The full syllabus is available here: syllabus.pdf.
Thursday, September 3. Introduction.
- Suvin, “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre.”
- Rieder, Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System, chap. 1.
- Optional: Delany, “Aye, and Gomorrah….”
Thursday, September 10. Cultural capital.
- Guillory, Cultural Capital, preface and chap. 1.
- Lamont and Lareau, “Cultural Capital.”
- Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital.”
Thursday, September 17. Emergence (1): scientiﬁc romance.
- Luckhurst, Science Fiction, chaps. 1–2.
- Wells, The Time Machine (1895).
- Browse periodical contexts for the earliest versions of The Time Machine in the references on the course website at sf20.blogs.rutgers.edu/wells.
Thursday, September 24. Emergence (2): pulps.
- Look through at least the two earliest numbers of Amazing Stories on the Pulp Magazines Project. Read editorial paratexts, and pay attention to advertisements. Read:
- Wertenbaker, “The Man From the Atom.” The sequel, in Amazing 1, no. 2, is optional. As for circulation, consider this story’s ﬁrst appearance in Science and Invention 11, no. 4 (August 1923).
- Wells, “The New Accelerator.” Consider this story’s ﬁrst appearance in the Strand 22, no. 132 (December 1901).
- Stone, “The Conquest of Gola” (1931). Read around in this issue of Wonder Stories.
- Look through the August 1938 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction on the Pulp Magazines Project. Read, collected from later issues:
- Asimov, “Reason” (ASF, April, 1941).
- Asimov, “Runaround” (ASF, March, 1942). First in fabula order.
- Luckhurst, Science Fiction, chap. 3.
Thursday, October 1. Cliques and critique.
- Pohl and Kornbluth, The Space Merchants (1953).
- Luckhurst, Science Fiction, chap. 5.
- Look through Galaxy on the Internet Archive:
- In the ﬁrst number (October, 1950), read the introductory editorial, the back cover, and look carefully at ads.
- Consider the periodical context for Gravy Planet, Galaxy 4, nos. 3–5 (June–August, 1952).
- Cheng, Astounding Wonder, chap. 7.
Thursday, October 8. Renovation.
- Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974), at least through chap. 7.
- Le Guin, “American SF and the Other.”
- Jameson, “World Reduction in Le Guin.”
- Ellison, introduction to Dangerous Visions.
- Ballard, “Which Way To Inner Space?” and Ballard, “Fictions of Every Kind.”
- Smith, “Women Science Fiction Writers Don’t Sell.”
- Delany, “To Read The Dispossessed” (1976) (excerpts).
Thursday, October 15. Speciﬁc forms of consecration.
- Le Guin, The Dispossessed, complete.
- Le Guin, “A Response, by Ansible, from Tau Ceti.”
- Le Guin’s awards:
- Franson and DeVore, Hugo, Nebula, and International Fantasy Awards.
- Gunn, Nebula Award Stories Ten, introduction and 249–54. Optional: Le Guin’s story about Odo, “The Day Before the Revolution.”
- Watch at least the ﬁrst four minutes of Le Guin’s AussieCon Guest of Honor speech (1975).
- Watch the recording of Neil Gaiman’s presentation of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards (2014) and Le Guin’s acceptance speech (or read the latter).
- English, The Economy of Prestige, introduction and chap. 3.
- Streitfeld, “Literary Lions Unite.”
- Streitfeld, “Writing Nameless Things.”
- Le Guin in the Library of America:
- Luckhurst, Science Fiction, chap. 8.
Thursday, October 22. Coolness and cyberpunk.
- Gibson, Burning Chrome, selections:
- The preface by Bruce Sterling.
- “Source Code: An Introduction” (2002).
- “The Gernsback Continuum” (1981).
- “Johnny Mnemonic” (1981).
- “Burning Chrome” (1982).
- Gibson, “Time Machine Cuba.”
- Luckhurst, Science Fiction, chap. 9.
- Materials on Gibson’s early reception (thanks to Suzanne Boswell):
- Gomoll, “An Open Letter to Joanna Russ,” and Sterling, letter to the editor, in reply.
- Adam, “Cyberhero.”
- Gibson, “Cyberspace ’90.”
- Jennings, “New Wave Science Fiction.”
- Carter, “Inside Science Fiction Publishing.” The whole section on “Science Fiction Today” (41–76) is of interest.
Thursday, October 29. Butler: what is an (SF) author?
- Butler, The Parable of the Sower (1993), at least through chap. 17.
- Wilson, Clarion, introduction.
- Two news articles on Butler’s 1995 MacArthur grant:
- Griest, “A Grab Bag Of Geniuses.”
- Streitfeld, “A Life Apart.”
- Rowell, “An Interview with Octavia E. Butler.”
- Butler, “Positive Obsession.” Compare the fragmentary scan of the essay’s original appearance in Essence 20, no. 1 (May 1989).
- Canavan, Octavia E. Butler, chaps. 1, 6.
Thursday, November 5. Butler’s centrality.
- Butler, The Parable of the Sower, complete. Read the materials at the back of the book.
- Kilgore and Samantrai, “A Memorial to Octavia E. Butler.”
- Thomas, Dark Matter, table of contents and introduction; browse “Contributors.”
- Batty, review of Dark Matter and Whisphers from the Cotton Tree Root, 209–13.
- In and around Imarishah and brown, Octavia’s Brood:
- Sheree Renée Thomas, foreword.
- Walidah Imarishah, introduction.
- Tananarive Due, “The Only Lasting Truth.”
- The anthology’s indiegogo crowfunding page.
- Final paper abstracts due on course blog.
Thursday, November 12. Canon and empire.
- Zahn, Heir to the Empire (1991).
- Familiarize yourself with the problem of the canon by reading the following in Wookieepedia: the plot synopses of Episodes IV–VII (sic): A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens; “Star Wars Legends”; “Canon.”
- Optionally, watch The Force Awakens (2015; requires paid subscription to Disney+).
- Guynes, “Publishing the New Jedi Order.” The interview with senior media-studies scholar Henry Jenkins in the same volume is also interesting as a reception document.
Thursday, November 19. Omnivores at the SF Buﬀet.
- Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005).
- Peterson and Kern, “Changing Highbrow Taste.”
- Lizardo and Skiles, “Reconceptualizing and Theorizing ‘Omnivorousness.’”
- From the Swedish Academy materials on Ishiguro’s 2017 Nobel:
- Sara Danius, “Award Ceremony Speech.”
- “Biobibliographical Notes.”
- Optional: Ishiguro, “My Twentieth Century Evening—and Other Small Breakthroughs.”
(Thursday, November 26. Thanksgiving.)
(Monday, November 30.)
- Preliminary writing on ﬁnal paper due on Sakai, building on paper abstract for course blog.
Thursday, December 3. SF and the globe.
- Okorafor, Lagoon (2014). Consider the following contexts for the novel:
- Smith, “Crisis in Nigeria as President Drops Out of View.”
- Browse the Language Varieties website page on Naijá.
- Glimpses of Nigerian reception:
- Onwualu, “Why We Need to Hear Stories.”
- Okorafor, “Nnedi Okorafor Wins the Wole Soyinka Prize.”
- Glimpses of US reception: us and:
- Dobbs, “Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon.”
- Optional: Marquis, “The Alien Within.”
Thursday, December 10.
- Research presentations.
Friday, January 15, at 4:30 p.m.
- Final paper due to the graduate oﬃce via Sakai. Please send me a copy as well.
Asimov, Isaac. “Reason.” In The Complete Robot, 227–44. Available on Sakai.
_________. “Runaround.” In The Complete Robot, 209–26. Available on Sakai.
_________. The Complete Robot. New York: Doubleday, 1982.
Ballard, J. G. A User’s Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews. London: HarperCollins, 1996.
_________. “Fictions of Every Kind.” In A User’s Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews, 205–7. Available on Sakai.
_________. “Which Way To Inner Space?” In A User’s Guide to the Millennium: Essays and Reviews, 195–98. Available on Sakai.
Batty, Nancy E. Review of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree Thomas, and Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, edited by Nalo Hopkinson. Ariel 33, no. 1 (January 2002): 209–216. https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/ariel/article/view/34801.
Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Forms of Capital.” Chap. 2 in Education: Culture, Economy, and Society, edited by A. H. Halsey, Hugh Lauder, Phillip Brown, and Amy Stuart Wells. 1983. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Available on Sakai.
