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Speculative Literature: Science Fiction I

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Language Arts
InstructorJosh Shaine
5-10 students
Suggested Ages: 13+ years old
Meets: Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:00 PM, starting September 2nd. 15 sessions. (No session 11/25)


Welcome to Science Fiction.  This genre of literature is primarily for fun – mind fun!  Essentially, the reader plays a thinking game, a game called “What if?”  The answers to that question -- which make take the form of novels, stories, scientific speculation, movies, TV shows, games, or websites – carry the reader into possibilities or impossible worlds, of when, where, what, how, who, and, of course, the most essential world of all, the world of why.

We will discuss a broad variety of types of science fiction, while reading (hearing), watching, and looking at examples (good and bad) that illustrate those types. All materials will be available on line at no cost for people within the United States. I expect that I can make them available for others if they should not be accessible from other countries.

We will have a few exercises along the way. Any writing or presentations you do will receive feedback. If you are willing, I would like to share it with the class.

Regardless, the number one goal is to have fun!


Session 1: Introduction; Discussion of Syllabus; Sub-genres

Session 2: The Future as History; The Malleable Past; Exercise One: Time Capsule

Session 3: Minorities as Oppressed Peoples; Minorities as Ruling Peoples

Session 4: The Changing Society; The Stagnant Society

Session 5: Religion as a Positive Force; Religion as a Negative Force; Exercise Two: The Project

Session 6: Technology the Destroyer; Technology the Creator 

Session 7:  The Aliens are here to save us! / The Aliens are here to enslave us (or worse)!

Session 8:  Exercise Three: Our Own Crystal Ball

Session 9: The Evolution of Humanity

Session 10: The Evolution of Robots

Session 11: The Evolution of Computers

Session 12: The Evolution of Animals/Insects

Session 13: The Evolution of Science Fiction

Session 14: Students' Choice of Topic

Session 15: Presentations; Summation

    Specific sessions may change based on students' interests.

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