Out of This World: Writing About Science Fiction

C LIT 240

What does it mean to be human? Where is the dividing line between the human and inhuman — animal, machine, artificial intelligence, alien, clone, etc.? How do fictional worlds help us imagine the range of future possibilities while also critiquing our current societies? What sorts of dialogues have science fiction writers engaged in with each other over the decades? 

Course Curriculum and Features

In each class meeting, we’ll read a science fiction short story that demonstrates how artists at different points in history have imagined worlds that challenge our own. These stories explore topics such as post-apocalyptic landscapes, alien sexuality, ecological crisis and survival, rethinking human history, 1950s sci fi noir vs. 1980s cyberpunk, and the spectacular stylists of the New Wave. You’ll write a daily reading and film viewing journal, as well as two five-page essays, each comparing a pivotal issue in two or three science fiction texts. We’ll also compare four of these short stories with their film adaptations, which you’ll watch outside of class (online). And we’ll visit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in the Seattle Center together.

Designed For

Those interested in science, creative writing and the science fiction and fantasy genres. 


Cynthia Steele
Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media

Aug 21–Sep 14, 2018

UW Seattle
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.