Syllabus (2015)

Syllabus

Week 1
(Aug. 27)
Week 2
(Sep. 1-3)
Week 3
(Sep. 8-10)
Week 4
(Sep. 15-17)
Week 5
(Sep. 22-24)
Week 6
(Sep. 29-Oct. 1)
Week 7
(Oct. 6-8)
Week 8
(Oct. 13)
Week 9
(Oct. 20-22)
Week 10
(Oct. 27-29)
Week 11
(Nov. 3-5)
Week 12
(Nov. 10-12)
Week 13
(Nov. 17-19)
Week 14
(Dec. 1-3)
Week 15
(Dec. 8-10)
Course Requirements

*

Week 1 (Aug. 27)

Thursday – Introduction

  • Isaac Asimov, “Nightfall” (1941) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame

*

Week 2 (Sep. 1-3)

Tuesday – What Is Science Fiction?

Thursday – What Is Science?

  • Lester Del Ray, “Helen O’Loy” (1938) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame
  • McFadyen-Ketchum, et al., “A Definition of Science” (Blackboard)

*

Week 3 (Sep. 8-10)

Tuesday – Time Travel

Thursday – Time Travel

  • Robert A. Heinlein, “By His Bootstraps” (1941) (Blackboard)
  • Ray Bradbury, ”A Sound of Thunder” (1952) (Blackboard)
  • Michael Swanwick, “Scherzo with Tyrannosaur” (1999) (Blackboard)

Week 4 (Sep. 15-17)

Tuesday – Time Travel

  • William Tenn, “The Brooklyn Project” (1948) (Blackboard)
  • John Varley, “Air Raid” (1977) (Blackboard)
  • Kage Baker, “Son, Observe the Time” (1999) (Blackboard)

Thursday – Relativity

 

*

Week 5 (Sep. 22-24)

Tuesday – Relativity

  • Poul Anderson, “Kyrie” (1969) (Blackboard)
  • Gregory Benford, “Relativistic Effects” (1986) (Blackboard)
  • Stephen Baxter, “Mayflower II” (2004) (Blackboard)

Thursday – Genetics

*

Week 6 (Sep. 29 – Oct. 1)

Tuesday – Genetics

  • Octavia Butler’s Dawn (1987), Parts II-IV

Thursday – Gravity

  • Tom Godwin, “The Cold Equations” (1954) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame
  • Larry Niven, “Neutron Star” (1966) (Blackboard)
  • Gravity (2013), dir. Alfonso Cuarón

*

Week 7 (Oct. 6-8)

Tuesday- Timescape

  • Read the first half of Gregory Benford’s Timescape

Thursday –

Thursday – Gregory Benford visits class

  • Finish Timescape

*

Week 8 (Oct. 13)

Tuesday – Relativity

Thursday, Oct. 15 – FALL BREAK

*

Week 9 (Oct. 20-22)

Tuesday – Quantum Mechanics

Thursday – Writing Workshop

  • Jim Gunn, excerpts from The Science of Science-Fiction Writing, Chs. 5-8 (pp. 25-53) (Blackboard)

*

Week 10 (Oct. 27-29)

Tuesday – Fermi Paradox

Thursday – First Contact

  • Frederick Brown, “Arena” (1944) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame
  • Murray Leinster, “First Contact” (1945) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame
  • Ray Bradbury, “Mars Is Heaven” (1948) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame
  • Harry Harrison, “Final Encounter” (1964) (Blackboard)

*

Week 11 (Nov. 3-5)

Tuesday – The Square-Cube Law

  • James Blish, “Surface Tension” (1952) in Science Fiction Hall of Fame
  • Edward Bryant, “giANTS” (1979) (Blackboard)
  • Discussion: Clips from Them (1954) and Ant Man/Giant Man comics

Wednesday – First draft of paper due (11:59 pm)

Thursday – No Class

  • Individual conferences

*

Week 12 (Nov. 10-12)

Tuesday – Ecology

  • Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Word for World is Forest” (Blackboard)
  • Paolo Bacigalupi, “The Calorie Man” (2005) (Blackboard)
  • Vandana Singh, “Entanglement” (2014) (Blackboard)

Thursday – Ecology

*

Week 13 (Nov. 17-19)

Tuesday – Prediction

Thursday – Speculative Fiction

  • Vandana Singh, “The Tetrahedron” (2005) (Blackboard)
  • Walidah Imarisha, “Black Angel” (2015) (Blackboard)
  • Vandana Singh, “A Speculative Manifesto” (2008) (Blackboard)
  • Margaret Atwood, “Introduction” to In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011) (Blackboard)

Friday, November 20 — No blog post required. Second draft of papers due (11:59 pm)

(Thanksgiving Holiday, November 21-29)

*

Week 14 (Dec. 1-3)

Tuesday – A.I.

  • Isaac Asimov, “Evidence” (1946) from I, Robot (Blackboard)
  • Arthur C. Clarke, “Dial F. for Frankenstein” (1964) (Blackboard)
  • Ted Chiang, “The Life Cycle of Software Objects,” free online at Subterranean Press Magazine (Fall 2010)

Thursday –

A.I.

No blog post required.

*

Week 15 (Dec. 7-10)

Monday, December 7 — final draft of paper due (11:59 pm)

Tuesday – A.I.

Thursday – Conclusion

*

Course Requirements

Weekly blog posts (30%)

Class participation (10%)

Final project (60%). All projects should be 15-20 pages, double-spaced. Students will choose one of the following options:

Write an original science fiction story

Write a historical and critical article on one or more of the stories

Write a non-fiction article on a piece of scientific research at Vanderbilt.

  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Archives

  • Social

%d bloggers like this: