Welcome to the course site for Science Fiction, taught by Elisa Beshero-Bondar, working with students at Pitt-Greensburg. These pages will include the course description and schedule (below), as well as digital projects.

Week 1
T 8-27

Welcome to the course! Intro to science fiction and H. G. Wells.

Introduce Project 1 and set up Hypothes.is accounts.


  • Orson Welles’ Radio Broadcast, 1938
  • During the 1930s actors Orson Welles and John Houseman presented a radio show, The Mercury Theatre on the Air. This show is remembered most for its October 30, 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds . Although listeners were cautioned that this was only a story, panic ensued across the country as people thought it was a real news broadcast and that the earth was being invaded by Martians.
  • Google Map of Locations in War of the Worlds
H 8-29

Read H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds, Book I, Ch. I through Ch. VIII., pp. 41-68

Week 2
T 9-03

The Man of the Year Million.

War of the Worlds, to the end of Book II Ch. III (to p. 154).

H 9-05

Finish War of the Worlds.

Finish Hypothes.is annotations for Digital Project 1.

In class: introduce Digital Project 2

(Note: Add/drop period ends F 9-06.)

Week 3
T 9-10

Before class:

  • Start Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chs. 1-4 (to p. 47)
  • Test sound recording technology for Digital Project 2.

Context: Slides: Background and Concepts in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Introduce DADES Discussion Assignment on Courseweb (counts in Quizzes portion of grade).

H 9-12 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chs. 5-13 (to p. 153)
Week 4
T 9-17 Reading/online discussion day. Work on your own on Digital Project 2 (due Tuesday 9/24).
H 9-19

In class: discuss ending of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Post last contributions to online threaded discussions.

Clips from Blade Runner (1982)

Week 5
T 9-24

For class: Read Alan Moore, Watchmen, to the end of Ch. III (including the prose segments at the ends of the chapters)

Intro slides on Watchmen and the history of comics and graphic novels

By 11:59pm: Complete, export and submit Digital Project 2 (as mp3 file)

H 9-26

Watchmen, to the end of Ch. VI

Week 6
T 10-01

Watchmen through Chapter IX.

In class: Watchmen Analysis Exercise

H 10-03

Finish Watchmen.

Watchmen: “in the final analysis”

Context Slides: Alien Invasions, Pulp Comics, and Watchmen

Start Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. I - III (to p. 40)

Week 7
T 10-08

The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. IV - VII (to p. 106)

Context Slides: The Handmaid’s Tale

Digital Project 3 due.

H 10-10 The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. VIII - X (to p. 188)
Week 8
T 10-15 The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. XI- XII (to p. 255). Introduce Digital Project 4.
H 10-17

Finish The Handmaid’s Tale including the Historical Notes, which actually conclude the novel.

Initiate take-home Midterm exam.

Week 9
T 10-22

Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood: Dawn, Part I, pp. 5 - 44.

Watch together: Star Trek Season 5 Episode 3: Darmok.

Take-home Midterm Exam due by 11:59pm.

H 10-24

Lilith’s Brood: Dawn, Part II just up to p. 112.

Context Slides: Octavia Butler, Science Fiction, and Lilith's Brood

Week 10
T 10-29 Lilith’s Brood: Adulthood Rites: Part II (Phoenix) through Ch. 9 (pp. 313-417)
H 10-31 Finish Lilith’s Brood: Adulthood Rites (pp. 421-477) + last two chapters of Lilith’s Brood: Imago, pp. 741-746.
Week 11
T 11-05 Digital Project 4: Complete Kumu network visualizations and make sure all links are recorded and updated.
H 11-07

Start Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, Chs. 1-8.

Week 12
T 11-12

**Reading Day** (no class meeting). Continue reading Snow Crash, Chs. 9-20

Digital Project 4 Essay due (by 11:59pm) on Courseweb.

H 11-14 Snow Crash, Chs. 21-35. Dr. B’s Guide to Human-Computer Fusions in Snow Crash
Week 13
T 11-19 Snow Crash, Chs. 36-45. Introduce Digital Project 5.
H 11-21

Snow Crash, Chs. 46-56.

Start indie science fiction game analysis via https://itch.io.

Week 14:
T 11-26 - H 11/28 Thanksgiving break
Week 15
T 12-03

Finish Snow Crash.

Games as SF narration and world development: Work on and share indie science fiction game analysis

H 12-05 Last day: Conclude class exercise on indie science fiction game analysis. Finish visualization for Digital Project 5. Initiate Optional Take-Home Final Exam.
Finals Week
  1. Digital Project 5: complete essays with linked visualizations and Google Sheets due on M 12/09 by 11:59pm.
  2. Optional Final Exam: due on H 12/12 by 11:59pm.