Science Fiction Film - EN51026

Quick Facts

  • Postgraduate
  • 20 Credits
  • Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • English - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • New module for 2015-16

Module Details

The aim of the module is to introduce you to a wide variety of science fiction films, considering the development of the cinema alongside the science fiction genre.

We will also examine the treatment of various themes in these films, such as technology, invasion, alienation, existential questions, and science fiction as satire.

Indicative weekly topics:

  • Early SF film - “Trip to the Moon” (Méliès, 1902) and Metropolis (Lang,1927)
  • Invasion and Paranoia - The Thing from Another World (Nyby-Hawkes, 1951) and The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)
  • Space/Head Trip - 2001 (Kubrick, 1968) and Solaris (Tarkovsky, 1972)
  • Western and Horror SF - Star Wars (Lucas, 1977) and Alien (Scott, 1979)
  • Existential SF - Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) and Avalon (Oshii, 2001)
  • SF as Satire - They Live (Carpenter, 1988) and Starship Troopers (Verhoeven, 1997)


Dr Brian Hoyle


There are fortnightly seminars lasting two hours.


  • Presentation (20%)
  • Research assessment (80%, 3,500 words).


Indicative Secondary Reading

  • Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (Cambridge UP)
  • Keith M. Johnson, Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction
  • Geoff King, Science Fiction Cinema: From Outer Space to Cyberspace (Short Cuts Series)
  • Adam Roberts, Science Fiction (New Critical Idiom Series)

Access the online reading list system

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Show familiarity with the history of the science fiction genre in film
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the themes found in science fiction films
  • Articulate independent critical responses to a range of science fiction films