ENG 255 Science Fiction


What if? This is the premise for science fiction. Using elements of the worlds they now, authors use science fiction to create new worlds and speculate on future worlds. As a result, science fiction often tells us something about the present. Whether they re-imagine classic plots or invent new one, science fiction authors encourage different ways of looking at the world. This course will explore how science fiction blends science and imagination.


Evans, Arthur B. et al. The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction.

Plus the following articles:

Broderick, Mick. “Surviving Armageddon: Beyond the Imagination of Disaster.” Science Fiction Studies 20.3 (1993): 362-382.

Miller, Cynthia J. and A. Bowdoin Van Riper. “Blending Genres, Bending Time: Steampunk on the Western Frontier.” Journal of Popular Film and Television. 39:2 (2011): 84-92.

Tymn, Marshall. “Science Fiction: A Brief History and Review of Criticism.” American Studies International 23.1 (1985): 41-66.

Williams, Douglas E. “Ideology as Dystopia: An Interpretation of ‘Blade Runner.’” International Political Science Review 9.4 (1988): 381-394.


Discussion Prompt: This assignment allows students an opportunity to engage in critical reading and contribute to class discussion. On a rotating basis, students will post discussions prompts, which include a quote from the day’s reading and a discussion question, to a designated Forum in Moodle. Students will also be responsible for posting group work based on the discussion of their question to Moodle. Students should be prepared to read their passage and explain why they chose it in class.

Process Assignments: Process assignments allow students to hone their critical analysis skills through practice. They include submission of group work based on class discussion and other in-class activities. These assignments provide an opportunity for students to interpret a variety of “texts.”

Tests: The tests will be open-book and open note, and require answers that are supported by evidence from the text.  These tests provide an opportunity for students to analyze texts through close reading and understand recurrent themes in science fiction literature.

Digital Project: Students will create an essay in Prezi, a web presentation tool. Students will devise a topic of their own choice, but the project must include at least one novel, two films and three short stories (of which only one cane be a short story covered in class).  The Prezi essay includes visuals and text.  The proposal and timeline assignment provides students with the opportunity to understand recurrent themes in science fiction literature and interpret a variety of texts using primary and secondary sources.

Proposal: Students will write a proposal (thesis paragraph + annotated bibliography) that explains the argument and explains the sources.

Poster: Students will create an infographic of their Prezi essay using Piktochart. This assignment provides students with the opportunity to synthesize their interpretation of a variety of texts. Students will present these to the class during the designated final exam period.

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