New Wave to Contemporary Science Fiction

On this page


Module code


The aim of this module is to introduce you to works of science fiction literature from the early 1960s to the present. It is a companion module to Science Fiction - Issues and Approaches.

You will develop an understanding of the concerns of themes of science fiction during this period, including issues of power, technology, and alienation.

We will also examine the way in which these texts speculate about the future, or raise ethical questions relevant to the post-war period, the Cold War and the contemporary era.

Indicative weekly topics:

Science fiction and ecology, post-colonialism, satire, and alienation.

  • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)
  • J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)
  • Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
  • Michael Moorcock, Behold the Man (1969)
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5 (1969)
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama (1972) 
  • Brian W. Aldiss, Frankenstein Unbound (1973)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (1971) 
  • Gregory Benford, Timescape (1980)
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1993)
  • Iain M. Banks, The Algebraist (2004)


  • Weekly journal of 250 words (20%)
  • Presentation (20%)
  • Research assessment (60%, 4,000 words)

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Perform close reading of science fiction texts at a sophisticated level
  • Show familiarity with the historical development and cultural influence of these texts
  • Show awareness of the variety of genres and themes and how these might be analysed and interpreted using close reading
  • Articulate independent critical responses to these works


Dr Keith Williams


There are weekly seminars lasting two hours.