GU4636: Science Fiction | P. Grimstad

English and Comparative Literature
Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
Tu Th 4:10-5:25PM

What is the relation between literature and science? Is fiction a form of knowledge, and if so how is it different from the knowledge arrived at in the natural sciences? What is the role of the “thought experiment” in scientific and literary writing? Are novels or stories thought experiments? The course will explore such questions through a focus on science-fiction as a genre, broadly construed. In addition to reflection on what is meant by "genre," we will consider how science and the scientist are represented in works of fiction, the idea of time travel, artificial intelligence, and imagining different kinds of dystopia. Students write essays making claims and using evidence from works on the syllabus, with emphasis on writing clear prose in support of an original argument. Writers and filmmakers may include Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Phillip K. Dick, Edgar Allan Poe, William Gibson, Isaac Asimov, Stanely Kubrick, Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Delany, Stanislaw Lem, Susan Sontag, William S. Burroughs, Margaret Atwood, H.P.Lovecraft, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow, Octavia Butler, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alan Turing, Rivka Galchen, Jonathan Lethem, Steven Speilberg and televison shows like Black Mirror and the Twilight Zone.

Link to Vergil
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