Difference in Science Fiction

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The aim of this module is to introduce you to works of science fiction which explore the ‘real world’ concern with difference.

Science fiction allows for speculation about the future but it usually also about the time in which it is written, examining social and cultural problems such as sexism, racism, cultural and ideological conflict, and the threat to the environment. 

Examples of texts and topics to be covered:

  • Human, Not Human:Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
  • The Future of Gender: Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)
  • Language and Sexuality: Samuel R. Delany, Babel-17 (1966) or Dhalgren (1975)
  • Ideology: Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974)
  • Difference and Repulsion: Octavia Butler, Dawn (1987)
  • Apocalypse and the Environment: John Christopher, The Death of Grass (1956)
  • Dystopias and Difference: Lauren Beukes, Moxyland (2008)


  • Presentation (20%)
  • Research Essay (80%, 3,750 words).