English 180Z

Science Fiction: Speculative Fiction and Dystopias

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2012 Jones, Donna V.
MWF 12-1 141 McCone

Book List

Capek, Karol: R.U.R; Dick, Philip: Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep; Hoffman, E.T.A.: The Tales of Hoffman; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go; Mieville, China: Perdido Street Station; Wells, , H.G.: The Island of Doctor Moreau

Other Readings and Media

Children of Men; Gattaca; The Matrix; Pumzi


This course will examine in depth the history of speculative fiction and its engagement with the thematics and topoi of the new life sciences—representation of cloning, ecological dystopias, hybrid life-forms, genetic engineering dystopias. While science is the thematic point of departure of speculative fiction, the concerns of this course will be the literary. How does literature’s encounter with the projected realities of the new biology revise our conceptions of the subject? Could there be a Leopold Bloom of the genetically engineered, a subject whose interior voice is the free-flowing expression of experience? Behind the endless removes of social, material and technological mediation stand the construction of a flesh and blood body, separated from itself through the workings of consciousness. If indeed the post/modern subject requires a psychic space shaped by the authenticity of ‘being’, a consciousness deeply rooted in the human experience, then how do we represent that being whose point of origin is the artificial, the inauthentic? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this course. 

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