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This course will focus on a genre that has only in recent years been taken seriously as a subject for critical discourse -- speculative fiction -- and in particular will focus on relatively recent developments, as women and writers of color have increasingly found voices within what was seen for decades as a predominantly white and male genre. Throughout the semester, we're going to think about the "cognitive estrangement" that characterizes science fiction and its related subgenres, as these novels create new worlds that readers must struggle to understand. At the same time, we'll bear in mind the suggestion that all such "other worlds" narratives are always about our own world, and that tales of the future are invariably about the present. What kinds of commentary about contemporary culture can this combination of cognitive estrangement and critical perspective make possible? What kinds of political possibilities can be created through imaginative engagement with worlds radically different from -- and yet reflective of -- our own?



What should we read this summer?
(e.g. if you liked Starship Troopers, you should read the Foundation series by Asimov)

One last response

WARNING: Contains season 2 spoilers.

This is my last shot at extra credit, though BSG is still fresh and new enough in my mind that I'm pretty hesitant to dissect it.

Am I the only one...?


Am I the only one in class who does not like BSG?

Just watched the Miniseries

I just finished the Battlestar Galactica miniseries.

Problems with race

So far, the representations of gender in the show are pretty sophisticated, I was impressed in that respect. I'm much less impressed with their treatment of race. In particular, why are all the most religious characters black? I'm delving a little into the beginning of season two here, but there's Roslin's (spiritual?) adviser (the one who realizes the importance of the 12 serpents), her guard in the brig, and the quorum member from Gemenon. It makes me a little uncomfortable...

oryx and crake vs. handmaid's tale

Since both of these novels are by Atwood, I immediately began noticing similarities (and more often, differences) between them when I started reading Oryx and Crake. The two greatest similarities seem to be: the meandering narrative style, which is not my personal cup of tea but is certainly better than being dry and dull; and the overall dystopian viewpoints of the books.


Gawker, the king blog for sarcastic, jaded 20-somethings, adores Battlestar Galactica in a way I thought impossible for a bunch of bloggers so mired in their own ironic-ness. Anyway, their recaps of its goings-on are hilarious, or at least I think they are hilarious. If anyone is interested:

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