Syllabus

The full syllabus is available here: syllabus.pdf.

Schedule

When blog entries are due, they are to be posted by 5 p.m. on Monday for credit; extra writing is always welcome any time you are inspired or find something you want to share with the class.

Tuesday, September 6. Introduction.

Friday, September 9. Scientific romance.

  • Wells, The Time Machine, complete.
  • Blogging prompt on The Time Machine and its publication media given in class.

(Monday, September 12). Blog entry due: groups 1 and 2.

Tuesday, September 13. Defining our terms.

  • Read all your classmates’ blog entries.
  • Wells, The Time Machine, continued.
  • Suvin, “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre.”
  • Rieder, “On Defining SF, or Not.”
  • Eliot and Nash, “Mass Markets: Literature,” 416–29.

Friday, September 16. Utopia.

  • Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, “Sultana’s Dream.”
  • Begin reading Zamyatin, We for next week.

(Monday, September 19.) Blog entry due: group 1.

Tuesday, September 20. Dystopia.

  • Zamyatin, We, Records 1–15.
  • Le Guin, “The Stalin in the Soul.”

Friday, September 23. Utopia/dystopia.

(Monday, September 26.) Blog entry due: group 2.

Tuesday, September 27. SF Institutions: Early pulps.

  • Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories. Guided exploration of digitizations from the Pulp Magazines Project (pulpmags.org). Readings include:
    • Poe, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.”
    • Wertenbaker, “The Man From the Atom.”
    • Gernsback, “Fiction versus Facts.”
    • Stone, “The Conquest of Gola.”

Friday, September 30. Seriously weird.

  • Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu.” Focus particularly on this story.
  • Lovecraft, “The Colour Out of Space.”
  • Wilson, “Tales of the Marvellous and the Ridiculous.”
  • Miéville, introduction to At the Mountains of Madness.

(Monday, October 3.) Blog entry due: group 1.

Tuesday, October 4. Seriously technical.

  • Asimov, Foundation, parts 1–3.
  • Astounding Science-Fiction 21, no. 6 (guided exploration).

Friday, October 7. Engineering society.

  • Asimov, Foundation, complete.
  • Luckhurst, Science Fiction, 66–75.

(Monday, October 10.) Blog entry due: group 2.

Tuesday, October 11. SF and mode.

  • Leiber, “The Big Time,” pt. 1. Pay attention to the periodical context. Use the bibliographic information below to locate this story in the Internet Archive’s digitized run of Galaxy.
  • Optional: Pohl, “The Snowmen.”

(Thursday, October 13.) Short paper due.

Friday, October 14. SF consecration.

  • Leiber, “The Big Time,” pt. 2.
  • Selected material on the Hugo awards, conventions, and organizations.
  • The Big Time in the Library of America: read Neil Gaiman’s note on the novel in sciencefiction.loa.org/appreciation/gaiman.php; the remaining material, including the other Leiber Change War stories and radio adaptations, is fascinating but optional.

Tuesday, October 18. Genre reform.

  • Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, chaps. 1–7.
  • Le Guin, “American SF and the Other.”

Friday, October 21.

  • Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, chaps. 1–14.
  • Ellison, introduction to Dangerous Visions.

(Monday, October 24.) Blog entry due: group 1.

Tuesday, October 25. Second thoughts.

  • Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, complete.
  • Le Guin, “Is Gender Necessary?”

Friday, October 28.

  • Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness.
  • Jameson, “World Reduction in Le Guin.”
  • Final paper assignment distributed.

(Monday, October 31.) Blog entry due: group 2.

  • Last day to withdraw from the course with a “W.”

Tuesday, November 1. SF and suspicious reading.

  • Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, chaps. 1–12.

Friday, November 4.

  • Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, complete.

(Monday, November 7.) Blog entry due: group 1.

Tuesday, November 8. Adaptation.

  • Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, continued.
  • Scott, Blade Runner. Watch the whole film.

Friday, November 11. What good is all this…?

  • Butler, “Bloodchild.”
  • Butler, “Positive Obsession.”

(Monday, November 14.) Blog entry due: group 2.

Tuesday, November 15. Utopia/dystopia again.

