English 3372: Science Fiction


Prof. Jared Gardner


WeFr 3:55PM-5:15PM

Office hours (Denney 565):

Denney Hall 250


We think about science fictions as speculations about the distant future, but science fiction is also always thinking about the present and the decisions we are making now as individuals and a society. This class will focus on speculative fictions set in a not-so-distant future which ask us to consider how the decisions we make today might shape our future worlds.

This course fulfills a GEC requirement in Literature. The goal of courses in this category is to help you learn to evaluate significant literary texts in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and historical response and judgment; interpretation and evaluation; and critical listening, reading, seeing, thinking, and writing.


Week 1

Wed 8/22


Fri 8/24

William Gibson, “Johnny Mnemonic” (1981); Pat Cadigan, “Pretty Boy Crossover” (1986)

Week 2

Wed 8/29

Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993)

Fri 8/31

Parable of the Sower (continued)

Week 3

Wed 9/5

Parable of the Sower (continued)

Fri 9/7        

Parable of the Sower (continued)


Week 4

Wed 9/12

Margaret Atwood, Oryx & Crake (2003)

Fri 9/14

Margaret Atwood, Oryx & Crake (2003)


Week 5

Wed 9/19

Oryx & Crake (continued)

Fri 9/21

Oryx & Crake (continued)


Week 6

Wed 9/26

Paolo Bacigalupi, Windup Girl (2009)

Fri 9/28

Windup Girl (continued)

Week 7

Wed 10/3

Windup Girl (continued)

Fri 10/5

Windup Girl (continued)


Week 8

Wed 10/10

Ex Machina (2015) [see Carmen for screening details]

Fri 10/12


Week 9

Wed 10/17

Anne Charnock, A Calculated Life (2013)

Fri 10/19

A Calculated Life (continued)


Week 10

Wed 10/24

A Calculated Life (continued)

Fri 10/26

Annalee Newitz, Autonomous (2017)


Week 11

Wed 10/31

Autonomous (continued)

Fri 11/2

Autonomous (continued)

Week 12

Wed 11/7

Omar El Akkad, American War (2017)

Fri 11/9

American War (continued)



Week 13

Wed 11/14

American War (continued)

Fri 11/16

American War (continued)



Week 14

Wed 11/28

Minority Report (2002)

Fri 11/30

Black Mirror (episodes TBD)


Wed 12/6


Wed 12/12


Required texts

  1. Margaret Atwood, Oryx & Crake ISBN: 9780385721677
  2. Paolo Bacigalupi, Windup Girl  ISBN:9781597801584
  3. Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower ISBN: 9780446675505
  4. Anne Charnock, A Calculated Life ISBN: 9781477849514
  5. Omar El Akkad, American War ISBN: 9781101973134
  6. Annalee Newitz, Autonomous ISBN: 9780765392084

Course Requirements:


In place of exams, there will be six quizzes (the lowest grade will be dropped). 30% of final grade.

Short  Response  Essays 

You are required to  write  three  short (approximately  500-600 words) response essays, each of which is worth 10% of final grade. You must turn in one paper by September 21; one by October 19; and  one by November 19.  More detailed instructions will be located on Carmen.

Final Paper 

For the final paper you will be able to build on one of your short response papers; other options will be available as well. The final paper will be due December 12. Detailed instructions will be located on Carmen. 25% of final grade

Participation and Carmen

I expect engaged and thoughtful engagement and participation during class, which will constitute 15% of your final grade. Participation about class materials and issues at Carmen discussion threads will count towards participation grade. Participation grades will be awarded as follows: A=frequent and substantive contributions; B=occasional and substantive contributions; C=infrequent contributions; D=almost no contributions.

I expect you to regularly check in to Carmen, which is where I will post assignments, additional course materials, and (if necessary) any changes to our syllabus.



If you miss more than 3 classes, your final grade will be lowered one half letter grade (e.g., A- to B+) for each class missed.  (Thus, if your final average is a B and you have missed 5 classes, then you will receive a C+ for a final grade). There is no need to submit excuses for absences, as the same policy applies regardless of the reason for missing class.  More than 6 missed classes will automatically result in a failing grade for the class. Please arrive on time and do not leave early. You should bring your text to every class, and you should also come prepared with notes and questions on the readings.

Academic honesty

The term "academic misconduct" includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed, which includes but are not limited to cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. Plagiarism is the representation of another's works or ideas as one's own, and includes the unacknowledged word for word use and/or paraphrasing of another person's work and/or ideas. I will report all instances of alleged academic misconduct to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.


The University strives to make all learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience academic barriers based on your disability (including mental health, chronic, or temporary medical conditions), please register with Student Life Disability Services so we may establish reasonable accommodations.  After registration, make arrangements with me as soon as possible to discuss your accommodations so that they may be implemented in a timely fashion. SLDS contact information: slds@osu.edu; 614-292-3307; slds.osu.edu; 098 Baker Hall, 113 W. 12th Avenue.

Electronic media policy

Laptops and tablets are permitted, so long as they are being used for course-related activities (reading texts, taking notes). Please be courteous to your colleagues and me and do not browse the web/social media during class. I also request that you turn off your phone ringers before class and put phones away.