Tuesday 30 July 2013

Reading list for ENGL32031 Futuristic Fictions

Futuristic Fictions (ENGL32031)


Course convenor: Dr. Kaye Mitchell

Office 2.10, Mansfield Cooper


Tel: 0161 306 1784



‘Futuristic Fictions’ is a consideration of literary and filmic representations of the future, covering the period from the 1890s to the present. The course will look at utopian and dystopian fictions, alongside theoretical and political writings on utopia, futurity, apocalypse, socialism, feminism, queer theory, technoculture, environmentalism and literary genre.


The course opens with a consideration of one Classical and one Early Modern utopia in order to give a sense of the longer history of utopian thinking, before proceeding to a more in-depth analysis of futuristic fictions – both utopian and dystopian – produced since 1890.


This analysis falls under a number of distinct headings: socialist utopias; feminist futures; dystopias; science and technology; and post-apocalyptic narratives. Throughout the course, we will consider the complex relationships between past, present and future in these texts, and the wider uses and meanings of ‘futurity’. We will also discuss themes and topics such as political and social organisation (government, law, justice, the family etc), gender and sexual identities, the construction of selfhood and community (self and other, the alien and the human), the nature-culture relation, and the impact of scientific and technological advances on our imagining of the future.


In addition to the literary texts under consideration, you will read a range of theoretical writings on: the politics and aesthetics of utopia and dystopia; socialism; feminism; environmentalism; apocalypse; postmodernism and hyperreality; queer theory; the forms and motifs of science fiction; reproductive and genetic technologies; and the relationship of science and literature.


*Texts marked with an asterisk will be given out in class, or will be available to download from the Blackboard page in advance of the class.*



Week 1: Pre-/Early Modern Utopias

*Plato, Republic [extracts]

Thomas More, ‘Utopia’ (1516), in Three Early Modern Utopias (Oxford paperbacks, new edition, 2008)


Week 2: Socialist utopias I

William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890)

*William Morris, ‘Looking Backward’ [Commonweal, 12 June 1889] and ‘How I Became a Socialist’ [Justice, 16 July 1894], in News from Nowhere and Other Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993), pp351-58 and pp377-83


Week 3: Socialist utopias II

H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia (1905)


Week 4: Feminist futures I

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)

*Anne K. Mellor, ‘On Feminist Utopias’, Women’s Studies 9 (1982): 241-62


Week 5: Dystopias I: totalitarianism

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)




Week 7: Dystopias II: ecological catastrophe

J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)

*Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962) [extracts]


Week 8: Feminist futures II

Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)


Week 9: Science and technology I: cyberpunk

William Gibson, ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ and ‘Burning Chrome’, in Burning Chrome (1986)

Bladerunner [dir. Ridley Scott, 1982]


Week 10: Science and technology II: Queer futures

*Jackie Stacey, ‘She Is Not Herself: The Deviant Relations of Alien Resurrection’, Screen 44.3 (2003): 251-76

Alien Resurrection [dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1997]


Week 11: Post-apocalyptic narratives I

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003)

*Margaret Atwood, ‘My Life in SF’


Week 12: Post-apocalyptic narratives II

Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2007)



Suggestions for further reading: primary

Edwin Abbott, Flatland (1884)

John Joseph Adams (ed.), Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (2008)

Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital (2006)

Brian Aldiss, Hothouse (1962)

Margaret Atwood, Handmaid’s Tale (1985)

Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood (2009)

Francis Bacon, New Atlantis (1627)

J.G. Ballard, Kingdom Come (2006)

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1888)

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451  (1953)

Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993)

Samuel Butler, Erewhon (1872)

John Carey, The Faber Book of Utopias (2000)

Angela Carter, The Passion of New Eve (1977)

Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World (1666)

John Christopher, The Death of Grass (1956)

Elizabeth Corbett, New Amazonia (1889)

Jim Crace, The Pesthouse (2007)

