Alternative realities: Science Fiction Literature and the Modern World

9.–12. Klasse (in englischer Sprache)

Zeiten:  Zweiwöchentlich, Freitags 15 Uhr, kann noch geändert werden
Zeitraum:  11.10.19-31.07.20, Ferien ausgeschlossen
Kosten:  30€ pro Monat (siehe Kosten)
Voraussetzungen:  Gute Englischkenntnisse; der Wunsch, viel zu lesen

This course will examine some of the most thought-provoking Science Fiction literature from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The curriculum will be used to inspire and guide critical discussion on current issues related to technology and human culture.

In the space of a generation, technological changes have begun to alter human life on a fundamental level. Work, travel, entertainment, the economy, relationships, art, education, self-image, even everyday household objects are now mediated by this vast, ever more complex matrix of information we call the Internet. In addition, rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence and computer learning are raising philosophical questions regarding consciousness and ethics. On a biological level, advances in genetic engineering are making the possibility of controlling the characteristics of living beings all the more real.

Simultaneously, the backdrop to this intense scientific activity is also transforming. Our global society stands on the brink of massive environmental change as the effects of global warming become more evident. Combined with this, the intensification of global travel has made the world smaller, forcing unfamiliar cultures to interact with and understand one another.

All of these issues and more place us in a fascinating but unsettling moment in human history. Science Fiction literature affords us the opportunity to conceptualize and analyze the complexities of our contemporary technological era by exposing us to alternative realities, some of which have already materialized, while others, which once seemed impossible, are becoming increasingly plausible.

How will we work?

Students will be given texts to read in their own time each month. In the lessons we will identify and analyse core themes and consider their relevance to wider contemporary issues. The lessons will be strongly orientated towards free and open discussion, so students should be willing to share ideas and think creatively and critically about the themes.

What are the goals?

Students will gain a strong appreciation for science fiction as a highly imaginative and culturally relevant literary genre; they will develop their critical and analytical skills in relation to science fiction. Students will become more confident in expressing their ideas through English and will develop a philosophical attitude to the world around them, inspired by the imaginative themes contained in science fiction.  

Reading List

The course will be based around the following core reading list, supplemented by internet resources and a film list (to be confirmed).

J. G. Balard
The Drowned World (1962)

Arthur C Clarke
Childhood’s End (1953)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Ken Hollings
Welcome to Mars (2008 – non-fiction, excerpts)

Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go (2005)

Ursula Le Guinn
The Dispossessed (1974)

Stanislav Lem
The Star Diaries (1957 – short story collection, selection)

George Orwell
1984 (1949)

Olaf Stapeldon
Starmaker (1937)

Kurt Vonnegut S
laughterhouse 5 (1969)

H.G Wells
The Time Machine (1895)

Some Key Themes

  • Social organization and political systems (utopias/ dystopias)
  • Artificial Intelligence and post-humanism
  • Climate change
  • Intercultural (and interstellar) communication
  • Genetic engineering
  • Evolution and extended timescales (human, societal, planetary, cosmic)

Any questions?

Please call us or write an email:
0151 701 66 162 |

Want to attend?

You are warmly welcome to our open day at 2PM on September 28th at Elsenheimerstr. 47. Please register below. 


Francis Heery