Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG237H1S L0101

ENG237H1S L0101 MW 10-1
Science Fiction
M. Johnstone
Office Phone:
Office Location:
Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA

Brief Description of Course: This course will treat science fiction (SF) as a significant literature and tradition that has reflected and responded to the effects of science and technology upon our rapidly changing modern world in distinct ways since the late 19th century. During the term, we will attempt to develop a working definition of SF not just by identifying its formal tropes, rhetorical conventions, and aesthetics, but also by investigating the philosophical and political perspective that informs SF’s critical commentary on the human condition. To do so, we will explore themes of the encounter with the alien, visions of individual and social identity in the future, and dystopia/utopia.

Required Reading: Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood (Hachette/Grand Central, 2000); Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama (Bantam/Spectra, 1973); Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Del Rey, 1968); William Gibson, Neuromancer (Ace, 1984); Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (Solaris, 2016). There will also be some short stories available online and/or as PDFs.

NOTE: The novels will be available at Bakka Phoenix Books (84 Harbord Street, 416-963-9993) beginning later in June.

Method of Instruction: Lecture, discussion.

Method of Evaluation: Essay #1 (15%), essay #2 (40%), exam (45%).

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