ENGL 151
Reading and Writing Science Fiction Spring 2022
Division I Writing Skills

Class Details

This course will explore some of the themes and techniques of modern science fiction by examining a range of published stories, while at the same time making some new stories of our own. Writers of fiction and non-fiction often watch each other with suspicion, as if from opposing sides of an obvious frontier. Though the goals of both forms of writing–the disciplined articulation of brainy thoughts and mighty feelings–are similar, there is a tendency in both camps to think their methods different and exclusive. The conceit of this class is to imagine that constructing a plot and constructing an argument, say, are complementary skills, and that the tricks and techniques of one type of writing can profitably be applied to the other. With this in mind, the class is made of two strands twisted together–a creative writing workshop and a course in critical analysis. There will be short weekly assignments in both types of writing, as well as two larger projects: an original science fiction short story and an interpretive/analytical essay. The assigned readings will come from an anthology of very recent work by younger writers. One of the most exciting developments in modern science fiction is the assimilation into the mainstream of formerly marginalized voices–queer, trans, Black, Asian, Native American–and our reading will reflect that trend.
The Class: Format: seminar; discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3837
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in class and a lot of writing, both critical and creative; two 12- to 20-page writing assignments (short story and analytical/interpretive essay), with revisions; half-dozen shorter writing assignments, plus written responses
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: This course will require two long writing assignments, twelve to twenty pages, one critical and one creative, each of which will go through an extensive revision process. In addition, I will assign a half-dozen shorter assignments of both types (critical and creative) and single-page critical responses to all workshopped assignments, for a total of thirty or so pages of required writing. A crucial component of the course will be its attention to writing style, strategy, and organization.
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses

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