English 192—Science Fiction

Thanks to everybody for being great students, and many thanks to Randy, Jessica, Jack, Auli, and Katie for being great TAs.  See you around campus, and keep in touch!

Mr. D.

Instructor: James H. Donelan

M, W, F 12:00-12:50 in Buchanan 1910; Course No. 15818
Office Hours: Monday 9:00-10:00, Thursday 2:00-3:00
Girvetz 1310

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, Theodore Sturgeon, 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
Longo, Johnny Mnemonic

The films will be shown on the dates indicated on the syllabus. If you cannot attend the scheduled showing, you can view them on reserve in Kerr Hall or by renting them at your local video store. All are generally available.

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

1/10 Introduction and Logistics.   Lecture Outline

1/11 The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Terry Gilliam, dir.

1/12 Gilliam, Baron Munchausen  Lecture Outline

1/14 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein  Lecture Outline

1/17 Martin Luther King Day—Holiday

1/18 Metropolis, Fritz Lang, dir. 7:00PM, 1610 Broida

1/19 Lang, Metropolis  Lecture Outline

1/21 Wells, The Time Machine, Simak, "Over the River and Through the Woods"  Lecture Outline

II: Cold War Nightmares: Strange Creatures and Ecological Disasters

1/24 Science Fiction Films and the Cold War   Lecture Outline

1/26 Willis, "Schwarzchild Radius," Sargent, "Gather Blue Roses," Kessel, "Invaders" Lecture Outline

1/28 Wolfe, "Feather Tigers," Delany, "High Weir," New Reading Assignment! Emschwiller, "The Start of the End of It All"
       Suggested Topics First Paper Due.  Lecture Outline

1/31 Bear, "Schrödinger’s Plague," Walthrop, "…The World, as We Know’t"  Lecture Outline

2/2 Henderson, "As Simple as That," Schmitz, "Balanced Ecology" Lecture Outline

2/4 Midterm.  Bring a blue book!

III: The Future of Gender

2/7 Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness  Lecture Outline

2/9 Le Guin, continued.  Lecture Outline

2/11 Pohl, "Day Million," Elgin, "For the Sake of Grace"  Lecture Outline

2/14 Hess, "When I Was Miss Dow," Tiptree, "The Women Men Don’t See," New Reading Assignment! Butler, "Speech Sounds" Lecture Outline

IV: Machines Run Amok: Computers and Androids

2/16 Asimov, I, Robot  Lecure Outline

2/18 Asimov, continued.  Lecture Outline

2/21 President’s Day—Holiday

2/22 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, dir. 7:00PM, 1610 Broida Hall

2/23 Gotlieb, "Tauf Aleph," Gibson, "Burning Chrome" (the short story) Lecture Outline

2/25 Kubrick/Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey  Lecture Outline Second Paper Prospectus Due:  Suggested Topics

2/28 2001, continued.  Lecture Outline

3/1 Silverberg, "Good News from the Vatican," New Reading Assignment: Dorsey, "(Learning About) Machine Sex"  Lecture Outline

3/3 The Star Trek Phenomenon, Part I: The Borg Still looking for sources? Check out this link.

3/6 Dick, Bladerunner, or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Lecture Outline
Second Paper Thesis and Outline Due

3/7 Bladerunner, Ridley Scott, dir. New Film Location!  1179 Chemistry

3/8 Scott, Bladerunner  Lecture Outline

V: The Future and the Problem of Memory

3/10 Smith, "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard," Fowler, "The Lake…," Gibson, "The Gernsback Continuum" Lecture Outline  Sources all checked out of the library?  See this link for help.

3/13 The Star Trek Phenomenon, Part II: All Good Things… Lecture Outline

3/13 Second Paper Due

3/14 Johnny Mnemonic, Robert Longo, dir. New Film Location!  1179 Chemistry

3/15 Longo, Johnny Mnemonic, Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic," "Hinterlands," "Red Star, Winter Orbit" Lecture Outline

3/17 Last day of classes.  Lecture Outline

Tuesday, March 21, 12-3, Final Exam—1910 Buchanan, our usual room. Bring at least two blue books!