Issues in Speculative Fiction


Examines a range of fantastic and science fiction narratives from the nineteenth century onwards, and observes their transformations of conventional narrative patterns. We shall consider the ways in which these dreamscapes reflect and engage with cultural and social concerns such as gender, religion, war, and the concept of virtual reality.



  • Semester 2 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate a close acquaintance with a number of literary works in the genres of fantasy and speculative fiction;

2. Interpret and analyse literary works, in particular the practice of speculative fiction;

3. Demonstrate familiarity with critical debates surrounding works in genres of speculative fiction;

4. Reflect on the representation of cultural elements in literary forms at advanced undergraduate level;

5. Write analytic and research essays at advanced undergraduate level.


The course will trace the history of speculative fiction. Material studied is likely to include:

  1. One or two works from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when science fiction and fantastic literature began to become an important genre especially for reflection on social issues;
  2. Texts from the genres of fantasy and science fiction from across the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries that address serious social and cultural concerns;
  3. Texts that have furthered the narrative development of science fiction and fantasy genres;
  4. One or two culturally significant films in the genre of sf and/or fantasy.

We shall consider theoretical issues surrounding speculative narrative.

Assumed Knowledge

ENGL2000 or 40 units of English.

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: 2 short assignments (1000 words each)

Essay: Research Essay (2000 words)

Quiz: Short quizzes across semester

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term