Science Fiction Workshop: Heroes, Myths, and Monsters
Speculative fiction — encompassing fantasy, science fiction, and horror — is a realm of paradox. An idea-driven literature that’s as vast as imagination, it can also be peculiarly compartmentalized and too often dismissed as escapism. Novelist Margaret Atwood describes the category as “wonder tales,” stories that pull readers into astonishing other worlds “on the other side of the threshold that divides the known from the unknown.” This course surveys the mysterious landscape of these “what if?” narratives, exploring the mythic connections between ancient epics, supernatural beasts, and futuristic space odysseys. We’ll evaluate the craft components in works by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Angela Carter, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Karen Russell, among others. The second hour of each session will be devoted to critiquing classmate submissions and sharing strategies on how to build your own captivating worlds of wonder.
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After completing this course, participants will be able to:
- Describe the historical roots of today’s fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres
- Recognize and discuss the distinctions between the major categories and overlapping subgenres
- Hone the craft of creating credible and compelling speculative fiction
- Give and receive constructive feedback in a supportive workshop setting