English 173 - Fall, 2017

Science Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Jerng, Mark
CRN: 62670
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 106 Olson


    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, and short stories from the mid-twentieth century to the present in order to interrogate three main dimensions of world-making: stories of colonization; alternate histories; and stories of transformed life-worlds. Topics and themes include: the ethical dimensions of the alien encounter; social reproduction; history and the transmission of meaning; the reproduction and regulation of “life.” We will read novels by Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Nnedi Okorafor; short stories or novellas by Greg Bear, Ray Bradbury, Ted Chiang, Samuel Delany, Nalo Hopkinson, Ken Liu, and Nisi Shawl.


    Blog posts
    Two papers
    Final Exam


    Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
    Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
    Lillith's Brood, Octavia Butler
    The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick