Summer 2016 - Graduate Course Description
Starnaman, Sabrina
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6392 Section 551
TR Time 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Course Title
Speculative Fiction

Description of Course:

Human survival is a central theme in literature and film, and as a genre, science fiction offers an infinite number of possible technological, environmental, and social challenges to be overcome (or not). This course explores the survival of the individual, the survival of the collective, and the survival of the human psyche in possible futures through works of fiction and film.

Questions that will guide our reading and discussions include:
• How do the needs of the many weigh against the need of the individual? How are priorities of the many or the one determined?
• Are the costs of survival worth the price that is paid to endure?
• What does survival mean?
• Is “adapt or die” a truth? Are there exceptions to this adage?

As a graduate course it is expected that students will not only read the fiction texts and films carefully and critically, but they will also use ideas presented in relevant articles of cultural theory to elaborate on ideas presented in the fiction or films. Moreover, this course will develop scholarly skills such as creating an annotated bibliography and formulating evocative research questions.

Required Texts:

The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. LeGuin (1971)
• ISBN-10: 1416556966
• ISBN-13: 978-1416556961
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick (1968)
• ISBN-10: 0345404475
• ISBN-13: 978-0345404473
More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)
• ISBN-10: 0375703713
• ISBN-13: 978-0375703713
The Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler (1993)
• ISBN-10: 0446675504
• ISBN-13: 978-0446675505
Perdido Street Station, China Miéville (2000)
• ISBN-10: 0345459407
• ISBN-13: 978-0345459404
“Fade to White,” Catherynne M. Valente (2012) (.pdf available on eLearning/available at
Science Fiction and Cultural Theory: A Reader, edited by Sherryl Vint (2016)
• ISBN-10: 1138814997
• ISBN-13: 978-1138814998

Copies of the texts are available at Off Campus Books.
Off Campus Books (located behind Fuzzy’s Tacos)
561 W. Campbell Road, #201
Richardson, TX 75080

Bladerunner (Director’s Cut) (1982/1992)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Black Mirror: “The Entire History of You.” Season 1, ep. 3. BBC (2011)
Black Mirror: “Be Right Back.” Season 2, ep. 1. BBC (2013)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Assignments will likely include:

Annotated bibliography entries for theoretical essays
Shared responsibility for class discussion
Paper abstract drawn from course abstracts (500 words max)
Active class participation

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