• Register
  • Login
  •          

    You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Image
      Non-dune discussion

    Moderators: Omphalos, Freakzilla, ᴶᵛᵀᴬ

    You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 06 Mar 2016 21:45

    I started this thread cause I'm taking a pretty interesting science fiction literature course right now. If you were a professor teaching a college level course on SF, what novels/ short stories would you require? Obviously there are going to have to be subgenres and periods that you glaze over a little bit --but I'd say 6-10 novels (if some are on the shorter side) is pretty standard, with a few short stories thrown in here and there, and maybe 1-2 films (we did Metropolis in the one I'm taking now).



    Since my reading in the genre has been heavily skewed towards novels over short stories, I think I'd probably do something like:

    first unit:
    Frankenstein
    The Time Machine
    Star Maker

    second unit:
    2001: a space odyssey (film)
    A Canticle for Leibowitz
    Dune
    There Will Come Soft Rains
    any well known PKD short story

    third unit:
    Ender's Game
    Burning Chrome and Johnny Mnemonic (Gibson short stories)
    Revelation Space
    Hyperion


    Really tough to narrow it down...you have to leave out so much!
    User avatar
    Sandwurm88
    Not Soleman
     
    Posts: 541
    Joined: 24 Jul 2009 10:16

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Omphalos » 08 Mar 2016 12:37

    Not a bad list for identifying important works during certain eras of the genre. The first unit looks pretty solid, though a little light. Id add some shorter works. Maybe Benjamin Buttons or The Machine Stops.

    The second unit needs some work. I think you should put in some New Wave stuff, like The Genocides. And there is better known Bradbury; Maybe Fahrenheit 451. For a college course I might consider leaving Dune out. It's too massive a work. Maybe go with some older Niven/Pournelle, like Mote in God's Eye

    the third unit needs some work. That stuff is too old. I'd shitcan the Gibson stuff and add some Banks. Shitcan Revelation Space and add some Peter Watts.

    But if I were doing this from Scratch I would arrange it not by era, but by theme. Hit on some big SF themes and find great works that way. For example:

    Dystopia: The Machine Stops, The Futurological Congress, Arslan, Watchmen, City of Truth
    Alternate History: Beyond Thirty, Behold the Man, Farthing
    Satire: Harrison Bergeron, Planet of the Apes, Slaughterhouse Five
    Colonization: After Worlds Collide, Rocannon's World, the Legacy of Heorot
    Dying Earth: Last and First Men, A World out of Time, Lilith's Brood, The Gunslinger
    Ecology: Earth Abides, The Drowned World, Ecotopia
    Space Opera: something by Banks, a Foundation story, Old Man's War

    I know that is too much for a single class, but you get the idea. Look at how SF treats important ideas, then go through them chronologically and show how attitudes about those ideas have changed as time has passed. IMHO that is the best way to teach a bunch of kids who don't know sf well what it is really about.
    User avatar
    Omphalos
    Inglorious Bastard
     
    Posts: 6569
    Joined: 05 Feb 2008 11:07
    Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Naib » 08 Mar 2016 14:57

    For early scifi I would add the Lensmen series.

    I would also look at foreign scifi with Perry Rhodan (series) and Stanislaw Lem.

    As a special unit I would look at the relevancy of classic scifi in a modern world with special attention on The Space Merchants by C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl.
    User avatar
    Naib
     
    Posts: 234
    Joined: 30 Jan 2014 15:54

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Ampoliros » 08 Mar 2016 23:17

    I'd add some Verne to part I.

    I also second that part III needs some Banks. Probably The Player of Games, or maybe Matter.
    Semper Fidelis Tyrannosaurus
    User avatar
    Ampoliros
     
    Posts: 2516
    Joined: 14 Mar 2008 11:22
    Location: I think we took a wrong turn...

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Mar 2016 05:27

    Asimov, Foundation or maybe Robots of Dawn
    Image
    Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
    ~Pink Snowman
    User avatar
    Freakzilla
    Lead Singer and Driver of the Winnebego
     
    Posts: 18055
    Joined: 05 Feb 2008 01:27
    Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Robspierre » 10 Mar 2016 00:04

    Need a Heinlein juvenile in there, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, or Citizen of the Galaxy.

    I would probably go with some other Gibson short fiction, something that fits the modern era more...