Butler, Octavia E. “Positive Obsession.” In Bloodchild and Other Stories, 2nd ed., 123–35. New York: Seven Stories, 2005. Available on Sakai.
_________. The Parable of the Sower. 1993. New York: Grand Central, 2019. isbn: 9781538732182.
Canavan, Gerry. Octavia E. Butler. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/lib/rutgers-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4792718.
Carter, Robert A. “Inside Science Fiction Publishing.” Publishers Weekly, May 23, 1986, 64–71. https://digitalarchives-publishersweekly-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/?a=d&d=BG19860523.1.64&e=——-en-20–1–txt-txIN%7ctxRV———-1.
Cheng, John. Astounding Wonder: Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/lib/rutgers-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3441824.
Delany, Samuel R. “Aye, and Gomorrah….” In Ellison, Dangerous Visions, 508–20. Available on Sakai.
_________. “To Read The Dispossessed.” Chap. 7 in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction, rev. ed. 1976. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2009. http://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/lib/rutgers-ebooks/detail.action?docID=776841.
Dobbs, Michael Ann. “Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon Shows Just How Messy First Contact Could Get.” io9, May 12, 2014. https://io9.gizmodo.com/nnedi-okorafors-lagoon-shows-just-how-messy-first-conta-1574019274.
Ellison, Harlan. Introduction to Dangerous Visions. Edited by Harlan Ellison. New York: Doubleday, 1967. Available on Sakai.
_________, ed. Dangerous Visions. New York: Doubleday, 1967. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/inu.30000011372871.
English, James F. The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005. Excerpt available on Sakai.
Franson, Donald, and Howard DeVore. A History of the Hugo, Nebula, and International Fantasy Awards. Dearborn, MI: Howard DeVore, 1976. Excerpt available on Sakai.
Gibson, William. Burning Chrome. 1986. New York: Harper Voyager, 2003. isbn: 9780060539825.
_________. “Cyberspace ’90.” Computerworld Campus Edition 3, no. 1 (October 31, 1990): 5–6. Available on Sakai.
_________. “Time Machine Cuba.” In Distrust That Particular Flavor, 201–9. New York: Putnam, 2012. Available on Sakai.
Gomoll, Jeanne. “An Open Letter to Joanna Russ.” Aurora 10, no. 1 (Winter 1986): 7–10. http://sf3.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/25-Vol-10-No-1.pdf.
Griest, Stephanie. “A Grab Bag Of Geniuses: MacArthur Winners Include Humanitarian Missing in Chechnya.” Washington Post, June 13, 1995, C1. https://www-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/docview/903361179?accountid=13626.
Guillory, John. Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. https://hdl-handle-net.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/2027/heb.05714.
Gunn, James, ed. Nebula Award Stories Ten. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015010246653.
Guynes, Sean. “Publishing the New Jedi Order: Media Industries Collaboration and the Franchise Novel.” Chap. 9 in Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling, edited by Sean Guynes and Dan Hassler-Forest. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. http://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/31149.
Imarishah, Walidah, and adrienne marie brown, eds. Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2015. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/lib/rutgers-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1996052.
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. 2005. New York: Vintage, 2006. isbn: 9781400078776.
Jameson, Fredric. “World Reduction in Le Guin.” In Archaeologies of the Future, 267–80. London: Verso, 2005. Available on Sakai.
Jennings, Dana Andrews. “New Wave Science Fiction.” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 1986, 30. https://search-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/docview/135243780?accountid=13626.
Kilgore, De Witt Douglas, and Ranu Samantrai. “A Memorial to Octavia E. Butler.” Science Fiction Studies 37, no. 3 (October 2010): 353–61. http://www-jstor-org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/stable/25746438.
Lamont, Michèle, and Annette Lareau. “Cultural Capital: Allusions, Gaps and Glissandos in Recent Theoretical Developments.” Sociological Theory 6 (Fall 1988): 153–68. doi:10.2307/202113.
Le Guin, Ursula K. “A Response, by Ansible, from Tau Ceti.” In The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, edited by Laurence Davis and Peter Stillman, 316–319. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/lib/rutgers-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1351155.
