English 192—Science Fiction

Instructor: James H. Donelan
Tuesday, Thursday in South Hall 2635
Office Hours: Wednesday, 11:00-12:00; Thursday, 11:00-12:00
Office: Girvetz 1319
 Email: donelan@writing.ucsb.edu
Web Site: http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/donelan
Course Description

We will examine representative works of science fiction in short stories, novels, and films, beginning with some nineteenth-century prototypes and continuing with an exploration of its major themes and genres in the twentieth century. Authors read will include: Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick.


Shelley, Frankenstein
Wells, The Time Machine
Le Guin and Attebery, eds. The Norton Book of Science Fiction
Asimov, I, Robot 
Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness 
Gibson, Burning Chrome
The books are at the UCSB Bookstore.


Gilliam, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Lang, Metropolis
Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Scott, Bladerunner
Gilliam, 12 Monkeys
If you cannot attend the scheduled film showings, you can rent or purchase the DVDs or view them on reserve in Kerr Hall. Film showings are in boldface on the syllabus.

The course requires two papers, a midterm, and a final examination, in addition to regular attendance and active participation in discussions.


I: The Origins of Science Fiction: Mad Scientists and Visions of the Future
4/3 Introduction and Logistics
4/5 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein 

4/10 Shelley, Frankenstein, continued.

4/11 Gilliam, Baron Munchausen

4/12 Gilliam, Baron Munchausen. Discussion.

4/17 H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
4/18 Fritz Lang, Metropolis

4/19 Lang, Metropolis. Discussion.

4/20 First Paper Due


II: Cold War Nightmares: Strange Creatures and Ecological Disasters

4/24 Science Fiction Films and the Cold War; Willis, “Schwarzchild Radius”
4/26 Midterm

5/1 Bear, “Schrödinger’s Plague,” Sargeant, “Gather Blue Roses,” Kessel, “Invaders”

5/3 Walthrop, “…The World, as We Know’t,” Delany, “High Weir,” Emschwiller, “The Start of the End of It All.” Discussion.

III: The Future of Gender

5/8 Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness 
5/10 Le Guin. Discussion.

5/15 Pohl, “Day Million,” Elgin, “For the Sake of Grace”
5/17 Tiptree, “The Women Men Don’t See,” Butler, “Speech Sounds.” Discussion.

IV: Machines Run Amok: Computers and Androids

5/22 The Star Trek Phenomenon, Part I: The Borg (no reading); Silverberg, “Good News from the Vatican,”
5/23 Bladerunner
5/24 Bladerunner; I Robot stories, "Runaround," "Reason," and "Evidence"
5/25 Second paper due.

5/29 Smith, “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” Fowler, “The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things” Discussion.


V: The Future and the Problem of Memory
5/31 The Star Trek Phenomenon, Part II: All Good Things…(no reading) Gibson, “Burning Chrome”

6/5 Gibson, “Johnny Mnemonic”
6/6 12 Monkeys
6/7 Gilliam, 12 Monkeys. Final Class. Discussion.

Final Exam: Tuesday, June 12 at 8AM in Broida 1610