Philip K. Dick, Do androids dream of electric sheep? (1968)

Maggie Gee, The Flood (2004)

Sarah Hall, The Carhullan Army (2007)

Harry Harrison, Make Room! Make Room! (1966)

Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker (1980)

Fred Hoyle, The Black Cloud (1957)

Aldous Huxley, Island (1962)

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005)

P.D. James, The Children of Men (1992)

Richard Jefferies, After London (1885)

Richard Labonte and Lawrence Schimel (eds.) The Future is Queer: A Science Fiction Anthology (2007)

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Left Behind series of 16 novels (1995-2007)

Mary E. Bradley Lane, Mizora (1880)

Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)

Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974)

Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (1961)

Suzy McKee Charnas, Walk to the End of the World (1974)

Suzy McKee Charnas, Motherlines (1978)

Sally Miller Gearhart, The Wanderground (1978)

Iris Murdoch, The Bell (1958)

Henry Neville, The Isle of Pines (1668)

Kim Stanley Robinson, The Wild Shore (1984)

Jane Rogers, The Testament of Jessie Lamb (2011)

Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)

Sarah Scott, Millennium Hall (1762)

Will Self, The Book of Dave (2006)

Mary Shelley, The Last Man (1826)

Nevil Shute, On the Beach (1957)

Bruce Sterling (ed.) Mirrorshades The Cyberpunk Anthology (1986)

Rupert Thomson, Divided Kingdom (2005)

H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)

H.G. Wells, The Sleeper Awakes (1910)

H.G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come (1933)

Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods (2007)

John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (1951)

John Wyndham, The Chrysalids (1955)

John Wyndham, ‘Consider Her Ways’, in William Golding, John Wyndham and Mervyn Peake, Sometime, Never (1957)

Yevgeny Zamyatin, We (1924)


Suggestions for further reading: secondary

(* = available as an e-book/online via the library website)


Sara Ahmed, ‘Happy Futures’, in The Promise of Happiness (2010), pp160-98

Lucie Armitt, Where No Man Has Gone Before: Women and Science Fiction (1991)

Tim Armstrong, Modernism, Technology and the Body (1998)

Bill Ashcroft, ‘Critical Utopias’, Textual Practice 21.3 (2007): 411-31

Brian Attebury, Decoding Gender in Science Fiction (2002)

Rafaella Baccolini and Tom Moylan (eds.), Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination (2003)

Dominic Baker-Smith, More’s Utopia (1991)

Angelika Bammer, Partial Visions: Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s (1991)

Maureen S. Barr, Future Females: A Critical Anthology (1981)

Maureen Barr and Nicholas D. Smith (eds.), Women and Utopia (1983)

Frances Bartkowski, Feminist Utopias (1989)

Emily Baruch, ‘“A Natural and Necessary Monster”: Women in Utopia’, Alternative Futures 2.1 (1978): 49-60

Jean Baudrillard, ‘Simulacra and Simulations’, in Mark Poster (ed.), Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings (1988) pp169-87

Jean Baudrillard, The Illusion of the End (1994)

Matthew Beaumont, Utopia Ltd: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England, 1870-1900 (2005)

Matthew Beaumont, The Spectre of Utopia: Utopian and Science Fictions at the Fin de Siècle (2012)

Matthew Beaumont and Michael Freeman (eds.), The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space and the Machine Ensemble (2007)

Oliver Bennett, Cultural Pessimism: Narratives of Decline in the Postmodern World (2000)

Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope, trans. by Neville Plaice, Stephen Plaice, and Paul Knight, 3 vols. (1986)

Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia (2000)

Amy Boesky, Founding Fictions: Utopias in Early Modern England (1996)

M. Keith Booker, Dystopian Literature: A Theory and Research Guide (1994)

Mark Bould and China Miéville (eds.), Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (2009)

*Susan Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (2002)

