English 145

Writing Technology: Utopian Futures

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2020 Chandra, Vikram
Lectures TTh 11-12 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 9-10; sec. 102: F 11-12; sec. 103: F 12-1; sec. 104: F 2-3)

Book List

Banks, Iain M.: Surface Detail; Banks, Iain M.: The Player of Games; Ivan, Yefremov: Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale; Le Guin, Ursula : The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia; Lowry, Lois: The Giver; Piercy, Marge: Woman on the Edge of Time: A Novel; St. John Mandel, Emily: Station Eleven; Wells, H. G.: Men Like Gods

Other Readings and Media

A course reader, which will be available from Instant Copying & Laser Printing ([510] 704-9700; 2138 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704).


Recent science fiction narratives tend toward the dystopian, perhaps in reaction to the grim realities of our time.  But science fiction writers have always imagined better futures made possible by technological advances.

In this interdisciplinary course, we will use methods and insights from literary theory, computer science, scenario planning, and historical studies to examine various utopian science fiction narratives written over the centuries.  The narrative forms we'll address will include short stories, novels, essays, computer games, the notion of idealistic "disruption" of current industries and political systems, and writing about programming techniques and systems.

Through our readings of science fiction, we will explore our relationships with the ethics and politics of technology, and what it means to have a "good life."

This writing-intensive course will allows students to engage in writing about technology, history, and the human imagination.  Students will write in the forms practiced by journalists, historians, literary critics, and scenario planners.

Discussion Sections

101 Muhammad, Ismail
F 9-10 263 Dwinelle
102 Muhammad, Ismail
F 11-12 214 Haviland
103 Trevino, Jason Benjamin
F 12-1 225 Dwinelle
104 Trevino, Jason Benjamin
F 2-3 214 Haviland

Other Recent Sections of This Course

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