Veranstalter  Lars Schmeink 
Thema  An Introduction to Contemporary Canadian Science Fiction 
Art der Veranstaltung  Seminar Ib
Veranstaltungsnummer   53-563
Beginn 18. Oktober 2011  /  04. April 2012

Seminar am Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Hamburg und via Virtual Canadian Studies im Wintersemester 2011 und Sommersemester 2012


„Science Fiction is the literature of change,“ postulates SF editor James Gunn in his anthology The Road to Science Fiction (Volume 1: vii). It is also a literature of ideas. Science Fiction deals with human reactions to situations of extreme changes, and to extreme ideas. It is a literary reflection on the possibilities of the human species. And, of course, it is the literature of technology, reflecting on its development, criticizing or glorifying its possibilities. As such it developed at the beginning of the 20th century when humans started seeing unaccustomed possibilities, when they were confronted with changes beyond their understanding. The genre then quickly became one of the most widely read literatures of that century, only by the beginning of the 21st with the development of the CGI enhanced film to develop into the most successful movie genre of our own time.

In this seminar, we will examine how recent Canadian science fiction writers and filmmakers explore societal changes, extrapolate scientific developments and speculate on possible futures. We will analyze the Canadian cultural adaptations of the „War on Terror“, communication technology, bio-engineering and posthumanity, and our „future-present“, as William Gibson has aptly named it. You will be required to read the material (buy the books), manage written tasks and research (essays, wiki entry, etc.) and hand in a written exam paper – all online (see below).

Primary texts:

Cory Doctorow – Little Brother (2008)
Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake (2003)
William Gibson – Pattern Recognition (2003)
Splice (Dir. Vincenzo Natali, 2009)
eXistenZ (Dir. David Cronenberg, 1999)

Secondary texts:

James, Edward. Science Fiction in the 20th Century. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1994.
—, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.
Ketterer, David. Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1992.
Seed, David, ed. A Companion to Science Fiction. Malden: Blackwell, 2005.


This course will be part of the „VIRTUAL CANADIAN STUDIES“ offered by the Gesellschaft für Kanada- Studien at and will take place ONLINE ONLY (!!!) – Students will have to register separately via VCS and participate online. The course (via VCS) requires a registration fee of 25 Euros. Contact me if you have any questions: lars.schmeink@uni-hamburg, or ask the VCS coordinator, Frau Metz, directly:

The course is registered as a normal Ib Seminar within the following modules: [AA-A3, ENG-7, AA-W].