Margaret Atwood identifies “one of the salient features of science fiction” as being “emphatically not of this here-and-now Earth.” This course will consider science and speculative fiction from this perspective, examining (mostly) contemporary novels, short stories, and films that are especially concerned with other places, times, and people. We will explore what it means for times, places, and people to be “other,” and what these “other” times, places, and people have to teach us about contemporary earthly concerns like imperialism and war, globalization, race and gender, and climate change. Our task will be to investigate how and why we continue to read tales of other worlds in an era when, as Kim Stanley Robinson has put it, “we are now living in a science fiction novel that we are all writing together.”

Clemson University