How Great Science Fiction Works
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Robots, spaceships, futuristic megacities, planets orbiting distant stars. these icons of science fiction are now in our daily news. Science fiction, once maligned as mere pulp, has motivated cutting-edge scientific research, inspired new technologies, and changed how we view everyday life-and its themes and questions permeate popular culture. Take an unparalleled look at the influence, history, and greatest works of science fiction with illuminating insights and fascinating facts about this wide-ranging genre.
In 24 captivating lectures, How Great Science Fiction Works reveals the qualities that make science fiction an enduring phenomenon that has been steadily gaining popularity. Exploring the greatest works, as well as many lesser-known yet highly influential novels and stories, you'll grasp the context and achievements of authors like Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many more. You'll experience the wonder, horror, and incredible imagination of works like Frankenstein, the Foundation series, The Martian Chronicles, Earth Abides, Stranger in a Strange Land, Neuromancer, The Left Hand of Darkness, Doomsday Book, and dozens of more recent stories as well. You'll also get a glimpse into how this genre has influenced mainstream popular culture in movies such as Metropolis, Star Wars, and Blade Runner and TV shows such as The Twilight Zone and Star Trek.
Leading you on this insightful journey is Professor Gary K. Wolfe, Professor of Humanities in Roosevelt University's Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies. Professor Wolfe has been nominated five times for the Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Convention and has won numerous other awards for criticism and scholarship. He has authored many books, essays, and articles, and he cohosts an award-nominated weekly science fiction podcast. You won't find a more engaging, knowledgeable, and passionate professor for this multifaceted subject.
What Defines Science Fiction?
Professor Wolfe begins by defining what science fiction is, and more importantly, what it is not. In distinguishing science fiction from fantasy-a genre with which it is frequently confused-the key difference is that a science fiction story should be possible: things that we might actually create, places we might actually go, societies that might actually evolve, given our present understanding of reality.
Fantasy, on the other hand, traffics in magic and the supernatural-events that are impossible according to that same understanding of reality. As Professor Wolfe says, "You can stand in King's Cross Station in London all you like, looking for Platform 9 ¾, but you're not going to get to Harry Potter's Hogwarts. But build a rocket ship and you can get to the moon or Mars, or even to Pluto or a remote comet." Hogwarts is a fantasy setting, while Mars is (usually) a science fiction setting.
Similarly, science fiction and horror also often get lumped together due to the sometimes dark and scary themes of much science fiction. However, a similar distinguishing principle applies: when the "horror" is rooted in real science, then it can and should be considered science fiction. You will take this concept a step further as you explore the various types of monsters in both science fiction and fantasy, starting with Mary Shelley's scientifically created creature in Frankenstein. Her novel is considered by some to mark the birth of modern science fiction, since the monster is created not by magic, but by science as understood in Shelley's time.Lectures:
TTC2984 S01E01 Mary Shelley and the Birth of Science Fiction.mp4
TTC2984 S01E02 Science Fiction in the 19th Century.mp4
TTC2984 S01E03 Science Fiction Treatments of History.mp4
TTC2984 S01E04 Evolution and Deep Time in Science Fiction.mp4
TTC2984 S01E05 Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares.mp4
TTC2984 S01E06 The Rise of the Science Fiction Pulps.mp4
TTC2984 S01E07 The Golden Age of Science Fiction Stories.mp4
TTC2984 S01E08 The Spaceship as a Science Fiction Icon.mp4
TTC2984 S01E09 The Robot - From Capek to Asimov.mp4
TTC2984 S01E10 The Golden Age of the Science Fiction Novel.mp4
TTC2984 S01E11 From Mars to Arrakis - The Planet.mp4
TTC2984 S01E12 The Science Fiction Wasteland.mp4
TTC2984 S01E13 Invasions, Space Wars, and Xenocide.mp4
TTC2984 S01E14 Religion in Science Fiction.mp4
TTC2984 S01E15 Science Fiction's New Wave.mp4
TTC2984 S01E16 Encounters with the Alien Other.mp4
TTC2984 S01E17 Environmentalism in Science Fiction.mp4
TTC2984 S01E18 Gender Questions and Feminist Science Fiction.mp4
TTC2984 S01E19 Cyberpunk and the 1980s.mp4
TTC2984 S01E20 The 1990s - The New Space Opera.mp4
TTC2984 S01E21 The Artifact as a Science Fiction Icon.mp4
TTC2984 S01E22 Science Fiction's Urban Landscapes.mp4
TTC2984 S01E23 Science Fiction in the 21st Century.mp4
TTC2984 S01E24 The Future of Science Fiction.mp4
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