Science Fiction, Technology, and Society (350:377) Spring, 2007
Professor H. Bruce Franklin Office: Hill 515 Phone: 973-353-5279 ext. 515
Office Hours: MON: 1:00-2:00; WED 2:30-3:30; and by appointment.
REQUIRED TEXTS: (Editions listed are those ordered at New Jersey Books and Bradley Hall. You may substitute except where noted.)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Or the Modern Prometheus.
H. Bruce Franklin, Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the 19th Century. Rutgers University Press, 1995. [Do not use any earlier edition of this book.]
William Gibson, Burning Chrome. Ace Books.
H. G. Wells, The Time Machine. Bantam.
Joe Haldeman, The Forever War. Avon Books [Do not use any edition earlier than 1997; the text has been revised.]
Stanislaw Lem, Solaris. Harcourt Brace.
Gardner Dozois, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection. St. Martin's. (Be sure to get the Twenty-Third Collection, published in 2006. Many inexpensive copies are available on the internet.)
Octavia Butler, Kindred. Beacon Press.
James Gunn, ed., The Road to Science Fiction #3: From Heinlein to Here. Various publishers. (This book will be available for purchase in class.)
This is an interdisciplinary course designed for students with serious interest in the subject. Although no previous knowledge is required, the readings may challenge your intelligence and imagination and will certainly demand considerable time and thought. Assignments must be completed by the indicated dates.
January 24 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).
January 29 In Future Perfect: Introduction; Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Birthmark" (1843); "The Artist of the Beautiful" (1844); "Automata"; Herman Melville, "The Bell-Tower" (1855); Fitz-James O'Brien, "The Diamond Lens" (1858).
January 31 Please bring Future Perfect to class.
February 5 Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979).
February 7 In Future Perfect: Edgar Allan Poe, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (1845); Jack London, "A Thousand Deaths" (1899); In Road to SF: Larry Niven, “The Jigsaw Man” (1967).
February 12 In Future Perfect: "Women's Work"; Annie Denton Cridge, "Man's Rights" (1870); Mary E. Bradley Lane, Mizora (1880). In Road to SF: Joanna Russ, "When It Changed" (1972).
February 14 In Future Perfect: "Time Travel"; "Four-Dimensional Space" (1885); Mark Twain, "From the 'London Times' of 1904" (1898); "The Perfect Future"; William Harben, "In the Year Ten Thousand" (1892); In Road to SF: Frederik Pohl, “Day Million” (1966).
February 19 H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895).
February 21 In Future Perfect: "Space Travel"; Washington Irving, "The Men of the Moon" (1809); Edward Bellamy, "The Blindman's World" (1886). In Road to SF: Arthur C. Clarke, "The Sentinel" (1951).
February 26 In Road to SF: Isaac Asimov, “Reason” (1941); Tom Godwin, “The Cold Equations” (1954); Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore) “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (1943). In William Gibson, Burning Chrome: "The Gernsback Continuum" (1981).
February 28 In Road to SF: Theodore Sturgeon, “Thunder and Roses” (1947); Judith Merril, "That Only a Mother" (1948).
March 5 In Road to SF: William Tenn (Philip Klass), “Brooklyn Project” (1948); Harlan Ellison, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” (1967)
March 7 In Road to SF: Harry Harrison, “The Streets of Ashkelon” (1962); In Year’s Best SF: Ken MacLeod, “A Case of Consilience” (2005).
March 19 Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (1961). (Note that you have twelve days to read Solaris, which is a challenging book.)
March 21 In Road to SF: Robert A. Heinlein, “All You Zombies” (1959); Gordon R. Dickson, “Dolphin’s Way” (1964).
March 26 In Road to SF: Robert Sheckley, “Pilgrimage to Earth” (1956); Philip K. Dick, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” (1966); Norman Spinrad, “The Big Flash” (1969).
March 28 Please bring Road to SF to class.
April 2 Joe Haldeman, The Forever War (1974; 1997).
April 4 In William Gibson, Burning Chrome: "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" (1977); "Johnny Mnemonic" (1981).
April 9 In Burning Chrome: "New Rose Hotel" (1983); "Burning Chrome" (1985); "The Winter Market" (1986).
April 11 In Burning Chrome: "Hinterlands" (1983); In Year's Best SF: Elizabeth Bear, “Two Dreams on Trains” (2005).
April 16 In Year's Best SF: Daryl Gregory, “Second Person, Present Tense” (2005); Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy, “Mayfly” (2005).
April 18 In Year's Best SF: Paolo Bacigalupi, “The Calorie Man” (2005).
April 23 In Year's Best SF: Hannu Rajaniemi, “Deus Ex Homine” (2005).
April 25 In Year's Best SF: Mary Rosenblum, “Search Engine” (2005).
April 30 Final day for
submission of original short story or essay (minimum length 2,500
not leave the writing or typing of this project for the last
minute. The hard copy is due in class. You must also submit a
digitized copy, either on a disk or by e-mail, within 24 hours of this
There will be frequent brief tests on the readings, usually on the day they are due. These are not meant to be ambushes but aids for reading and for our discussion. There will be a final examination but no mid-term.
In determining the grade for the course, approximately equal weight will be given to (1) the brief tests, (2) the short story or essay, and (3) the final examination. In addition, each student's work will be evaluated on overall performance, with attention given to attendance, participation in discussion, and the level of knowledge and understanding ultimately reached.
Instructions for Writing Project
The essay or short story you are writing for this course is an opportunity for an original, valuable achievement. Think of it as something you are preparing for publication. That is, you are addressing an audience of reasonably intelligent strangers whom you must entice to read your work and who will have a valuable experience reading it. Most questions about form and content can be answered easily if you put yourself in your readers' shoes. The essay or story should also contribute to your readers' understanding of some aspect of the subject matter of the course.
The minimum length is 2,500 words. If you are having difficulty reaching this length, you can be sure there is some problem in your conception and development of your essay or story. There is no maximum length.
On proper use and acknowledgement of sources, be sure you have a copy of the Rutgers Policy on Academic Integrity and are familiar with its contents, especially the sections on Level 2 and Level 3 violations. The penalty for submitting a purchased or plagiarized paper is suspension from the University.
The physical appearance of your work should be attractive and professional looking. It should be double-spaced throughout, and the print should be very black (not gray and faded) and pleasant to read. There is no adequate excuse for frequent errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. So allow yourself ample time for spell checking and proofreading.
Extensions without penalty will be granted only for medical or other emergencies. Be sure to keep a back-up copy of your paper. Barring any catastrophe, the graded paper will be returned to you at the time of the final examination. The comments on your paper (which may be extensive) are intended for your future benefit, not as a rationale for the grade; please study them with care.