English 192—Science Fiction

The robot in Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Thanks to Melissa, Suzie, Laura, Jeremy, and Jack for making Science Fiction a great course!
Instructor: James H. Donelan
M, W, F 2:00-2:50 in Buchanan 1910
Office Hours: Wednesday, 12:00-1:00; Thursday, 9:00-11:00
Girvetz 1310
Honors Section: Monday, 12:00-12:50, 2716 South Hall

Email: donelan@humanitas.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
Dick, Bladerunner, or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
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 the videos at your local video store or view them on reserve in Kerr Hall.

Requirements: The course requires two papers, a midterm, and a final examination, in addition to regular attendance and active participation in discussion section.


I: The Origins of Science Fiction: Mad Scientists and Visions of the Future

4/2 Introduction and Logistics
4/3 The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 7:00PM, 1179 Chemistry
4/4 Gilliam, Baron Munchausen 
4/6 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein 
4/9 Shelley, Frankenstein, continued.
4/10 Metropolis,7:00PM, 1179 Chemistry
4/11 Lang, Metropolis
4/13 Wells, The Time Machine, Simak, "Over the River and Through the Woods"
II: Cold War Nightmares: Strange Creatures and Ecological Disasters
4/16 Science Fiction Films and the Cold War
4/18 Willis, "Schwarzchild Radius," Sargeant, "Gather Blue Roses," Kessel, "Invaders"
4/20 Wolfe, "Feather Tigers," Delany, "High Weir," Emschwiller, "The Start of the End of It All"
First Paper Due.  Suggested Topics

4/23 Bear, "Schrödinger’s Plague," Walthrop, "…The World, as We Know’t"
4/27 Midterm

III: The Future of Gender
4/30 Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness 
5/2 Le Guin, continued.
5/4 Pohl, "Day Million," Elgin, "For the Sake of Grace"

5/7 Hess, "When I Was Miss Dow," Tiptree, "The Women Men Don’t See," Butler, "Speech Sounds"

IV: Machines Run Amok: Computers and Androids

5/9 Asimov, I, Robot 
5/11 Asimov, continued.

5/14 Gotlieb, "Tauf Aleph," Gibson, "Burning Chrome"
Prospectus for Second Paper Due This Week in Section  Topics for the Second Paper
5/15 2001: A Space Odyssey, 7:00PM, 1179 Chemistry
5/16 Kubrik/Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey

5/21 Silverberg, "Good News from the Vatican," Gibson, "Hinterlands"
5/23 The Star Trek Phenomenon, Part I: The Borg
5/25 Dick, Bladerunner, or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Outline and Thesis Statement for Second Paper Due Today

5/28 Memorial Day.
5/29 Bladerunner, 7:00PM, 1179 Chemistry
5/30 Scott, Bladerunner 
6/1 Smith, "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard," Fowler, "The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things," Gibson, "The Gernsback Continuum"

V: The Future and the Problem of Memory
6/4 The Star Trek Phenomenon, Part II: All Good Things…
6/5 12 Monkeys,7:00PM, 1179 Chemistry
Excellent Article on 12 Monkeys Available Online to On-Campus Terminals
6/6 Gilliam, 12 Monkeys, Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic" Final Class.

Saturday, June 9, 4-7, Final Exam