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ENGLISH 217 Fantasy & Science Fiction Survey


Survey reading course of fantasy and science fiction, a unique literary genre with an unparalleled and still growing popularity. Selected readings cover a diverse spectrum of fantasy and science fiction. Oral and written discussion of readings and their relevance to current trends will be emphasized. Analytical or original creative writings will be included.


Welcome to the Fantasy and Science Fiction Survey of literature course. If you love to read stories about adventure, magic, and strange aliens, you have come to the right place. The last hundred years has produced a wealth of wonderful stories, and in our short number of weeks, we will only have time for a taste of the incredible tales that exist. So, to begin, it is very important to realize we will be reading A LOT. We will also spend much of our time talking about what we have read and what it meant then and now, so you need to participate and share your ideas (really it will be quite boring if you just listen to me for an hour, so speak up!!)

Because these two genres are related, we will be moving between them to show how they have affected one another. We will look at short stories, novels, and even a little poetry as well as watching a few movies. Fantasy has a long history, and we will touch upon its background and discuss how science fiction is related and where they differ from each other. I hope that you enjoy all the stories we will be reading; I know I will!!

Dr. Lyn Neylon 

Course Content

  1. Reading, discussion and analysis of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, representing a broad sampling of themes (i.e., Aliens: almost human, mostly animal, invading aliens, alien first encounters, alien creation of “life,” alien worlds or mythical/magical creatures, sorcery, ghosts, demons, etc.) and authors (i.e., Swift, Wells, Burroughs, Verne, Tolkien, Lewis, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, Le Guin, Vonnegut, Zelazny, etc.)
  2. Analysis of the literary forms of the genres of science fiction and fantasy and how they come together to create the sci fi/fantasy fiction, differentiating from other forms of popular fiction
  3. Outline the development of sci fi/fantasy fiction. Discuss historical, social, philosophical and cultural aspects that shaped the genres and changed through time with new generations of writers and readers
  4. Write short evaluative essays that explain how specific short stories and novels fit the sci/fi or fantasy mode
  5. Give an oral presentation about a sci fi or fantasy novel not covered in class. Include information that illustrates how the novel meets genre requirements and its position within a historical time frame
  6. Write an analytical essay evaluating a particular novel OR create a short original sci fi or fantasy story that incorporates the defining factors of the genre

Course Objectives (Expected Student Learning Outcomes)

Students will be able to:

  1. Define and describe vocabulary necessary for understanding sci fi/fantasy fiction discussed in class.
  2. Describe the evolution of sci fi/fantasy fiction in terms of theme, writing style and conventions as well as the historical, social, philosophical and cultural changes that contributed to its development.
  3. Identify the components that separate sci fi/fantasy fiction from other genres.
  4. Recognize the major themes of fantasy and science fiction in various genres (earlier science fiction magazines and pulp novels compared to modern short story, novel, cinema, etc.).
  5. Analyze literary components such as title significance, changes in the major character, nature of the central conflict, and uses of symbolism.
  6. Identify how sci fi/fantasy fiction can incorporate other genres (such as mystery) without losing its sci fi/fantasy focus.
  7. Evaluate in writing the general purpose of a work of fantasy and science fiction regardless of its topics, thematic content or style of presentation to perceive how it instructs and offers opportunities for learning and reaction.
Last Updated: 10/05/2014

Eng 217 image

Eng 217

Dr. Lyn Neylon-Craft

English as a Second Language

Office:  B-355
Hours:  Posted on door
Phone:  619-660-4241
Fax:  619-660-4399

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