Module Code: fm2004 Module Name: Science Fictions Module Booklet 2011-12

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Module Code: FM2004
Module Name: Science Fictions
Module Booklet 2011-12




Module detail



Module leader'>Dr. David Ingram
Office: Gaskell 143

Phone: 01895-266587

Other teaching staff


CW1 1500 word essay 40%

CW2 2500 word essay 60%

Assessment Dates

CW1 Thursday 17th November 2011

CW2 Friday 13th January 2012

Access to support material
Support material is provided electronically via the University’s u-Link system. You can gain access to the u-Link system via the following web page:



  • To explore the significance of science fictions as utopian and dystopian fantasies

  • To explore the relationship between science ‘fact’ and science ‘fiction’

  • To examine science fictions in relation to issues of audience pleasure

  • To situate the debates about the representation of science and technology within theories of modernist and postmodernist culture and aesthetics.

Learning outcomes
There are learning outcomes that you must achieve in order to be awarded the credits for this module.  These learning outcomes are listed below:-

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts and vocabulary used in the analysis of the representation of science and technology

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the main areas of debate on science fiction and science fact and the way in which science fiction and science fact inform one another within media representations

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the ideological meanings embedded within the presentation of science and technology in film and television

  • Demonstrate a wide ranging use of secondary materials gleaned from sources other than materials given in lectures

  • Communicate in a coherent and informed way about the representation of science and technology in the media.

Method of teaching

There will be a weekly screening of a SF film or TV program, which will form the basis for the seminar discussions for that week.


The 1 hour lecture will provide an introduction to the week’s topic, and will also provide material for discussion in the seminars.


Each week there will be a group discussion that is designed for you to explore the issues raised by your reading, the screening and the lecture.


You can book tutorials with David Ingram during the module, or drop in anytime during my office hours, where we can discuss your coursework. My weekly office hours and appointment schedules are posted on my office door. My office is G143, located on the first floor of the Gaskell Building. You can leave a messages for me by calling 01895-266587 or you can leave a message with the School of Arts office (ask at the switchboard on 01895-274000). Alternatively email me to be assigned a time to see me, or to ask any other questions relevant to the course. This is often the quickest way to contact me. Email:

Teaching Programme
N.B. The module runs in Term 1 only.

Week 1: What is ‘Science Fiction’?
Screening: Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1958, US)
Secondary films: Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931, US), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh, 1994, US), Judge Dredd (Danny Cannon, 1995, US).
What characterises science fiction? This lecture will map out some of the key themes and topics addressed in the rest of the module. Definitions of science and technology will be discussed, as well as the problems of defining science fiction. The ‘fuzzy’ border between science fiction and horror will be examined, providing a way of identifying the generic conventions of science fiction film. In the seminar, issues raised in the lecture will come under discussion and the film Forbidden Planet will be considered in some detail as a means of identifying what we have come to expect from science fiction cinema.
Primary Reading:

  • Vivian Sobchack, Screening Space. New York: Ungar, 1993. Chs 1 & 2.

  • Geoff King and Tanya Krzywinska, Science Fiction Cinema, Introduction, Pt I

  • Steve Neale, Genre and Hollywood, Routledge, 2000. Section ‘Horror and Science Fiction’ pp92-104.

  • JP Telotte, Science Fiction Film Cambridge University, 2001 Press Ch1 (general), Ch2 (critical approaches), Ch4 (SF border with horror)

Secondary Reading :

  • Mark Jancovich, Rational Fears, Manchester University Press, 1996. Ch1

  • Constance Penley, NASA/Trek, Verso, 1997. Introduction & Chapter ‘NASA’ also of interest.

  • Rick Altman, Film/Genre, BFI, 1999. Ch2.

  • Damien Broderick, Reading By Starlight, London: Routledge, 1995. Ch1 ‘New World, New Texts’

  • Judith Halberstam, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, Durham/London: Duke University Press, 1995. Ch2 ‘Making Monsters: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’

  • Adam Roberts, Science Fiction, London/NY: Routledge, 2000. Ch1 Defining SF

  • JP Telotte, Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film University of Illinois, 1995 (particularly Ch 5 on Forbidden Planet)

  • Parrinder, Patrick, Science Fiction: Its Criticism and Teaching, London: Methuen, 1980.

  • Roz Kaveney, From Alien to The Matrix (IB Tauris, 2005)

Week 2: Utopia and Dystopia in Science Fiction

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