Science Fiction and the Classics (H) (2S)


Were you one of those kids who could never get enough Greek mythology? Or maybe Percy Jackson or The Hunger Games were more your jam. Are you an unabashed Trekkie and/or Star Wars fan? Perhaps you fancy yourself a connoisseur of more rarefied sci-fi from purists like Isaac Asimov (of Foundation and I, Robot fame) and Frank Herbert’s Dune. If any of these pique your curiosity, then this is the class for you! Many sci-fi stories we know and love today actually have their roots in ancient Greek and Roman literature. As we journey (or trek!) from antiquity to the present, we will trace the development of science fiction as a genre, uniting the ancient Greek and Roman worlds with the modern science-fiction universe. Reading assignments will be of three types: (1) primary ancient and pre-modern sources; (2) critical essays by pioneers in the field of self-conscious science-fiction writing; (3) modern science-fiction short stories, along with television shows and feature films. Most days will be occupied by Socratic-/seminar-style discussion of assigned readings and/or viewings, and the course will be capped by a research project in which students either analyze a science-fiction text not covered in class or write an original short story (screenplay, etc.) of their own that is informed by Classical texts and themes.