In order to study
science fiction, it is most useful to take notes while
or immediately after you read a text or screen a film. Isolate
the key ideas, scenes and questions posed by films and texts.
This will help you to develop your own perspective on each of
these texts. Bring these notes to class for the lecture and discussion
due April 18 at beginning of lecture: 4 page paper on H.G.
Wells, The War of the Worlds, or Isaac Asimov I, Robot.
Topics will be put here a week before the paper is due in lecture.
to Write a Good Paper
a good paper
- Your paper should
be thesis driven and argumentative: assume your reader
has read the text many times, so don't retell the story.
Assume that they are unconvinced by your thesis.
- Introduce and
state your thesis in your first paragraph; your thesis should
be non-obvious and non-trivial [e.g. Alien invasion triggers
a struggle for human survival.]
- Write 5-8 paragraphs
that develop your thesis in a compelling and logical fashion.
You can be creative and have fun, but write clearly and
correctly. Please support your thesis with specific references
to scenes, characters, or passages of the text. You will
not have space for quotations longer than a sentence or
- End with an
interesting extension of your thesis (Not its restatement)
- Include a "Works
Cited" list as an appendix to your paper, referring
to articles, books, or web sites using MLA format. In the
body of your paper refer to texts by the author's name and
page number. E.g. (Warner, 35)
|Preparing to Write
- Choose a topic
and reread the text you are writing on taking notes on your
- Figure out the
thesis for your paper
- Write a detailed
outline of your essay (please attach this to your paper)
- Proof read you
essay carefully after you have written it.
for the paper due April 18
- Murderous community:
the problem of human solidarity after catastrophe
- Martian machines
and human machines
- The Man on Putney
Hill's Survival Plan
- The Martian
Assessment of the Earthlings
- Dr. Susan Calvin's
ambivalent relationship to the robots she builds(an essay
on this topic must deal with the whole arc of I, Robot)
- Can you explain
what happens to the three laws of robotics as they are migrated
to robots with higher intelligence
April 30: The midterm will focus on the ideas, texts and
film scenes discussed in the lectures. Format will be
- matching names, concepts
and terms with each other
- identification of
quotation: you provide work, speaker, situation that gives quotation
- a one-paragraph essay
upon one of two topics from Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness
paper: due at the beginning of lecture May 16
This will be a 5 page paper on Ursela Le Guin's The Left Hand
or a comparison of Arthur C. Clark's and Stanley Kubrick's
2001: A Space Odyssey
for the paper
The Left Hand of Darkness
- An anthropological
- Conflict on
Gethen and on Earth
and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey:
the two versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey to write
a paper focused on one of these topics. You may end emphasizing
the complementary similarity of the two collaborators, or
how they differ in their treatment of the same story.
- The monolith
- The evolution
- The advance
- Guiding (or
mystifying) the reader/ viewer
- The gender of
humans and non-humans (e.g. space ships)
- The human journey
11, 7:30-10:30PM in Buchanan 1910
Format of the
- Matching key
(25%) will come from those texts and films discussed in
- Out of four
essay questions, select two to write on. (25% each)
The final exam
will cover the whole course. However, added emphasis will
be put on texts and films we have studied since the mid-term.
exam review sheet
attendance at the lectures and section meetings is required.
- Please arrive
on time and take care of bathroom and food needs before lecture.
We will have a short break during our long class. Please don't
eat in class, but drinks are fine.
rules against plagarism will be strictly enforced.
of elements of the class to arrive at your grade:
midterm = 20 %
paper is !5% = 30 %
final exam = 35 %
attendance and participation in lecture and section = 15 %