_________. “American SF and the Other.” Science Fiction Studies 2, no. 3 (November 1975): 208–210. https://www-jstor-org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/stable/4238969.
_________. Hainish Novels & Stories. Edited by Brian Attebery. Vol. 1. New York: Library of America, 2017. Excerpt available on Sakai.
_________. The Dispossessed. 1974. New York: Harper Voyager, 1994. isbn: 9780061054884.
Lizardo, Omar, and Sara Skiles. “Reconceptualizing and Theorizing ‘Omnivorousness’: Genetic and Relational Mechanisms.” Sociological Theory 30, no. 4 (December 2012): 263–82. https://www-jstor-org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/stable/41818930.
Luckhurst, Roger. Science Fiction. Cambridge: Polity, 2005. isbn: 9780745628936.
Marquis, Moira. “The Alien Within: Divergent Futures in Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon and Neill Blomkamp’s District 9.” Science Fiction Studies 47, no. 3 (August 2020): 398–425. doi:10.5621/scieﬁctstud.47.3.0398.
Okorafor, Nnedi. Lagoon. New York: Saga, 2014. isbn: 9781481440882.
_________. “Nnedi Okorafor Wins the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.” Nnedi’s Wahala Zone Blog, November 5, 2011. nnedi.blogspot.com/2008/11/nnedi-wins-wole-soyinka-prize-for.html.
Onwualu, Chinelo. “African Literature—Why We Need to Hear Stories About Ourselves Again.” AllAfrica, November 15, 2013. https://allafrica.com/stories/201311151189.html.
Peterson, Richard A., and Roger M. Kern. “Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore.” American Sociological Review 61, no. 5 (October 1996): 900–907. doi:10.2307/2096460.
Pohl, Frederik, and C. M. Kornbluth. The Space Merchants. 1953. New York: St. Martin’s Griﬃn, 2011. isbn: 9781250000156.
Rieder, John. Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2017. Excerpt available on Sakai.
Rowell, Charles H. “An Interview with Octavia E. Butler.” Callaloo 20, no. 1 (Winter 1997): 47–66. http://www-jstor-org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/stable/3299291.
Smith, David. “Crisis in Nigeria as President Drops Out of View.” Guardian, January 8, 2010. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/08/crisis-nigeria-president-missing.
Smith, Jeﬀrey D., ed. “Women Science Fiction Writers Don’t Sell.” Khatru, nos. 3–4 (November 1975): 74–79. http://www.fanac.org/fanzines/Khatru/Khatru03.pdf.
Sterling, Bruce. Letter to the editor. Aurora, Summer 1990, 7. http://sf3.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/26-Vol-10-No-2.pdf.
Stone, Leslie F. “The Conquest of Gola.” Wonder Stories 2, no. 11 (April 1931): 1278–87. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project.
Streitfeld, David. “A Life Apart.” Washington Post Book World, July 9, 1995, 15. https://www-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/docview/903423312?accountid=13626.
_________. “Literary Lions Unite in Protest Over Amazon’s E-Book Tactics.” New York Times, September 29, 2014, B1, B7. https://www-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/docview/1943339901?accountid=13626.
_________. “Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin.” Los Angeles Review of Books, November 17, 2017. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/writing-nameless-things-an-interview-with-ursula-k-le-guin/.
Suvin, Darko. “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre.” College English 34, no. 3 (December 1972): 372–82. doi:10.2307/375141.
Thomas, Sheree R., ed. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. New York: Warner Books, 2000. Excerpt available on Sakai.
Wells, H. G. “The New Accelerator.” Amazing Stories 1, no. 1 (April 1926): 57–61, 96. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project.
_________. The Time Machine. 1895. New York: Dover, 1995. isbn: 9780486284729. Online alternative available. Other print editions are ﬁne. Penguin and Broadview have versions with notes and other supplements.
Wertenbaker, G. Peyton. “The Man From the Atom.” Pt. 1. Amazing Stories 1, no. 1 (April 1926): 62–66. Available on the Pulp Magazines Project.
Wilson, Robin Scott, ed. Clarion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction and Criticism from the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. New York: Signet, 1971. Excerpt available on Sakai.
Zahn, Timothy. Heir to the Empire. 1991. New York: Del Rey, 1992. isbn: 9780553296129.