Universität Wien FIND

123210 VO Literatures in English (2021S)

Speculative Fiction: From the 18th Century to the Present

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English

Examination dates



Vorläufig digital geplant
Montag 13:15-14:45 Uhr
Beginn: 08.03.2021


Aims, contents and method of the course

What is “speculative fiction”? How is “speculative fiction” different from other kinds of literature that include “speculation”? This lecture explores the evolution of the genre, from the eighteenth century to the present, through some of the key sci-fi, horror, fantasy, dystopian, utopian, and superhero narratives. The lecture will examine how, through various tropes, works of speculative fiction emphasize sociocultural and political problems that we face in the real world. Racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, neocolonialism, environmental degradation, and climate change are the issues that speculative fiction foregrounds as it tries to imagine the future. The course will meticulously engage with scholarship in the field of speculative fiction to understand the history of the genre and the cultural, social, and political meanings of selected works of speculative fiction.

Teaching Mode:
The lecture will take place online. If health regulations allow, all four exam sittings will be held on-site.

Assessment and permitted materials

The final exam (1 hour) will include 5 open-ended questions

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

To pass the course, students need to attain at least 60%

Grades in %:
1 (very good): 90-100%
2 (good): 80-89%
3 (satisfactory): 70-79%
4 (pass): 60-69%
5 (fail): 0-59%

Examination topics

To prepare for the exam, read the materials available on Moodle and the five novels that should be purchased.

Reading list

The following novels should be purchased:

1. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)
2. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
3. Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009)
4. Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book (2013)
5. Damian Duffy, Octavia E. Butler, and John Jennings’ Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (2017)

Via the University library, you can get access to the following e-books: Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Wright’s The Swan Book, and Duffy, Butler, and Jennings’ Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation. If you feel comfortable reading e-books, feel free to use these versions.

All other texts will be made available via Moodle.

Association in the course directory

Studium: MA 812 (2); MA 844; MA 844(2), UF MA 046
Code/Modul: MA M3; MA1; MA1; UF MA 1B, 4A
Lehrinhalt: 12-0404

Last modified: Th 30.09.2021 14:29