English 173 - Summer Sessions II, 2015

Science Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Jerng, Mark
CRN: 71401
Time: TWR 4:10-5:50
Location: 1130 Hart


    Science fiction engages its readers in the cognitive and poetic processes of “world-making.” As Samuel Delany writes, “The reader of the SF story must create a new world that operates by new laws for each new SF story read.” This demand to “create a new world” significantly revises core notions about the physical body and the material world, the place of humanity, the environment, as well as the political and social organization of worlds. This course will take up various science fiction novels, novellas, short stories, and film from the late nineteenth century to the present in order to interrogate three main dimensions of world-making: biological worlds; imperial worlds; and technological worlds. Topics to be addressed include: the relationship between race and biological discourse of species; what constitutes the human; the social organization of human kinds; the geopolitical organization of states and subjects; how bodily differences are reconfigured in cyberspace. We will read novels by Octavia Butler, Neal Stephenson, and Kazuo Ishiguro; and short stories or novellas by Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, Samuel Delany, Greg Bear, Ted Chiang, and James Tiptree, Jr., (aka Alice Sheldon).


    Participation 10%
    Blogpost #1 15%
    Paper #1 20%
    Blogpost #2 15%
    Paper #2 20%
    Final Exam 20%


    Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
    Lilith\'s Brood, Octavia Butler
    Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson