English 192
Science Fiction
Spring 2002
Professor William Warner

Course Overview



Study Materials

Course Policies


Conceptual Overview
During the course of the 20th century, science fiction became one of the most popular, influential and pleasurable ways to speculate about the accelerating changes in our world. This course will offer a selective survey of science fiction, beginning with classic texts of H.G. Wells, The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, and ending with the Wachowski brothers' cyberpunk film, The Matrix. In this course we will pay special attention to these themes: alien invasion, machine intelligence and the cyborg, futures for gender, the perfection of simulation, and the issue of domination and freedom. Along the way, we will investigate how changes in 20th century media—from cheap print and bright covers, to film, radio, television and computer based new media—have helped to enable science fiction, and become a theme for analysis within science fiction. Our course will work with questions like the following: what is science fiction? from where in the history of Western narrative does science fiction come? what are its distinct pleasures? is there a special affinity between film and science fiction? does science fiction have predictive value?

This course is part of the UCSB's English Department's new curricular project entitled Transcriptions: a Digital Humanites Project on the Cultures of Information.

Course Web Address:

Class Location and Time:
Lecture location/Time: Buchanan 1910; Tues 5-6PM; Thurs 5-7PM

Professor Warner's Office Hours:
2507 South Hall
Friday, 1:30-2:30PM, and by appointment

Technology Help:
There will be drop in hours for this class in the Transcriptions Studio, South Hall 2509

Required Texts and Films (see Schedule):
Books are available from the UCSB Bookstore and in the bookstore in IV.


  • H. G. Wells, The Time Machine & The War of the Worlds; Fawcett Books; ISBN: 0449300439
  • Isaac Asimov I, Robot. Reprint edition (July 1994) Bantam Books; ISBN: 0553294385
  • Arthur Clark. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Reissue edition (September 12, 2000) Roc; ISBN: 0451457994
  • Ursula K. LeGuin. The Left Hand of Darkness Reissue edition (January 1991) Ace Books; ISBN: 0441478123
  • The Norton Book of Science Fiction. Ed. By Ursula LeGuin and Brian Attebery. Paperback (June 1999) W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393972410
  • Various on-line readings

Films\ Radioplay:
Screenings will be held Wed. 5:00PM - 7:30PM in Buchanan 1920. I will also have films available at the learning lab in Kerr Hall. Of course, you may also screen these at home.

  • Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)
  • Radio play of "The War of the Worlds" (Orson Welles, 1938): This radio play can be found online as the October 30, 1938 broadcast of The Mercury Theatre on the Air
  • The Stepford Wives (Forbes, 1975)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
  • Star Trek: the Next Generation: I, Borg (1992)
  • Blade Runner (Scott, 1982)
  • The Matrix (Wachowski Brothers, 1999

Assignments (Details):

  • 1st paper: 4 pp.
  • Midterm: matching, identification, and short essay question
  • 2nd paper: 5pp.
  • Final exam: matching, identification, and 2 long comparative essays

Course Policies (Details)

Read, Screen, Attend, Participate, and Think Continuously

Honors Section (Assignments and Projects)

Location: South Hall 1415; Time: Friday, 12:00-12:50PM
Focus for the section: Class members will divide into small teams and prepare web-sites that expand upon some dimension of this course's study of science fiction. Web experience is desireable but not necessary.
First meeting: Friday, April 12th.

Honors Projects: presented to Lecture June 6, 2002

Section Contact Information:
Please note: if a student has not appeared in their section by week 2, her or she will be dropped from the class roll.
In order to communicate with Professor Warner or your TA, please use email. Feel free to write at any time. All the instructors in this course like to know what's on your mind.

Instructor/ Office Sections Location email address
Elizabeth Freudenthal
SH 3432 N. Grad Tower
Wed 9am
Wed 10am
SH 1609
SH 1430
Steve Sohn
SH 4431 Grad Tower
Wed 12pm
Wed 1pm
SH 1415
Santa Rosa dorm
Jennifer Stoy
SH 2432
Grad Tower
Thurs 8am
Thurs 9am
SH 1415
Santa Rosa dorm
Chris Hoffpauir
SH 4431Q
Grad Tower
Thurs 3pm
Thurs 4pm
Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa dorm
Professor Warner/
SH 2507
Fri 12pm
SH 1415 warner@english.ucsb.edu

This page was composed by Professor William Warner. Last changed 4/2/02. This course is part of the Transcriptions Project of the Department of English at UC /Santa Barbara.