About This Course
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The bulk of the course reading consists of novels, supplemented with a few short stories. The following required readings are available from the Colby bookstore.

bulletLast & First Men by Olaf Stapledon
bullet The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
bulletA Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
bulletDune by Frank Herbert
bulletUbik by Philip K. Dick
bulletMan Plus by Frederick Pohl
bulletBlood Music by Greg Bear
bulletNeuromancer by William Gibson

You should also purchase from the bookstore the reference book

bulletThe Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2nd ed) edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls

The remaining readings can be found on reserve in a folder at Olin. These are also compulsory.

bulletAn extract from Future Shock by Alvin Toffler
bullet"The Green Hills of Earth" by Robert A. Heinlein
bullet"The Roads Must Roll" by Robert A. Heinlein
bullet"The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke
bullet"The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin
bullet"Runaround" by Isaac Asimov
bullet"Evidence" by Isaac Asimov

We will also be watching six movies

bulletThings to Come
bulletInvasion of the Body Snatchers
bulletBlade Runner
bulletThe Matrix


Attendance is compulsory. Students absent from more than one session without an acceptable excuse will be penalized or required to submit makeup work. Students absent from more than three sessions without an acceptable excuse will fail the course.

The breakdown of marks will be as follows:

bullet20% Midterm
bullet25% Final
bullet30% Class Participation
bullet25% Paper (about 8 pages) -- see here for details on the paper.


Class participation has a baseline mark of 50%. Additional points are earned through frequent participation in class discussions. 10% is subtracted for each session missed beyond one. Students planning absences can earn full credit for attendance and participation by emailing answers to discussion questions before the class to be missed. Medical or family absences do not require makeup.

Both absence and failure to participate may be made up after the class, but this takes more work. A student may prepare a four page paper, focusing on one of the posted discussion questions listed for a book under discussion. Other than this, follow the general guidelines given for the long papers, including the importance of formulating a thesis in answer to the question and the need for detailed reference to the book. An excellent paper (A or A- quality) will cancel the penalty for absence from one session and count for full participation in the discussion. Papers of lower quality will receive partial credit. If the paper is submitted only to make up for participation in a session (you came, but didn't say anything) then one excellent paper may count for full participation in two sessions.

Deadline for makeup items is the end of February 6th.

If you are curious about where you stand with your participation marks then ask me! Most people will receive very strong marks in this category.

Plagiarism Statement

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Papers and web projects must represent your own work and thought. Use of other peopleís work without acknowledging their contribution is plagiarism and is a very serious offense in any discipline. This includes verbatim copying, paraphrasing (changing a few words here and there), and structural plagiarism (borrowing the structure or outline of someone elseís work without acknowledgment). Tenured professors have been publicly reprimanded and dismissed from their jobs in recent years for this practice, and otherwise promising careers have been utterly destroyed. Students submitting papers containing any plagiarized materials will receive an F in the assignment and may receive a failing grade for the course. Serious cases will be reported to the Dean of Students, possibly resulting in academic probation or suspension from the college, as noted in both the student handbook and the college catalogue. I canít overemphasize the seriousness of this issue.

(Under the circumstances I should attribute this statement -- http://www.colby.edu/sci.tech/01_st112syllabus.pdf)

Page created by Thomas Haigh. Last edited  01/12/2002.