Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

The Literature of Fantasy and Science Fiction

 Brief Overview 

The course will focus on science fiction and fantasy as genres. It will look at the literature content as creating an understanding of society. It will survey the history of the genre and then delve into representative themes, rhetoric, and methods of storytelling in texts, films and other media. In addition, the composition of science fiction and fantasy from a writer’s standpoint and an individual student will be examined. Science fiction and fantasy as a genre seeks to examine the possibilities of existence and society beyond what seems to real and often creates a world that allows for speculation of all he future context.

 Course Objectives 

  • Express in writing a sound knowledge of the historic development of science fiction and fantasy into their modern forms as literary genres and modes of entertainment and art.
  • Describe and analyze common science fiction and fantasy themes, tropes, and modes of expression.
  • Place representative works of science fiction and fantasy in a larger cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic context.

 Teaching Methodology 

The class will be organized thematically. We’ll use the reading as a starting point, and occasionally view a film or examine SF use in another medium, then discuss it.

  • The interactive and discussion mode of teaching is aimed at a thorough comprehension and application of the concepts within the course
  • The study of socio-cultural anthropology will forge critical reasoning and analytical skills with the help of case studies from across cultures.
  • Audio-visual aids are incorporated to reinforce concepts
  • Reading and discussion of research papers / book chapters are incorporated within the class structure so as to reinforce and ensure that students are abreast with literature n the subject
  • Self study forms a part of the teaching pedagogy.



 Course Outline 





Earth and its evolution :

o   Stephen Baxter Evolution

o   Planet of the Apes – as Literature and counter society

o   The Island of Doctor Moreau: HG wells

o   Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Jules Verne



Society and fiction :

o   I Robot - Isaac Asimov

o   Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

o   The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

o   Frankenstein as a concept



The Study of Man and Supermen

o   Rama Series  - Arthur C Clarke

o   Comic Book and Science Fiction – Aliens and Superheroes revisited



 Civilizations and Beyond

o   Carl Sagan : Contact (Film)

o   Concept of War of the World



Fantasy and alternate worlds :

o   Lewis Carrol – Alice in Wonderland

o   J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings



Gender In Fantasy and Science Fiction :

o   Ursula K. Le Guin– A Wizard of Earthsea (English)

o   Concept of Gender in Science Fiction