    You also need more women authors, James Tiptree Jr, Anne McCaffrey, CJ Cherryh, Ursula K.Leguin, etc.

    Rob
    User avatar
    Robspierre
     
    Posts: 2160
    Joined: 19 Feb 2008 10:49
    Location: Cascadia

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Freakzilla » 11 Mar 2016 06:03

    Robspierre wrote:You also need more women authors, James Tiptree Jr, Anne McCaffrey, CJ Cherryh, Ursula K.Leguin, etc.


    Julian May
    Image
    Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
    ~Pink Snowman
    User avatar
    Freakzilla
    Lead Singer and Driver of the Winnebego
     
    Posts: 18055
    Joined: 05 Feb 2008 01:27
    Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Naib » 11 Mar 2016 07:16

    Freakzilla wrote:
    Robspierre wrote:You also need more women authors, James Tiptree Jr, Anne McCaffrey, CJ Cherryh, Ursula K.Leguin, etc.


    Julian May


    Andre Norton
    User avatar
    Naib
     
    Posts: 234
    Joined: 30 Jan 2014 15:54

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Omphalos » 11 Mar 2016 11:55

    You could have a separate graduate level course on women's contribution to SF, and if there is a brain in your head it will present Octavia Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin as the dual centerpieces. Two of the best the genre has to offer, of either gender.
    User avatar
    Omphalos
    Inglorious Bastard
     
    Posts: 6569
    Joined: 05 Feb 2008 11:07
    Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby SadisticCynic » 11 Mar 2016 13:50

    Omphalos wrote:You could have a separate graduate level course on women's contribution to SF, and if there is a brain in your head it will present Octavia Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin as the dual centerpieces. Two of the best the genre has to offer, of either gender.


    I've never read any Butler, and a quick look at her Wiki tells me she has a few different series to choose from (besides standalone). Any suggestions on where to start?
    Ah English, the language where pretty much any word can have any meaning! - A Thing of Eternity
    User avatar
    SadisticCynic
     
    Posts: 1999
    Joined: 07 Apr 2009 09:28
    Location: In Time or in Space?

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Omphalos » 11 Mar 2016 16:31

    SadisticCynic wrote:
    Omphalos wrote:You could have a separate graduate level course on women's contribution to SF, and if there is a brain in your head it will present Octavia Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin as the dual centerpieces. Two of the best the genre has to offer, of either gender.


    I've never read any Butler, and a quick look at her Wiki tells me she has a few different series to choose from (besides standalone). Any suggestions on where to start?


    Lilith's Brood/Xenogenesis is my favorite. http://www.omphalosbookreviews.com/inde ... ws/info/76

    Fledgling is really good too, but it's not really a SF story.

    But honestly everything is good. Even the book that she later disowned.
    User avatar
    Omphalos
    Inglorious Bastard
     
    Posts: 6569
    Joined: 05 Feb 2008 11:07
    Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Robspierre » 11 Mar 2016 22:18

    The genre lost Butler too soon, she was a true genius and an amazing writer.


    Rob
    User avatar
    Robspierre
     
    Posts: 2160
    Joined: 19 Feb 2008 10:49
    Location: Cascadia

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby xcalibur » 29 May 2016 19:04

    Robspierre wrote:Need a Heinlein juvenile in there, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, or Citizen of the Galaxy.

    Freakzilla wrote:Asimov, Foundation or maybe Robots of Dawn

    Omphalos wrote:For a college course I might consider leaving Dune out. It's too massive a work.


    I agree, this is what I was going to post.

    obviously Dune is one of the greatest of all time and a personal favorite, but it's too rich and deep for a semester. I'd add it to the further reading list, alongside The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Rendezvous with Rama.
    Fremen : Museum Fremen :: Frank : Brian & Kevin
    xcalibur
     
    Posts: 50
    Joined: 18 Sep 2015 08:23

    Re: You're Teaching a Course on SciFi...What's On the Syllabus?

    Postby Hunchback Jack » 13 Jun 2016 21:21

    I would definitely sprinkle in more short works, rather than focusing exclusively on novels. Short stories were the mainstay of SF through much of its history, and you can get a wider range of material, too.
    "The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
    - Carl Sagan

    I'm still very proud of The Quarry but … let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel.
    - Iain Banks
    User avatar
    Hunchback Jack
     
    Posts: 1980
    Joined: 30 May 2008 15:02
    Location: California, USA


    Return to ˲

    Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests