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  1. 1. Ursula K. Heise Office Hours: M 2-4, F 11-12 Department of English Phone: 650-723-4609 Building 460-419 E-mail: ENGL 176 Science Fiction: Techno Dreams and Nightmares Class Meetings: TTh 11:00-12:30, 200-030 Texts and Films: 1. Ovid, "The Story of Pygmalion." Metamorphoses. Trans. Rolfe Humphries. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955. 241-43. [8 A.D.; on website] 2. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: The 1818 Text. Ed. Marilyn Butler. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. [1818/1831] 3. H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau. New York: Dover, 1996. [1896] 4. Aldous Huxley, Chs. 1-3 of Brave New World. New York: HarperCollins, 1998. [1932; on website] 5. Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel. Trans. Ruth L.C. Simms. New York: New York Review Books, 2003. [La invención de Morel, 1940] 6. Blade Runner. Dir. Ridley Scott. Perf. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson. Blade Runner Partnership/Ladd Co./Sir Run Run Shaw/ Warner, 1982. [film; director's cut] 7. Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? New York: Ballantine-Del Rey, 1996. [1968] 8. William Gibson, Neuromancer. New York: Ace, 2000. [1984] 9. Bruce Sterling, Schismatrix, in Schismatrix Plus. New York: Ace, 1996. [1985] 10. Donna J. Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. 149-81. [1984; on website] 11. Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake. New York: Anchor Books, 2003. 12. Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. 2004. [animated film] 13. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, We3. New York: DC Comics, 2005. [graphic novel] All books are available at the Stanford Bookstore and are also on reserve at Green Library along with the films. Please do not use any editions of Shelley's, Wells' and Gibson's novels other than the ones officially assigned, as this will lead to confusions over pagination in class and in your papers. Shorter essays and chapters can be downloaded from the course website at Stanford Coursework in PDF format. The syllabus and assignments are all available at the Coursework website as well, and all changes will be posted there. Please visit the website regularly to make sure you're aware of all assignments, schedule changes, hand-outs and announcements. Description: Science Fiction is the cultural genre through which modern societies think about their engagement with science and technology – sometimes joyfully and sometimes anxiously. "Techno Dreams and Nightmares" will trace this relationship from the origins of the genre in nineteenth-century European literature to current North American and Japanese developments through the theme of the technologically created humans of various kinds. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818/1831) lies at the origin of two different traditions of thinking about human identity and human bodies as they are shaped by science and
  2. 2. technology: one which focuses on mechanically produced minds and bodies such as robots, computers, cyborgs and AIs, and one which foregrounds biologically engineered beings such as evolved animals, androids, clones and, sometimes, aliens. The course will examine both of these traditions comparatively. How do we draw the boundaries between humans and machines, and between humans and animals? What should we think of as parts of a human body, and what is "alien" to it? How do science and technology alter the way we think about the relationship between mind, body and environment? How do they affect perception, emotion and memory? Are male and female bodies thought to stand in a different relationship to technological artifacts? Does "being human" mean something different now than in the nineteenth century? These are some of the questions we will pursue through the study of SF novels, films and comic books, including Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau, Bioy Casares' The Invention of Morel, Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Scott's Blade Runner, Gibson's Neuromancer, Sterling's Schismatrix, Atwood's Oryx and Crake, Oshii's Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, and Morrison and Quitely's We3. We will also consider contemporary gaming environments such as Second Life as one of the newest fields in which science fiction can evolve. Requirements: 1. Regular attendance and fulfillment of the reading assignments. You cannot miss more than two lectures without your grade being affected. Please note that you're responsible for submitting assignments and attaining the learning goals of each week's classes, regardless of whether you've attended or not. As a matter of courtesy, I appreciate it when you let me know in advance those dates when you have to miss a class. If a major emergency prevents you from attending class or fulfilling assignments for a whole week or more, you have an obligation to let me know and come in to talk about make-up arrangements. 2. Your grade will be made up of the following components: • Participation in discussions during lecture: 10% of final grade • Two papers (4-5 pages each): 20% of final grade each (total: 40%). • Take-home midterm: 20% of final grade. • Cumulative take-home final: 20% of final grade. • Performance in section: 10% of final grade. 3. Each session will include various class formats, minimally a discussion period alongside the lecture. If you participate regularly in these discussions, it will help get you the higher final grade if you're numerically in between grades, and may even get you a higher grade than the rest of your performance warrants. 4. A reminder about grades: B-range grades are given for work that fulfills the assignment completely and competently; A-range grades for work that significantly exceeds average completion requirements; C-range grades for work that contains significant errors or falls short of fully answering the assignment; D for work that just barely addresses minimum requirements. 5. Pass/No Pass option: you have to fulfill all the writing requirements except the take- home final, and you have to enroll in a section.
  3. 3. Syllabus: Techno Dreams & Nightmares Week 1 Tue, Jan 5 Science, Literature and the Imagination of the Future Text: "The Story of Pygmalion" from Ovid, Metamorphoses Bk.X Film Clip: from Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, by Mamoru Oshii Thur, Jan 7 The Quest for Knowledge and the Creation of Human Beings Text: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Vol.1 Week 2 Tue, Jan 12 Making a Creature: Technology between Self and Other Text: Shelley, Frankenstein Vol.2 Thur, Jan 14 From Frankenstein to Cyborgs and Clones: The Genesis of a Cultural Myth Text: Shelley, Frankenstein Vol.3 Week 3 Tue, Jan 19 Evolution, Technology, and the Challenge of the Animal Text: H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau Thur, Jan 21 Virtual Selves Text: Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel Week 4 Tue, Jan 26 Evolution, Technology and the Mass-Produced Human Self Text: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World 1-56 (website) Thur, Jan 28 Rebellion of the Androids Text: Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ch.1-10 (skip intro) Week 5 Tue, Feb 2 "The Electric Things Have Their Lives Too" Text: Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ch.11-22 Paper #1 due (topics on website) Film Screening: Blade Runner, 8 pm Thur, Feb 4 Techno-Memories Film: Ridley Scott, Blade Runner Week 6 Tue, Feb 9 The Invention of Cyberspace Sterling, "Preface" to Mirrorshades anthology William Gibson, Neuromancer Ch.1-10 Take-home midterm assignment distributed. Thur, Feb 11 Cyberspace and Globalization Text: Gibson, Neuromancer Ch.11-Coda (skip afterword)
  4. 4. Week 7 Tue, Feb 16 Posthumanism and the Concept of the Cyborg Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" (website) Midterm due. Thur, Feb 18 Out of This World: New Ecosystems, New Bodies Text: Bruce Sterling, Schismatrix Pts.1-2 Week 8 Tue, Feb 23 Posthuman Utopia Text: Sterling, Schismatrix Pt.3 (skip Shaper/Mechanist stories) Thur, Feb 25 Posthuman Dystopia Text: Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake Ch.1-7 Week 9 Tue, Mar 2 Old and New Humans (and a few pigoons) Text: Atwood, Oryx and Crake Ch.8-15 Thurs, Mar 4 Cyborg Animals Text: We3 Paper #2 due (topics on website) Week 10 Tue, Mar 9 Posthumanism: Dolls, Robots, Cyborgs, Children, Animals Film: Oshii, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Thur, Mar 11 Conclusion: Avatars R Us – Human Identity in the Age of Second Life Take-home final assignment distributed. Finals Week Wed, Mar 17 Take-home final due 12:00 noon.