Lee Konstantinou, Assistant Professor, English Department

How will new developments in biotechnology transform the human species? Will artificial intelligence supplant humans in the workplace (or on the planet)? What effect will climate change have on human societies? How will accelerating rates of technological change affect political, social, legal, and economic life?

This class will introduce you to adventurous, rigorous, artfully written science fiction that attempt to imagine answers to these questions. We will study important examples of technically and politically informed science fiction. We will investigate the major questions these fictions ask, and we will study recent scholarly and craft-oriented accounts of how the genre works.

Based on the examples we study, you will develop a science fiction short story of your own. Your story will be a research-grounded and technically informed, but it will also aspire to tell a compelling human story of the future that gives us a new perspective on the present. Authors we will read might include Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin, William Gibson, Octavia Butler, Neal Stephenson, Margaret Atwood, Ted Chiang, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Vandana Singh.