English - Elective Subject, topic 2: Science Fiction

Course content

Science Fiction (Robert Rix and Maria Damkjær)

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 make students familiar with the precursors to modern Science Fiction and trace the history and evolution of the ‘genre’, as well as its contemporary manifestations. The course will deal with the idea of science as it grew out of the nineteenth century, and how science fiction often pits the individual against an oppressive society. In the second part of the course, this will be with particular emphasis on women and minority writers. Students will explore the history, contexts, and relevant contemporary issues related to Science Fiction, including the oppressive regime, environmental disaster, artificial humans, and human psychology in future environments. The course will combine the reading of texts with the exploration of genre theories, book history, and societal issues relevant to the concept of Science Fiction.



  1. The texts we will discuss include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, 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


Course number
Programme level

1 semester

See link to schedule
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Maria Damkjær   (14-6f63746b633066636f6d6c636774426a776f306d7730666d)
  • Robert William Rix   (5-7b737b728149717e7637747e376d74)
Saved on the 01-04-2022

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