  • Butler, “Speech Sounds.”
  • Butler, “The Book of Martha.”

(Friday, November 18. Class cancelled.)

(Monday, November 21.) Final paper proposal due.

  • No required blogging.

(Tuesday, November 22. Thursday schedule: no class.)

Wednesday, November 23. (Friday schedule.) A new brand.

  • Gibson, Neuromancer, complete.

(Thursday, November 24. Thanksgiving recess.)

(Monday, November 28.) Blog entry due: group 1.

Tuesday, November 29.

  • Gibson, Neuromancer.
  • Gibson, “Time Machine Cuba.”
  • Gibson, “Will We Plug Computers into our Brains?”
  • Optional: Gibson, “The Art of Fiction no. 211.”

Friday, December 2. SF and the globe.

  • Okorafor, Lagoon, Act I (chaps. 1–25).

(Monday, December 5.) Two draft pages due.

  • No required blogging.

Tuesday, December 6.

  • Okorafor, Lagoon, through Act II (chaps. 1–42).
  • Paper workshop.

(Thursday, December 8.)

  • Final paper draft due. Comments will be returned to you by Monday.

Friday, December 9.

  • Okorafor, Lagoon, continued.
  • Blomkamp, District 9. Watch the whole film.

(Monday, December 12.) Blog entry due: group 2.

Tuesday, December 13. Ecology, media ecology.

  • Okorafor, Lagoon, complete, including all paratexts.

(December 16–23. Exam period.)

Thursday, December 22. Final paper due at 11 a.m.

Readings

  • Asimov, Isaac. Foundation. 1951. New York: Bantam, 1991. isbn: 9780553293357. Other versions are fine. There are many prequels and sequels, not all by Asimov; we are only reading this first book together.

  • Blomkamp, Neill, dir. District 9. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2009. Available as streaming video on Sakai.

  • Butler, Octavia E. “Bloodchild.” In Bloodchild and Other Stories, 1–30.

  • _________. Bloodchild and Other Stories. 2nd ed. New York: Seven Stories, 2005. isbn: 9781583226988.

  • _________. “Positive Obsession.” In Bloodchild and Other Stories, 123–35.

  • _________. “Speech Sounds.” In Bloodchild and Other Stories, 87–108.

  • _________. “The Book of Martha.” In Bloodchild and Other Stories, 189–214.

  • Campbell, John W., ed. Astounding Science-Fiction 21, no. 6 (August 1938). http://www.pulpmags.org/PDFs/AS_1938_08.pdf.

  • Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1968. New York: Del Rey, 1996. isbn: 9780345404473. Alternative editions are fine. The identical text is also found as a movie tie-in under the title Blade Runner.

  • Eliot, Simon, and Andrew Nash. “Mass Markets: Literature.” Chap. 11 in 1830–1914, vol. 6 of The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, edited by David McKitterick. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521866248.013.

  • Ellison, Harlan. Introduction to Dangerous Visions. New York: Doubleday, 1967. Available on Sakai.

  • Gernsback, Hugo, ed. Amazing Stories 1, no. 1 (April 1926). http://www.pulpmags.org/PDFs/Amazing%20Stories%20April%201926.pdf.

  • _________, ed. Amazing Stories 1, no. 2 (May 1926). http://www.pulpmags.org/PDFs/Amazing%20Stories%20May%201926.pdf.

  • _________. “Fiction versus Facts.” Amazing Stories 1, no. 4 (July 1926): 291. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project.

  • Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace / Penguin, 1986. isbn: 9780441569595. Other editions are fine.

  • _________. “The Art of Fiction no. 211.” Interview by David Wallace-Wells. Paris Review 197 (Summer 2011). http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6089/the-art-of-fiction-no-211-william-gibson.

  • _________. “Time Machine Cuba.” In Distrust That Particular Flavor, 201–9. New York: Putnam, 2012. Online on Sakai.

  • _________. “Will We Plug Computers into our Brains?” Time International 155, no. 25 (June 19, 2000): 54. https://login.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=3223357&site=ehost-live. Online via RU library.

  • Jameson, Fredric. “World Reduction in Le Guin.” In Archaeologies of the Future, 267–80. London: Verso, 2005. Available on Sakai.

