modality: Hybrid Synchronous
Macaulay Classroom 2 (204)
Course Code: MHC 333

For most people today, Science Fiction is a term which usually applies to the movies. But we’re going to be considering Science Fiction as a literary genre (although we will be seeing a few films). We’re going to be looking at the place of Science Fiction in literature, and the literature in Science Fiction…but we’ll also be talking and thinking about Science Fiction’s place and role in popular culture. We’ll also look at connections between science and science fiction, and how the two feed on (and challenge and distress) each other. We’ll want to see how and why science fiction has become, in the words of author Thomas Disch, “the dreams our stuff is made of.”

If the visions of science fiction are visions of our universe, we’ll want to see what shapes and informs those visions, and how the different universes science fiction explores fit into (or become) our own universe.

The themes we’ll explore may include:

  • Time Travel
  • Alien Invasion/Contact
  • Biological/Genetic Manipulation
  • Cyberpunk
  • Alternative History
  • Space Opera/Future War
  • Post-Apocalypse
  • Utopia/Dystopia

This course will focus on the literary history of science fiction, mostly, but not exclusively, in the United States.

In Person Meetings for Hybrid Courses:
8/28, 9/4, 9/11, 9/18, 9/25, 11/13, 11/20, 12/4, 12/11

This is a ZTC (zero textbook cost) course.

Possible readings include: 

  • Mary Shelley. Frankenstein
  • E. M. Forster, “The Machine Stops”
  • Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” 
  • Ursula K. LeGuin,” The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
  • Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, and Gomorrah” 
  • Octavia E. Butler, “Speech Sounds””

Interested in this course? Please contact your advisor.

Dr. Lavelle Porter

Lavelle Porter
Distinguished Lecturer

Macaulay Honors College
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