The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the historical development of science fiction so that they can think, speak, and write critically about this important literary genre.  Through a close examination of a range of texts, students will be able to formulate critical responses to the following set of questions:  What common themes, motifs, and images recur in science fiction?  How does science fiction shape our understanding of culture and society?  How does it respond to, challenge, perpetuate, and/or shape particular social, political, and cultural events in America and abroad? In addition to these important questions, we will consider as our primary focus how it is that science fiction helps shape our conceptions of nature and environment.

Grade Breakdown

25% Thoughtful, active participation in class discussions.

30% Written homework (on various topics, of differing lengths and graded weight, with deadlines spread throughout the semester)

15% Quizzes (Quizzes will cover readings, lectures, and class discussions; quizzes may be announced or unannounced)

30% Final Project (8-10-page critical paper about one of the texts/works we have discussed as a class).

Required Textbooks

The following texts are required and available for purchase through the U of U bookstore. Other texts, including miscellaneous essays—as well as other, shorter reading materials—will be available as handouts or online and will be linked to the schedule of readings on our course website (the schedule will be posted the first week of class).




Careful reading, active participation in class discussions, and a high quality of written  are all required to be successful in this course. In other words, come to class, do your work, be prepared, be original, be courteous, be critical, be kind, be on time.

Plagiarism Policy

Students at the University of Utah are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards. Academic dishonesty is also destructive of the University community, which is grounded in a system of mutual trust and places high value on personal integrity and individual responsibility. Harsh penalties are associated with academic dishonesty. For more information, see the Code of Students’ Rights and Responsiblities:

The University’s Policy for Persons with Disabilities

The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 801-581-5020. CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.

All written information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services.