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 this course, we’ll read classic science fiction stories that demonstrate 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, animals in space, 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 daily response papers as well as three five-page essays comparing a pivotal issue in two sets of science fiction short stories. We’ll also watch clips from relevant science fiction films and take a field trip to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).

Note: This course satisfies the UW English Composition requirement.

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 22–Sep 15, 2017

UW Seattle
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.