RE-IMAGINING SOCIETY: UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS IN SCIENCE FICTION IN FILM AND LITERATURE
“Modern Science Fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the nature of the changes that face us, the possible consequences, and the possible solutions.” ---Isaac Asimov
“SF is, then, a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author's empirical environment.” ----Darko Suvin
Science fiction as speculative fiction inquires into how we might imagine alternative worlds and alternative ways to organize society. Such thought experiments and fictive imaginings in the form of either utopias or dystopias have a long history but gain specific contours in our postmodern technological society. We will look at science fiction that traced the possibilities and pitfalls of industrial society, feminist science fiction, and cyberpunk in filmic and literary texts. This class will explore what thought experiments found in science fiction might mean for critiquing the present and envisioning alternative futures. What does it mean to be human? Should we be defined and confined by our class, gender and race? Can we imagine a better future? Are we condemned to reproduce the same, or can we imagine society otherwise? What, in the end, does it mean for us to hope?
Filmic texts include Bladerunner, The Matrix, Solaris, and Paprika