Science Fiction Course

Englit 0626 @ Pitt-Greensburg

Autumn 2017; Class meets T H 1 -2:15 pm in 111 Powers Hall

Prof. Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD

E-mail: ebb8 at

Office Hours in FOB 204: Wed. 3 - 4:30 pm, Thurs. 2:30 - 4:30 PM, and by appointment

Course Information and Policies

Reading Schedule

Complete readings and assignments before the dates on which they are scheduled below.

Bookmark this page! Updates and revisions will be announced in class and via Courseweb announcements (sent to your e-mail address). This syllabus address: Courseweb address:

Week 1

2017-08-29 T Welcome to the course! Intro to science fiction and H. G. Wells


2017-08-31 H Start H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds, Book I, Ch. I through Ch. VIII, pp. 41-68;

Week 2

2017-09-05 T War of the Worlds, to the end of Book II Ch. III (to p. 154)

2017-09-07 H Finish War of the Worlds; Threaded Writing Assignment 1 due before class Note: Add/Drop ends on F 09-08

Week 3

2017-09-12 T Start Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chs. 1-4 (to p. 47); Context:

2017-09-14 H Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chs. 5-13 (to p. 153);

Week 4

2017-09-19 T Finish Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Start Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Foreword (pp. xix-xx) and Chs. 1 - 5 Clips from Blade Runner (1982)

2017-09-21 H 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the end of Ch. 17; Context Slides: 2001 and the Golden Age of Science Fiction: Space Odysseys

Introduce Sound Composition Assignment

Week 5

2017-09-26 T 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the end of Part IV (Ch. 30)

2017-09-28 H Finish 2001: A Space Odyssey; Quiz.

Audio Assignment 1 due between 9-28 and 10-3

Week 6

2017-10-03 T Start Alan Moore, Watchmen, to the end of Ch. 1 (including the prose segment “Under the Hood”)

Writing About Comics

2017-10-05 H Alan Moore, Watchmen, to the end of Ch. 5; Introduce Watchmen Graphic Analysis assignment Preliminary Launch: group Timeline Exercise: Groups: set up your TimeMapper Timeline files by next week, and begin collecting events.

Week 7

2017-10-10 T NO CLASS TODAY (Monday classes meet due to Fall Break.)

2017-10-12 H Finish Watchmen

Kitty Genovese and Bystander Syndrome

*Context reading: “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” *New York Times article, 27 March 1964

Friedrich Nietzsche

Context short video: Friedrich Nietzsche on the Superman

Context reading: translated passages from Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra

Sidelight: Stanley Kubrick’s last-minute decision for the musical score of 2001

The Ending of Watchmen

Context Slides: Alien Invasions, Pulp Comics, and Watchmen

Midterm Exam Review Prep

Week 8

Midterm Take-Home Exam

2017-10-17 T Midterm Exam due by Courseweb

2017-10-19 H Start Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. I - II (to p. 33);

Context Slides: The Handmaid’s Tale

2017-10-21, Sat. by 11:59 PM: Watchmen Graphic Analysis assignment due

Week 9

2017-10-24 T Reading Day No class meeting. (I am out of town delivering a presentation.) Continue reading The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. III - VIII (to p. 140) note: MITH Digital Dialogue on 11/24

2017-10-26 H The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. IX - XI (to p. 195) Group Exercise and launch Handmaid’s Tale Threaded Discussion Exercise TimeMappers: Each group member has contributed one entry. These are posted and viewable before class so that we may admire your work.

Week 10

2017-10-31 T Finish The Handmaid’s Tale (including the Historical Notes, which actually conclude the novel); Threaded Handmaid’s Tale Discussion Exercise

2017-11-02 H start Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood: Dawn (through p. 112) Context Slides: Octavia Butler, Science Fiction, and Lilith’s Brood

TimeMappers: Each group member contributes one more entry. Groups take stock. You need to represent events from at least three books we are reading this semester. Make a plan of how to do this.

Week 11

2017-11-07 T Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) Part II (Phoenix) through Ch. 9 (pp. 313-355) Introduce Analytical or Creative Research Project

2017-11-09 H Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) finish Part II (to p. 417) *Launch Threaded Discussion of *Lilith’s Brood **

Week 12

2017-11-14 T Reading Day (no class meeting) Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) Part III (to p. 477) *note: TEI Conference (11/11 - 11/15)

TimeMappers: Major installment due here. HALFWAY POINT with at least 12 entries.

2017-11-16 H Re-convene in class Finish Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) + last two chapters of Imago (Lilith’s Brood), pp. 741-746; *Threaded Discussion of *Lilith’s Brood ** due

Week 13

2017-11-21 T Start Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl, Chs. 1-5; Context Slides: The Windup Girl

2017-11-23 H Thanksgiving Recess (no classes today)

Week 14

2017-11-28 T The Windup Girl, Chs. 6-12 Exercise: Language in The Windup Girl

2017-11-30 H The Windup Girl, Chs. 13-26 Context: Buddhism for Beginners

Week 15

2017-12-05 T The Windup Girl, Chs. 27-35

2017-12-07 H Last Day. Finish The Windup Girl. TimeMappers: Completed TimeMaps due before class: at least 25 entries.

Finals Week:

2017-12-11 M Take-Home Final Exam Posted. Longer Assignment (Creative / Analytical) due by 11:59pm.

2017-12-14 H Take-Home Final Exam due by 11:59pm (via upload to Courseweb).