Frederick Buell, From Apocalypse to Way of Life: Environmental Crisis in the American Century (2004)

Jennifer Burwell, Notes on Nowhere: Feminism, Utopian Logic and Social Transformation (1997)

John Carey, The Faber Book of Utopias (2000)

Dani Cavallaro, Cyberpunk and Cyberculture: Science Fiction and the Work of William Gibson (2000)

Thomas D. Clareson (ed.), Many Futures, Many Worlds: Theme and Form in Science Fiction (1977)

*Gregory Claeys (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature (2010)

Gregory Claeys and Lyman Tower Sargent (eds.), The Utopia Reader (1999)

A.D. Cousins and Damian Grace (eds.), More’s Utopia and the Utopian Inheritance (1995)

Anne Cranny-Francis, Feminist Fiction: Feminist Uses of Generic Fiction (1990)

Barbara Creed, The Monstrous Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (1993)

Barbara Creed, Phallic Panic: Film, Horror and the Primal Uncanny (2005)

Stephen Crook, ‘Utopia and Dystopia’, in Gary K. Browning, Abgail Halcli and Frank Webster (eds.), Understanding Contemporary Society (2000), pp205-18

Jodi Dean, ‘Webs of Conspiracy’, in Andrew Herman and Thomas Swiss (eds.), The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory (2000), pp63-76

Richard Dellamora (ed.), Postmodern Apocalypse (1995)

Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004)

Robert C. Elliott, The Shape of Utopia: Studies in a Literary Genre (1970)

Chris Ferns, Narrating Utopia: Ideology, Gender, Form in Utopian Literature (1999)

Peter Edgerly Firchow, Modern Utopian Fictions from H.G. Wells to Iris Murdoch (2007)

Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth (eds.), Reload: Rethinking Women and Cyberculture (2002)

Carl Freedman, ‘Science Fiction and Critical Theory’, Science Fiction Studies 14.2 (1987): 180-200

Vincent Geoghegan, Utopianism and Marxism (1987)

Jack Goldsmith, Abbott Gleason and Martha Nussbaum (eds.), On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future (2005)

Barbara Goodwin and Keith Taylor, The Politics of Utopia (1982)

Alex Goody, Technology, Literature and Culture (2011)

Michael D. Gordin, Helen Tilley, and Gyan Prakash (eds.), Utopia/Dystopia: Conditions of Historical Possibility (2010)

John Gray, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (2007)

Donna Haraway, ‘A Manifesto for Cyborgs’, in Linda Nicholson (ed.), Feminism / Postmodernism (1990), pp190-233. Also an edited version in Kemp and Squires (eds.), Feminisms (1997), pp474-82

David Harvey, Spaces of Hope (2000)

Veronica Hollinger, ‘(Re)reading Queerly: Science Fiction, Feminism, and the Defamiliarization of Gender’, Science Fiction Studies 26.1 (1999): 23-40

Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon (eds.), Edging in the Future: Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation (2002)

*Veronica Hollinger, ‘Feminist Theory and Science Fiction’, in Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003), pp125-36

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (1958)

Russell Jacoby, The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy (1999)

*Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003)

*Edward James, ‘Utopias and anti-utopias’, in Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003), pp219-29

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1992)

Fredric Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005)

Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (1966)

David Ketterer, New Worlds for Old: The Apocalyptic Imagination, Science Fiction, and American Literature (1974)

Margarete Keulen, Radical Imagination: Feminist Conceptions of the Future in Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy and Sally Miller Gearhart (1991)

Gill Kirkup (ed.), The Gendered Cyborg (2000)

Sally Kitch, Higher Ground: From Utopianism to Realism in American Feminist Thought and Theory (2000)

Peter Knight, Conspiracy Culture (2000)

Annette Kuhn (ed.), Alien Zone II (1999)

Krishan Kumar, Utopianism (1991)

Krishan Kumar, Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times (1991)

Krishan Kumar and Stephen Bann (eds.), