Welcome to ENGL 2360: Science Fiction and Fantasy
NOTE: To access the e-reserves, please use the password that you'll find in the Syllabus, Section 2.4, available on Blackboard.
This course explores examples of science fiction and fantasy from classic to contemporary works, with a focus on questions such as: How do humans define ourselves and relate to human and non-human others? What does it mean to be an individual, and what does it mean to be a “hero”? What can we learn from moments when different cultures interact or when humans engage with new technology? How do fantastic genres enable social and philosophical commentary? Genre fiction is often dismissed as escapist pleasure-reading, yet this course will encourage you to consider the literary and cultural value of works.
“The authentic SF experience is a perception of truth, reality in an unreal environment.” - David G. Hartwell
The “SF” that Hartwell describes here is science fiction, but that acronym might also stand for “speculative fiction,” a category that encompasses both science fiction and fantasy. Stories about other planets, fantasy realms, and the future invariably reflect upon our own world: the “truth” and “reality” that Hartwell mentions. We will focus on the way that speculative genres empower stylistic experimentation, cultural commentary, and exploration of substantial issues.