ENGL 334 Science Fiction

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Assignment Values

Assignment Due Date Value
Modified Attendance Ongoing 10%
Short Paper #1 02/14 30%
Short Paper #2 04/08 30%
Short Paper #3 05/04 30%

Assignment Descriptions

These are intended as overviews of the general goals of each assignment. Longer hand-outs will be provided along with discussion of the assignments during class.

Reading Responses (Modified Attendance)

Due to the cancellation of classes and the move to online only classes for March and April, instead of the remaining attendance grades, I ask you to submit one paragraph of writing each week on Friday before midnight detailing something you found important in the reading from the previous week.

These will be graded on a pass/fail basis and there will be no extensions.

Short Papers 1-3

Over the course of the semester, you will be asked to write three (3) short (3-4 page) papers in response to course discussion and the readings we are doing in class.

Papers should be formatted using 12pt, Times New Roman font and double spaced with 1-inch margins.

Textual Paper

Pick a scene in one of the texts we have read for class. A scene could be a portion of a chapter (3-4 paragraphs) or a paragraph or even a single sentence, but not an entire story or novel chapter. Discuss the stylistic, thematic, and imagistic content of this scene, while also connecting these issues to larger themes within the novel.

This paper uses internal evidence only (or primarily). You will be quoting material from the section in question and then discussing the style, theme, or imagery of the passage as it relates to the larger theme of the work.

Research Paper

Choose one of the texts we have read in class. Conduct research into the publication and authoring history of the piece.

Questions to consider:

  1. Where was the piece first published?
    • What is the history of that venue?
  2. What else is interesting/important about the publication?
    • Was it later adapted into a novel?
    • Was it an early standalone publication?
    • Was it collected in a short story collection?
  3. Was the work typical of the author?
    • Is it an exception because of quality? Topic?
    • What can you learn about how the author worked?
  4. When the work was published, what else was happening in SF history?
  5. What else was the author doing / working on?
  6. Was the work published internationally? When?

You may ask other questions as you research, and you are not required to answer all of these questions (you may find that none of these are helpful).

This paper does not advance an argument per se, but will need a thesis that outlines what you plan to focus on. For instance, “this paper considers ‘Black Destroyer’ by A.E. van Vogt as a classic example of the kind of story John W. Campbell sought out at Astounding” would be perfectly fine as a thesis.

Cite your work using MLA 8 citation.

Accessing Library Resources Off Campus:

If you need to access library resources from off campus, you have two options, which both have advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Use a VPN to access the TAMU network:
  2. Use EZProxy to access library resources:

Personally, I use an EZProxy browser extension because I can never remember to connect to the VPN and I don’t use a lot of other TAMU services from home. If you use a lot of other campus-only services, the VPN may be right for you (campus VPN is also good if you need to access anything A&M related on an unsecure connection, like coffee shop wi-fi).

Analysis Paper

Pick two works we have read in the class. Also pick a topic that both have in common (whether this topic is content-driven or stylistic) and discuss how the two works are similar and/or different based on their treatment. As an example, you could pick depictions of space travel in two works we have read and discuss how both authors treat this topic differently; you might conclude that there is a changing understanding of technology based on the passage of time between the two works you are considering.

This paper should demonstrate both outside research and thematic analysis, combining the aspects of both previous papers.