UWB BIS 384A, Autumn 2007
Literary and Popular Genres: The Social Functions of Science Fiction

Extra stuff

Recent SF and news
"The man behind Battlestar Galactica," Salon.com (Mar 24, 2007)
"The Universal Appeal of Battlestar Galactica," NPR (Oct 21, 2006)

About reading SF genre

Precursors to SF
Brian Stableford, "Science Fiction before the Genre" (pdf)

H. G. Wells background info:
Sources on 19th-century evolutionary theory and degeneration, including essays by Wells on future human evolution (pdf)
Roger Luckhurst, "Britain: the scientific romance and the evolutionary paradigm" (pdf)
Paul Fayter, "Strange new worlds of space and time: late Victorian science and science fiction" (pdf)
I. F. Clarke, "Future-war fiction: the first main phase 1871-1900" (link to journal Science Fiction Studies)
Thomas Renzi, "The War of the Worlds" [as adapted for film] (pdf)
Reviews of scholarly material on Wells/WOTW (html from Science Fiction Studies)

Original illustrations from the 1897 magazine publication of "The War of the Worlds " (Word doc) (link)
H.G. Wells quotation from his 1934 Experiment in Autobiography:
"The thing that makes such imaginations interesting is their translation into commonplace terms and a rigid exclusion of other marvels from the story. Then it becomes human…. For the writer of fantastic stories to help the reader to play the game properly, he must help him in every possible unobtrusive way to domesticate the impossible hypothesis. He must trick him into an unwary concession to some plausible assumption and get on with his story while the illusion holds." And "I realized that the more impossible the story I had to tell, the more ordinary must be the setting."

See Wikipedia entries on the Golem, homunculus, automaton as precursors of the robot. The duck.
E. M. Forster, "The Machine Stops" short story 1909 (link).
Ambrose Bierce, "Moxon's Master" short story 1909 about chess-playing robot that kills master (link)

Jon Turney, "Into the Brave New World," article about the history of biology in the early 20th century and its connections to SF (pdf)

Encyclopedia of SF articles about Capek and robots (pdf).
Article on Capek as dramatist and contemporary reception of RUR (pdf).

Y. Zamyatin 1923 essay, "Literature, Revolution, Entropy, and Other Matters" (pdf)
D. J. Richards, Zamyatin: A Soviet Heretic (pdf)


Short stories

New wave and postmodernism
Philip K. Dick biography (link) (New Yorker review)
PKD 1978 essay, "How to build a universe that doesn't fall apart two days later" (link)
Jean Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Science Fiction" (link to Science Fiction Studies)
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Last modified: 11/06/2007 4:13 PM