Academic Catalog

ENGL 37: SCIENCE FICTION LITERATURE: REIMAGINEERING REALITY

Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Compare/contrast similar tropes, forms, or themes across cultures/history
  • Apply basic literary terminologies, theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature and art.

Description

Introduction to the evolution of science fiction, emphasizing analysis of literature and artwork in or after the age of reason, exploring how new scientific insights and technologies hypothetically shape reality through: poems, short stories, novels, plays, film, comics, paintings, or other artistic expressions. Examine how the history and evolution of this distinct literary field has inspired many different modes of art and genres of literature. Because this form of storytelling is used by artists all over the world to express the human condition and specific socio-cultural insight, the course inspires world-wide cross cultural awareness.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Situate the rise of science fiction art--paintings, visual texts, novels, short stories, poems, films, and plays--in global, historical, and literary contexts.
B. Apply basic literary terminologies, theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature and art.
C. Appraise the value, cross-cultural significance, and meaning of science fiction as a growing field of artistic expression, especially through its literary manifestations.

Course Content

A. Situate the rise of science fiction art--paintings, visual texts, novels, short stories, poems, and plays--in global, historical, and literary contexts
1. History of science fiction, early tropes and themes
a. Narrative hints before the genre
b. Arrival in Enlightenment/Age of Reason, confronting religious paradigms
c. Images of technology: fire to iPhones, wheel to warpdrive
2. Defining science fiction
a. Broader than a genre: a field
b. Consider many definitions of field and sub genres, such as hard/soft sci-fi, cyberpunk, dystopia, futuristic, space exploration, space opera, (post) apocalyptic, climate fiction, feminist sci-fi, superhuman, steampunk, biopunk, time travel, sci-fi poetry & music, alternate history, Kaiju, etc.
3. Variety of forms and emerging forms
a. Age of Reason and early narratives in science fiction (19th-20th century)
b. Art forms: painting, literature, poetry, etc.
c. Comics
d. Film: consider rise of film as artistic representation of the many tropes of sci-fi
B. Apply basic literary terminologies, theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature and art
1. Application of literary theory to science fiction
2. Modern Criticism: New Critical and Structural criticism
a. Plot, theme, structures
b. Imagery, symbol, metaphor
3. Post-Modern Criticism, such as Deconstruction, Feminist, Post-colonialism, Marxist, Psychoanalytical, and other literary theory
a. Multiplicity of meanings through different lenses appropriate to textual/visual analysis
4. Visual analysis (film/art/comics)
a. Composition, contrast, point of view, framing, sound, music
b. Compare literature meaning making to film
5. Genre analysis, such as hard/soft sci-fi, cyber/biopunk, time travel, alternate history, (post) apocalyptic, space exploration, social science fiction, climate fiction
C. Appraise the value, cross-cultural significance, and meaning of science fiction as art in various times and places
1. Critique and analyze science fiction narratives across cultures
2. Separate content/form in cultural settings
3. Socio-cultural issues addressed through science fiction
4. Compare/contrast similar tropes, forms, or themes across cultures/history

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

Access to internet when offered online.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. At least two critical papers and/or essay exams.
B. Quizzes, journals, midterm, oral reports, and/or final exam.
C. Participation in classroom discussion.

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture
B. Discussion
C. Small group activities

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

The following is a list of potential texts used for this course:



Roberts, A. The History of Science Fiction. Palgrave, 2007.

Vint, Sherryl. Science Fiction: A Guide for the Perplexed. Bloomsbury, 2014.

Seed, David. Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford Press, 2011.

Imarisha, Walidah. Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements. AK Press, 2015.

James, Edward, and Farah Mendlesohn, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. Cambridge, 2003.

Evans, Arthur B., Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger, and Rob Latham, eds. The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction. Wesleyan, 2010.

VanderMeer, Jeff, ed. The Big Book of Science Fiction. Vintage, 2016.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. (1818). Norton, 2015.

Asimov, Isaac. The Caves of Steel. Spectra, 1991.

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Anchor, 1998.

Banks, Iain M. Consider Phlebas. Orbit, 2003.

Bear, Greg. Darwin's Radio. Ballantine, 2000.

Benford, Gregory. Timescape. Spectra, 1992.

Bester, Alfred. The Demolished Man. Vintage, 1996.

Brunner, John. Stand on Zanzibar. Gollancz, 1999.

Butler, Octavia. Dawn. Aspect, 1997.

Capek, Karel. R.U.R (Rossum Universal Robots). Penguin, 2004.

Clarke, Arthur C. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Roc, 2000.

Clement, Hal. Mission of Gravity. Gollancz, 2000.

Dick, Philip K. The Man in the High Castle. Vintage, 1992.

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. Ace, 1984.

Gunn, James. The Listeners. BenBella, 2003.

Heinlein, Robert A. The Puppet Masters. Del Rey, 1986.

Herbert, Frank. Dune. Ace, 1990.

Le Guin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness. Ace, 1987.

Lui, Ken. The Wall of Storms. 2016.

Mieville, China. Perdido Street Station. Del Rey, 2003.

Pohl, Frederik. Gateway. Del Rey, 2004.

Stross, Charles. Accelerando. Ace, 2006.

Sturgeon, Theodore. More than Human. Vintage, 1998.

Vance, Jack. The Languages of Pao. 2004.

Vonnegut, Kurt. The Sirens of Titan. Dial Press, 1998.

van Vogt, A. E. The World of Null-A. Orb, 2002.

Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. Tor, 1992.

Russ, Joanna. The Female Man. Beacon, 2000.

Casares, Adolfo Bioy. The Invention of Morel. NYRB, 2003.



Poetry Anthologies:

Dutcher, Roger, and Mike Allen, eds. The Alchemy of the Stars. SFPA, 2005.

Frazier, Robert, ed. Burning with a Vision. Owlswick, 1984.

 

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Writing Assignments:

1. Compare/contrast two sci-fi narratives in two distinct forms, to examine how the art form evokes meaning in reader across forms and cultures.

2. In what ways does science fiction re-imagine reality for us?

3. What philosophical question does the sci-fi literature propose to the reader through the text?

 

Discipline(s)

English