Semester: Wintersemester 2014/2015

3.02.140 S Speculative Fiction


  • Donnerstag: 10:00 - 12:00, wöchentlich


What is speculative fiction? Is it a synonym for science fiction or does it function as an umbrella term for sci-fi and fantasy? Does it only apply to future scenarios or could it also be applied to fictional representations of alternative histories? The term was first mentioned in an 1889 review in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine but was only defined and put to use by writer Robert A. Heinlein half a century later. Recently, 'speculative fiction' has had a comeback in literary debates about the relationship between 'literary' and 'genre' fiction - not least due to Margaret Atwood's Maddaddam trilogy (2003, 2009, 2013).

In this seminar we will track the different meanings of speculative fiction, its history, its proponents and contestants. We will read two novels which were (controversially) discussed as speculative fiction in journalistic and academic criticism - Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. In the fifth week of the seminar we will attend a reading by and conversation with philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein in Bremen. In addition, we will have a guest lecturer from Canada, Professor Janine Rogers, who will not only join our discussion of Oryx and Crake but who will also offer a workshop on teaching 'literature and science' - a thriving field of research and education which will be of core interest to any current/future educator.

Please, make sure to purchase and read the two novels in advance (both will be made available at the CvO bookshop). Your reading of them is prerequisite to the course.

Margaret Atwood. Oryx & Crake [2003]. London: Virago, 2013.
Kazuo Ishiguro. Never Let Me Go [2005]. London: Faber and Faber, 2010.

Additional materials for preparation, as well as the detailed syllabus, will be made available here:



  • ang614 Genres: Cultural, Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
  • PB 195a Erweiterte anglophone Sprach- und Kulturkompetenz
  • PB 195b Erweiterte anglophone Sprach- und Kulturkompetenz
  • pb113 Erweiterte anglophone Sprach- und Kulturkompetenz
  • pb114 Erweiterte anglophone Sprach- und Kulturkompetenz


  • Studium generale / Gasthörstudium

Für Gasthörende / Studium generale geöffnet:


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