Science Fiction

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 215

       Course Name: Science Fiction

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

This course offers a literary and historical study of science fiction from Mary Shelley to Ursula K. LeGuin with emphasis on the achievement of science fiction as a serious literary form in the romantic tradition.  Novels and short stories studied are also compared to similar mainstream literature.

IV.   Learning Objectives

a.    To make the students aware of the literary value of what has most often been considered mere popular culture.
b.    To provide an awareness of the interrelationship between the two cultures, science and the humanities, and to examine the interface between the two.
c.    To gain an appreciation of the literary techniques, which, differing from the techniques of mainstream fiction, effectively fulfill science fiction goals.
d.    To introduce the students to SF authors and aficionados in the Chicago area.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

    A.    Definition of science fiction.
        1.    Contrast with mainstream
        2.    Differentiation from fantasy
    B.    History
        1.    Origins
        2.    Wells and Verne
        3.    Pulp magazines
        4.    Major editors: Gernsback and Campbell
        5.    The A bomb
        6.    New wave writing
    C.    Themes
        1.    Utopia and dystopia
        2.    After holocaust
        3.    Linguistics
        4.    Treatment of women
        5.    Alternate worlds
        6.    Alternate history
        7.    Overpopulation
    D.    Extrapolative techniques
    E.    Critical evaluation
        1.    By writers
        2.    By academics
        3.    By fans
    F.    Films
        1.    History
        2.    Techniques

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading, writing, and testing

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Texts might include such short story anthologies as the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and the Road to SF; and such novels as Babel 17 by Delany, The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin, Dying Inside by Silverberg, as well as works by Wells, Heinlien, Asimov, and other SF notables.

 Possible films:  2001, A Boy and His Dog, THX 1138, etc.

 Films from the University of Kansas on SF history.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Tests and critical papers

    Tests:     objective and interpretive questions
    Papers:     1.    Comparing three current SF magazines (3 pages in length)
                    2.    Comparing one recommended and one required text (3 pages)
                    3.    Evaluating one work of criticism (3 to 5 pages)
                    4.    Final exam/instructor discretion

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance policy

For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.