English - Elective Subject, topic 2: Science Fiction

Course content

Science fiction is less about the future, than about the time in which it is written. Anxieties about humanity, technology, gender and race are often reflected in works of speculative fiction. We will analyse how SF presents a critique of contemporary social reality and responds to this through utopian/dystopian thought. Discussion will also focus on technology and its role as either threat to or saviour of humanity. The course is designed to provide an understanding of Science Fiction as a genre and a mode of writing, as well as its relationship to other literary genres, national cultures, and media. The course will acquaint students with the precursors to modern Science Ficiton and trace the history and evolution of the ‘genre’, as well as its contemporary manifestations. The course will show how science fiction can give voice to the individual in relation to society, with particular emphasis on women and minority writers. Students will explore the history and the relevant contemporary issues in Science Fiction, including environmental disaster, artificial intelligence, and human psychology in future environments. The seminar will combine the reading of SF texts with the exploration of theories, methods, and societal issues relevant to the concept of the ‘genre’.


The texts we will discuss include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, Octavia E. Butler’s Dawn, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, and N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 325,5
  • English
  • 409,5