English 180Z

Science Fiction: Speculative Fiction and Dystopias

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2010 Jones, Donna V.
Jones, Donna
MWF 11-12 166 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Hoffman, E.T.A: The Sandman; Adam, Villiers de l’Isle: The Future Eve; Wells, H.G.: The Island of Doctor Moreau; Capek, Karel: R.U.R; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go; James, P.D.: Children of Men; Mielville, China: Perdido Street Station; Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep; Thacker, Eugene: The Global Genome; Moylan, Tom: Scraps of the Untainted Sky; Jameson, Frederic: Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions; Otis, Lisa: Membranes: Metaphors of Invasion in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Science and Politics

Films: Soylent Green (1973); Bladerunner (1981); Gattaca (1997); Children of Men (2006)


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 lie 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. You may of course bring others.

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