Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Worlds: Science Fiction and Beyond

I have been thinking a lot about science fiction lately, as I'm teaching a new third year module about it with my esteemed colleague Jake Huntley. We decided we wanted to test the boundaries of the genre so we're including some less obviously sci-fi texts alongside more generic material, and calling it 'New Worlds: Science Fiction and Beyond'. We've organised the module into four 'blocks', on time travel, scale, insects, and cities, and we're showing related film and TV in a series of screenings that run in parallel to the seminars. This is the skeletal outline we're starting with, fleshing it out along the way. The students develop their own projects.

Week 1 – Introduction Patrick Parrinder, 'Working Daydreams, Workshop Definitions', Gwyneth Jones 'The Icons of Science Fiction', Isaac Asimov, 'Let's Get Together'
screening: The Terminator (1984)

Week 2 – Time (travel) I H.G. Wells, The Time Machine; Robert Heinlein, ‘All You Zombies’; Michael Moorcock, ‘Behold the Man’ (New Worlds version)
screening: Day of the Daleks (1972)
Week 3 – Time (travel) II Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan, excerpt from Mark Currie, About Time, Laura Mulvey, 'Passing Time: Reflections on Cinema from a New Technological Age'
screening: La Jetée (1962)

Week 4 – Scale I Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels [extract]; H.G. Wells, Food of the Gods
screening: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
Week 5 – Scale II J. G. Ballard, ‘The Enormous Space’, ‘The Last World of Mr Goddard’, ‘This Way to Innerspace’; John Wyndham, ‘Meteor’; E.H. Gombrich, 'Ambiguities of the Third Dimension' (from Art and Illusion)
screening: Home (2003) (BBC adaptation of 'The Enormous Space')
Week 6 – Reading Week

Week 7 – Becoming Animal/Becoming Insect I Franz Kafka, ‘Metamorphosis’; George Langelaan, ‘The Fly’; Steven Connor 'Mutable Fly' from Fly; Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, 'Becoming Animal' from Milles Plateaux
screening: The Fly (1986)
Week 8 – Becoming Animal/Becoming Insect II Laline Paull, The Bees; Roald Dahl, ‘Royal Jelly’, Claire Preston, 'Political Bee' from Bee; Samuel Beckett, excerpt from Molloy (Moran's Bees)
screening: Alien (1979)

Week 9 – Sci Fi Cities/Architectural Space I China Mieville, The City & The City
screening: Alphaville (1965)
Week 10 – Sci Fi Cities/Architectural Space II J.G. Ballard, High Rise.
screening: Shivers (1975)

Week 11 - Project Conference
Week 12 - Project Conference

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