(All books are available at Talking Leaves on Main
Quizzes: Quizzes in this class are designed simply to insure that you have done the assigned reading. They will happen sporadically throughout the course (often on days when attendance is low) and will be very easy. If you have done the reading you will ace the quiz. There are no make-up quizzes; dead dogs, broken cars, food poisoning, notes from Dr. Mom and the like will get you no consideration. If you miss a quiz (or if you come in after a quiz is over) it counts as a zero.
Group Presentation: Everyone will be assigned to a group with approximately four other students; each group will present on one of the required texts on the last day we are scheduled to discuss it. Presentations will last 20 to 30 minutes and can take a variety of forms. Everyone in the group may somehow participate in the single presentation of a single interpretation of the reading. The group could present what it feels is the most compelling theme of the text with each member adding to the general argument. Alternatively, each member of the group may present on a different aspect of the text (e.g.: present biographical research on the author, present historical research on some of the social issues current when the text was being written, articulate different themes in the text, present interpretations other scholars have offered about the text, make a comparison between a theme in the text and the same theme at work in other sci-fi material, write a postscript to the story or an alternative ending, etc.) For some presentations I will direct your group to address a specific issue or to include a particular idea in your presentation, but generally I do not want to interfere too much in the organization of the presentations. I will however speak with your group several days before your presentation in order to make sure everyone is on the same wave-length. "Go Boldly!" as the captain of the Enterprise should say, with these presentations. Feel free to bring in videos, slides, art, other texts, etc. I will reward creativity and thoughtful engagement with the text and will penalize redundancy, obviousness and lack of commitment.
The goal of these presentations is to enhance our understanding of the texts. Consequently, there will be a question period after each presentation during which I will call on other class members to ask the group questions about their text (so everyone should be prepared to ask at least one good question about each text). On the day of your presentation you will hand in one to two pages describing what you presented and how it contributed to our understanding of the text.
Paper Abstract: An abstract of your final paper is due on 14 April. This should be two to three pages discussing your final paper. I will be looking for a clear articulation of your paper's thesis and a brief elaboration of its argument. I will then write a short evaluation of your project telling you what I think you should focus on, what needs more development, and (if necessary) what ideas should be abandoned in favor of a fresh start.
Final Paper: Due on 5 May, your final paper will be eight to twelve pages long and double-spaced. You have two options for your final paper:
Final Paper % 50 Paper Abstract % 15 Group Presentation % 15 Quizzes % 10 Class Participation % 5 Class Listserv % 5 (plus possible extra credit) __________________________________________________ %100
Jan. 22 Class introduction, in-class writing; start reading Frankenstein 24 Introduction to Science Fiction, listserv administration 27 Discuss Frankenstein; read Frankenstein 29 Discuss Frankenstein, set up presentation groups and choose presentation topics; finish Frankenstein 31 Conclude Frankenstein; start News from Nowhere Feb. 3 Discuss News; read News 5 Discuss News; finish News 7 Discuss News 10 Conclude News, group presentation on News; start The Time Machine 12 Discuss Time Machine; finish Time Machine 14 Discuss Time Machine 17 Conclude Time Machine, group presentation on Time Machine; start The Martian Chronicles 19 Listen to War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, produced for radio by Orson Wells 21 No class 24 No class 26 Discuss Chronicles; finish Chronicles 28 Discuss Chronicles Mar. 3 Conclude Chronicles, group presentation on Chronicles; start The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman 5 Discuss Doctor Hoffman; read Doctor Hoffman 7 Discuss Doctor Hoffman; finish Doctor Hoffman 10 Discuss Doctor Hoffman 12 Conclude Doctor Hoffman, group presentation on Doctor Hoffman; start The Dispossessed 14 Discuss Dispossessed; read Dispossessed (spring break) 24 Discuss Dispossessed; finish Dispossessed 26 Discuss Dispossessed 28 Conclude Dispossessed, group presentation on Dispossessed; start Indivisible Cities 31 Discuss Invisible Cities; finish Invisible Cities Apr. 2 Discuss Invisible Cities 4 Conclude Invisible Cities, group presentation on Invisible Cities; start Storming the Reality Studio 7 Discuss Reality Studio; read Reality Studio 9 Discuss Reality Studio; read Reality Studio 11 Discuss Reality Studio; read Reality Studio 14 Paper Abstract is due, Discuss Reality Studio, group presentation on Reality Studio (fiction); read Reality Studio 16 Discuss Reality Studio; read Reality Studio 18 Discuss Reality Studio; finish Reality Studio 21 Conclude Reality Studio, group presentation of Reality Studio (non-fiction); start Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 23 Discuss Androids; read Androids 25 Discuss Androids; finish Androids 28 Conclude Androids 30 Regular class cancelled for film Blade Runner May 2 Regular class cancelled for film Blade Runner 5 Final Paper due, good-bye