A Summer Session course is coming up at Penn which may interest many people, titled Science and Fiction. A description and the website for registration follow.
This class will consider the science fiction novel and story as developing genres. We will read work on the origins of the form, where science blurs with the fantastic. We will consider the alien as trope, both benevolent and ferocious, as well as science as practiced by humans itself escaping our control. We will read writers such as H. G. Wells, Stanislaw Lem, Arthur C. Clark, Kim Stanley Robinson and others from a number of cultures beyond the U.S. We will also read examples of science fiction used as a device to imagine other ways of human being, embodiment, sexuality, and gender such as in the work of Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, and Ursula Le Guin. In addition, we will study the way the genre allows us to imagine and work through fears and new ideas about ourselves. Students will gain a sense of the development of the literary genre and narrative as well as exposure to the mutant discourse that strains of scientific forecasting and less linear narrative create. Students will complete assignments including two short papers and will contribute to classroom discussion. Please feel free to email the instructor with any questions you may have about the course: firstname.lastname@example.org.