Skip to main content

ENG 305: Science Fiction

Course Description

This course will focus on an intensive study of science fiction. The reading ranges from works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mary Shelley, and H. G. Wells, to contemporary authors like Orson Scott Card and P. D. James. Other authors will be studied, including Huxley, Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein, Dick, and LeGuin. The course will consider the history of science fiction, the "mad scientist," dystopian societies, science fiction as a means of anticipating the future, and the impact of science on society. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and evolution of science fiction
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic elements of science fiction, including plot, character, theme, symbolism, irony, and setting
  3. Discuss and write about major themes of science fiction, such as the “mad scientist” and dystopian societies
  4. Write about science fiction in a meaningful, thoughtful way, carefully examining the intent of the authors as well as the interpretations made by readers
  5. Articulate a vision of the place of science in the world – past, present and future - as seen through the eyes of the authors studied in the course
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of traditions and themes in science fiction literature, including how science fiction anticipates the future
  7. Demonstrate a basic understanding of literary criticism as it applies to science fiction

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)

Weight

Essay #1 (Week 5)

15%

Essay #2 (Week 8)

15%

Essay #3 (Week 12)

15%

Online Class Participation In Weekly Discussion Boards

30%

Comprehensive Final Exam

25%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

The following works are required reading for the course. They are all available online, used or new, as well as through libraries. Many of the older works that are in the public domain are available for free online. Use Google or another search engine to locate the works.

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Rappaccini’s Daughter (short story) by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Mimic (short story) by Donald A. Wollheim
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  • Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) by Philip K. Dick
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James

Suggested Reading

(not required)

  • James, Edward and Mendlesohn, Farah, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Additional Resources

The following movies are required viewing for this course. They may be available in local public libraries, library streaming services (Hoopla, Kanopy, etc.) or through streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, etc. Movie rental fees may apply.

  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, 1994 (Starring: Kenneth Branagh and Robert De Niro)
  • The War of the Worlds, 1953 (Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson)
  • Mimic, 1997 (Starring: Mira Sorvino)
  • Blade Runner, 1982 (Starring: Harrison Ford)
  • Children of Men, 2006 (Starring: Julianne Moore and Clive Owen)

Course Schedule

Week

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignment(s)

1

1 - 6

  • Read: Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Read the first half of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.

2

1 - 6

  • Read the second half of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • View the movie version of Kenneth Branaugh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankestein
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.

3

1 - 6

  • Read the first half of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments

4

1 - 6

  • Read the second half of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.
  • View the movie version of The War of the Worlds.
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.

5

1 - 7

  • Read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Essay 1 Due

6

1 - 6

  • Read 1984 by George Orwell and Mimic by Donald Wollhein
  • View the movie Mimic
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.

7

1 - 6

  • Read I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.
8
1 - 7
  • Read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Essay 2 Due
9
1 - 6
  • Read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.
10
1 - 6
  • Read the first half of Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) by Philip K. Dick
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.
11
1 - 6
  • Read the second half of Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) by Philip K. Dick.
  • View the film Blade Runner.
  • See discussion board for specific discussion assignments.
12
1 - 7
  • Read The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin
  • Essay 3 Due
13
1 - 6
  • Read the first half of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
  • Begin review and study for the final exam.
14
1 - 6
  • Read the second half of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
  • Review and study for the final exam.

15

1 - 7

  • Read The Children of Men by P. D. James.
  • View the movie: Children of Men
  • Comprehensive Final Exam Due

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.