Class 1: What is Science Fiction?
For the first meeting, we will discuss the following essays and story:
•"Estrangement and Cognition" (Suvin, 1977) (PDF)
•"The Magazine Era, 1920 – 1960" (Attebery, Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction) (PDF)
•"Report on the Barnhouse Effect" (Vonnegut, 1950) (PDF)
For our discussion, please consider how you would define "science fiction," and whether or not you consider Vonnegut's story to be an example of the genre.
Please use this dropbox link to access the PDF readings. Subsequent course readings will include additional instructor-provided PDFs and readings from The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction, available for a 10% discount from Borderlands Bookstore.
About the Instructor
Phil Gochenour holds a PhD in comparative literature from Emory University, and has taught courses on new media, literary criticism, contemporary literature and science fiction at the University of Virginia and Towson University. His most recent essay on science fiction, "'Different Conditions Set Different Standards': The Ecology of Ethics in John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids" appeared in the New York Review of Science Fiction.