English 360– Science Fiction

Spring 2013

Dr. Robert Lynch
Office: Grainger G08
Phone: 395-2167
Email: rlynch@longwood.edu
Office Hours: MW 9-9:50, TR 11-11:50 and by appointment


Course Description:

This course will function as a seminar which examines a variety of classic and modern science fiction through novels and other mass media offerings. Specifically the course will introduce students to the major writers, major themes, major types and classifications of science fiction from its early literary origins to its full scale blossoming in the twentieth century. The class will examine the definitions, conventions, tropes and the development of approximately a dozen significant subgenres. We will read and view works by the major figures of the twentieth century including,  Bradbury, Burroughs, Gibson, LeGuin, Wells and others.



Course Objectives:


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Discuss the works of a number of important writers in the genre
            2. Discuss the history and movements within the genre.

3. Understand and articulate ideas of genre, subgenres, and genre boundaries.

4. Identify and discuss many of the important themes in the genre

5. Closely read and analyze literary texts with precision and care;

6. Think critically about texts;

7. Orally present ideas, information, interpretations, and questions with clarity and


8. Conduct research and smoothly integrate it into their work;

9. Learn and utilize MLA documentation.


Reading Schedule (Tentative and Subject to Change)

Jan. 15: Introduction

            Definitions of Science Fiction: What is it and Why Should We Study It?

History of Science Fiction: From the Greeks to Shelley’s Frankenstein to HG

Wells and Jules Verne, etc.

            Science Fiction in America: Bellamy, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, London, Twain

            Film: The Time Machine

Jan. 17: Space Romance

   Subgenre Definition and History

              Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine, 5-71


Jan. 22: Space Opera

   Subgenre Definition and History

   Burroughs,Edgar Rice, Princess of Mars, 1-76

   Media: Flash Gordon, Tom Corbett, etc.

   Film: John Carter/Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Jan. 24: Burroughs,Edgar Rice, Princess of Mars, 76-145


Jan. 29: Aliens and Space Travel

   Subgenre Definition and History

   Bradbury, Ray, The Martian Chronicles, 1-89

   Media: Orson Wells, War of the Worlds

            Zero Hour”

   Films: Forbidden Planet, Alien 

Jan. 31: Bradbury, Ray, The Martian Chronicles, 89-end


Feb. 05:  Military

    Subgenre Definition and History

    Haldeman, Joe, The Forever War, 3-102

    Film: Starship Troopers/Ender’s Game

Feb. 07:  Haldeman, Joe, The Forever War, 103-190


Feb. 12: Haldeman, Joe, he Forever War, 191-end

Feb. 14: Feminist SF & Sexual Politics in SF

    Subgenre Definition and History

    LeGuin, Ursula, The Left Hand of Darkness, 1-97


Feb. 19: LeGuin, Ursula, The Left Hand of Darkness, 98-199

Feb. 21: LeGuin, Ursula, The Left Hand of Darkness, 200-end


Feb. 26: MIDTERM

Feb 28: Parallel Worlds and Alternate Histories

   Subgenre Definition and History


   Niven, Larry “All the Myriad Ways”  

   Leiber, Fritz, "Catch That Zeppelin"

   Turtledove, Harry, “Archetypes”

   Film: Planet of the Apes




Mar. 12: Greenberg: 

    Robinson, Kim Stanley, “The Lucky Strike”

                Choose any two others

Mar. 14: New Wave and Cyberpunk

     Subgenre Definition and History

    Gibson, Burning Chrome, 1-108


Mar. 19: Gibson, Burning Chrome, 109-end

                Film:  The Matrix

Mar. 21: Hard Science

    Subgenre Definition and History

    Greg Bear, Darwin’s Radio, 3-109


Mar. 26: Greg Bear, Darwin’s Radio,  109-217

Mar. 28: Greg Bear, Darwin’s Radio, 218-334


Apr. 02: Greg Bear, Darwin’s Radio, 335-438

Apr. 04: Greg Bear, Darwin’s Radio,  439-end


Apr. 09: Man and Machine (including Artificial Intelligences)

    Subgenre Definition and History

               Dick, Philip K., Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), 1-105

               Asimov, Isaac, “Bicentennial Man”

               Media: “I Sing the Body Electric”

                “With Folded Hands”

    Film: Blade Runner

Apr. 11:  Dick, Philip K., Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)105-end


Apr. 16: Bio-Tech

   Subgenre Definition and History

   Bacigalupi, Paola. The Windup Girl, 1-85

Apr. 18: Bacigalupi, Paola. The Windup Girl, 86-179


Apr. 23: Bacigalupi, Paola. The Windup Girl, 179-264

Apr. 25: Bacigalupi, Paola. o 265-end


Course Requirements:

Two analytical essays—100 pts. each
Midterm--100 pts.

Final Exam 100 pts.
Participation, Quizzes, and Twitter--100 pts.



Scale:*A=90-100% *B=80-89% *C=70-79% *D=60-69% 
A=   460-500
A-= 450-459
B+= 435-449
B=   410-434
B-=  400-409
C+= 385-399
C=   360-384
C-=  350-359
D+= 335-349
D=   310-334
D-=  300-309

Attendance Policy:

The attendance policy for this course is the same as the university policy in the University Catalog and the Student Handbook. Thus, if you miss four or more times your grade may be reduced. Tardies will count as absences after roll is taken or unless I'm notified beforehand. No quizzes will be given out to those who come late.

Honor Code:

Students are expected to live by the Longwood University Honor Code. All work done for the class must be pledged. Your instructor will not tolerate any form of cheating. You are expected to know what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it. All ideas taken from sources, whether in texts or online, must be cited. Remember that your instructor also has access to these materials and they are easy to track on-line. Any student caught plagiarizing will automatically fail the course and his/her name will be forwarded to the Judicial Board.

Class Discussion:

Students are expected to make regular and significant contributions to class discussion. Your grade in this regard will be based upon both daily contributions during the semester and taking the lead in guiding class discussion for at least one class.

Class Participation Grading Scale:


Student is well prepared and enthusiastically participates in all class activities; is very considerate and cooperative with the rest of the class; asks questions and responds to questions; demonstrates knowledge of course materials; consistently practices critical thinking; actively helps to create a vibrant learning community.


Student is generally prepared and willing to participate in class activities; is relatively cooperative with the rest of the class; asks questions and responds to questions most of the time; makes an inconsistent effort to refer to readings and course topics; generally practices critical thinking; helps to create a vibrant learning community.


Student is often unprepared and reluctantly or sporadically participates in class activities; often does not ask questions or respond to questions; rarely makes an effort to demonstrate knowledge of course materials; rarely practices critical thinking; does not show much interest in creating a vibrant learning community.


Student is generally unprepared, unwilling to participate in class activities and unable to answer questions; does not formulate questions or responses; demonstrates little understanding of course materials; does not practice critical thinking; distracts from the creation of a vibrant learning community.


Student is absent (physically or mentally), unprepared, inattentive, uncooperative or disruptive in class.

Paper Policy:

All papers are due on the date assigned at the beginning of class. Late papers will not be accepted. No exceptions. Learning to deal with deadlines is a part of life.

Office Hours:

My office hours are posted and I will be available during these times. If you need to see me and these times are not convenient, please feel free to schedule a conference for some other mutually agreeable time.

Inclement Weather:

In the event of classes being cancelled due to inclement weather, students are expected to keep up with the reading.

Leaving Classroom:

Please don’t interrupt class by getting up and leaving unless you have an emergency.  And please don’t interrupt a second time by returning.  Once you leave please be courteous and stay out.