Fall 2017 Take-Home Final Exam


Respond to each of the three essay topics below. NOTE: You may not discuss any text more than twice, and your responses must represent at least two texts that we read since the Midterm Exam.
*You may not collaborate with others on writing this exam, and essays will be screened for originality.
Write your essay exam in a computer file as a word-processed document or text file, and save this with your last name in the file name, as in BesheroFinalExam.doc. Upload your file on Courseweb before the deadline at 11:59 PM on Thursday December 14. To work efficiently, read the questions carefully and quickly outline your response to help guide your writing. Support your points by referring to specific characters, examples, and episodes from the readings and include quoted passages from the readings. Total: 90 points (30 points per essay). Time allotment: Roughly 30-45 minutes per question; roughly two and a half hours.

  1. TimeMapper Essay: Choose a significant event or series of related events posted on a TimeMapper timeline from our class to which one of our science fiction texts specifically responds in some clear way. In your essay:
    • explain the significance of the event, and
    • explain how the science fiction text is responding to and/or adapting this event in the world of the text. What larger statement might the science fiction novel be making about events from our time?
  2. Choose any two texts we have read this semester that represent characters involved in genetic engineering or experimentation that alters or edits the bodies of people. Compare and/or contrast the motives of these characters and the new forms created out of humanity. What alterations are made, and are they desired by those who experience them? What new capacities or problems do we see in the people affected? Does genetic engineering seem associated with advancement or decline of humans in these texts?

  3. Regime change, extinction, and the “end of the world” are dominant motifs in science fiction. Consider two texts we have read this semester (at least one since the midterm exam), that represent the collapse of one way of life and replacement by another system. First point out the sources of instability or how the old system was was failing: what cracks and signs of failure do we see in the texts? Then consider what changes in the world after failure: What traces of the past world might survive into the next? What new forms are made out of the old?

Thanks for a wonderful class full of terrific speculative conversations! Have a happy holiday break!

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