English 173 - Summer Sessions I, 2020

Science Fiction (Cross-listed with STS)

Class Information

Instructor: Ziser, Michael
CRN: 53735
Time: TWR 10:00-11:40


    Are you a hardcore SF aficionado with a desire to learn more about the roots of your favorite genre? Or perhaps a literature lover willing to overcome your SF skepticism and test your reading powers on genre fiction? Or maybe just an innocent bystander curious what all the fuss is about? Whatever your previous experience with and preconceptions about science fiction, this course is designed to deepen your understanding of this influential literary form. Making our way through a pair of short-fiction anthologies and a critical collection, we will attend to the history and development of science fiction as literary tradition from its murky and multiple beginnings through its golden age and on down to the present. The emphasis will be on a broad understanding of the literary and cultural issues SF has raised over time, and on exploring as many different authors, periods, and subgenres as time allows. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to confidently navigate the huge SF megatext we are all swimming in.

    In accordance with the UCD campus shutdown, this course will be delivered entirely online. The focus will be on individual reading and written discussion. Recorded lectures will be made available through Canvas for asynchronous consumption ahead of synchronous online Q&A sessions. Prospective students should be prepared to participate in these synchronous virtual sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10-11:40am (probably not the entire 100 minutes). The class will not meet on Wednesday.


    weekly short writing: 30%
    critical short assignments: 15%
    fan fiction (5pp): 15%
    personalized syllabus: 15%
    choose-your-own-novel analysis (8pp): 25%


    The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction , James and Mendlesohn
    The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1: 1920-1964 , Silverberg
    Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction , Evans et al