World Building: The Science of Fiction

Single Semester Course

What distinguishes science fiction from other kinds of fiction? How do we establish rules for an imagined universe? Creating a believable story requires context and rules; science fiction inherently changes the rules of our existing world to say something new.

In this class, we will explore a wide range of classic and modern science fiction stories and analyze how the authors build and communicate their vision. Students will assess the plausibility of different stories and discover how even speculative fiction about the future reflects the culture and society of its author. Texts will include short-story collections and short novels. We will also workshop and analyze how great stories balance surprising their readers while also explaining a new world to them.