  • Le Guin, Ursula K. “American SF and the Other.” Science Fiction Studies 2, no. 3 (November 1975): 208–210. JSTOR: 4238969.

  • _________. “Is Gender Necessary?” In The Language of the Night, 161–69. Available on Sakai.

  • _________. The Language of the Night. Edited by Susan Wood. New York: Putnam, 1979. See assigned excerpts.

  • _________. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Ace, 1969. isbn: 9780441478125.

  • _________. “The Stalin in the Soul.” In The Language of the Night, 211–221. Available on Sakai.

  • Leiber, Fritz. “The Big Time.” Pt. 1. Galaxy 15, no. 5 (March 1958): 6–57. Available via the Internet Archive’s Magazine Rack: https://archive.org/details/galaxymagazine.

  • _________. “The Big Time.” Pt. 2. Galaxy 15, no. 6 (April 1958): 98–144.

  • Lovecraft, H. P. “The Call of Cthulhu.” In The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, 139–69. Other collections of Lovecraft should be fine if they include the two stories we are reading. There is a very nice omnibus from the Library of America.

  • _________. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. Edited by S. T. Joshi. New York: Penguin, 1999. isbn: 9780141182346. Other collections of Lovecraft should be fine if they include the two stories we are reading. There is a very nice omnibus from the Library of America.

  • _________. “The Colour Out of Space.” In The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, 170–99. Other collections of Lovecraft should be fine if they include the two stories we are reading. There is a very nice omnibus from the Library of America.

  • Luckhurst, Roger. Science Fiction. Cambridge: Polity, 2005. Recommended. On reserve at Alexander.

  • Miéville, China. Introduction to At the Mountains of Madness, by H. P. Lovecraft. New York: Modern Library, 2005. Available on Sakai.

  • Okorafor, Nnedi. Lagoon. New York: Saga, 2014. isbn: 9781481440882.

  • Parrinder, Patrick. “Imagining the Future: Zamyatin and Wells.” Science Fiction Studies 1, no. 1 (Spring 1973): 17–26. JSTOR: 4238838.

  • Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.” Amazing Stories 1, no. 1 (April 1926): 92–96. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project.

  • Pohl, Frederik. “The Snowmen.” Galaxy 18, no. 2, 141–49. Optional. Available via the Internet Archive.

  • Rieder, John. “On Defining SF, or Not: Genre Theory, SF, and History.” Science Fiction Studies 37, no. 2 (July 2010): 191–209. JSTOR: 25746406.

  • Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain. “Sultana’s Dream.” http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/sultana/dream/dream.html. Print alternative recommended.

  • _________. “Sultana’s Dream.” In “Sultana’s Dream: A Feminist Utopia” and Selections from The Secluded Ones. 1905. New York: Feminist Press, 1988. isbn: 9780935312836. Online alternative available.

  • Scott, Ridley, dir. Blade Runner. Director’s cut. 1982. Warner Home Video, 2007. DVD available at the Douglass Media Center.

  • Stone, Leslie F. “The Conquest of Gola.” Wonder Stories 2, no. 11 (April 1931): 1278–87. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project.

  • Suvin, Darko. “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre.” College English 34, no. 3 (December 1972): 372–82. JSTOR: 375141.

  • Wells, H. G. The Time Machine: An Invention. New York: Henry Holt, 1895. Internet Archive. https://archive.org/stream/timemachineinven00well. Print alternative recommended.

  • _________. The Time Machine. 1895. New York: Dover, 1995. isbn: 9780486284729. Online alternative available. Other print editions are fine. Penguin and Broadview have versions with notes and other supplements for students.

  • Wertenbaker, G. Peyton. “The Man From the Atom.” Pt. 1. Amazing Stories 1, no. 1 (April 1926): 62–66. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project. The sequel, in the subsequent Amazing issue, is optional.

  • Wilson, Edmund. “Tales of the Marvellous and the Ridiculous.” New Yorker, November 24, 1945. Available on Sakai.

  • Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We. Translated by Clarence Brown. 1924. New York: Penguin, 1993. isbn: 9780140185850. Required edition. Other translations will not work for this class.