Department of English

University of Toronto


ENG237H1F  L0101  T11-12, R11-1
Science Fiction
Michael Johnstone

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: Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993); Gibson, Neuromancer (1984); Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016); Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969); Heather Masri, editor, Science Fiction: Stories and Contexts, compact ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

NOTE: Novels will be available at Bakka Phoenix Books (84 Harbord Street, 416-963-9993). The Masri anthology will be available at the UofT Book Store (Koffler Centre, at St. George and College Streets).

First Three Authors/Texts: Gibson, Butler, Le Guin.

Method of Instruction: Lecture, discussion, group work.

Method of Evaluation: Essay #1 (20%), essay #2 (40%), quiz #1 (5%), quiz #2 (10%), In-Class test (25%).

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus