In association with the Mythgard Institute, Professor Amy H. Sturgis will be teaching the course Science Fiction, Part I – From Modern Beginnings through the Golden Age (1818-1966), described thusly:

What does it mean to be human? Are we alone? What wonders or terrors will tomorrow hold? Join award-winning scholar Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she explores the ways in which the literature of science fiction over time has asked the question: “What if?” This course will consider the development of the genre from “proto-SF” writings through the Golden Age, with an eye toward how the great works and movements within science fiction both reflect the concerns and attitudes of their time and imagine beyond them. Discover why author Ray Bradbury called science fiction “the most important literature in the history of the world.”


Here are the required texts:

  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One: 1929-1964: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time – edited by Robert Silverberg
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two A: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time – edited by Ben Bova
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
  • We – Yevgeny Zamyatin*
  • The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury*
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein

The 12-week course schedule sounds incredibly enticing…especially for fans of classic sf.

WEEK 1 (AUGUST 27-31): Proto-Science Fiction, Frankenstein, and the Birth of Modern SF
READING: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

WEEK 2 (SEPTEMBER 3-7): Ratiocination, Technology, and the Growth of the Genre
READINGS:

  • “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1844)
  • “The Diamond Lens” by Fitz-James O’Brien (1858)
  • “Mellonta Tauta” by Edgar Allan Poe (1859)

WEEK 3 (SEPTEMBER 10-14): Jules Verne and the Scientific Romance
READING: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)

WEEK 4 (SEPTEMBER 17-21): H.G. Wells and the Science Fiction Parable
READINGS:

  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)
  • “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster (1909)

WEEK 5 (SEPTEMBER 24-28): Utopia, Dystopia, and Lost Worlds
READING: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1924)

WEEK 6 (OCTOBER 1-5): The Pulps, The Editors, and Scientifiction
READINGS:

  • “The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft (1927)
  • Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell (1938)
  • “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov (1941)

WEEK 7 (OCTOBER 8-12): Early SF, Gender, and the Rise of Fandom
READINGS:

  • “First Contact” by Murray Leinster (1945)
  • Vintage Season by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner (1946)
  • “That Only A Mother” by Judith Merrill (1948)

WEEK 8 (OCTOBER 15-19): World War II and Its Aftermath
READING: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950)

WEEK 9 (OCTOBER 22-26): Science Fiction, the Frontier, and the Young Adult Reader
READINGS:

  • “The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke (1951)
  • “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin (1954)
  • “Fondly Fahrenheit” by Alfred Bester (1954)

WEEK 10 (OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 2): Science Fiction Film and Television
READING: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (1960)

WEEK 11 (NOVEMBER 5-9): Science Fiction Goes Epic
READING: Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)

WEEK 12 (NOVEMBER 12-16): Robert Heinlein and the Golden Age
READING: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (1966)

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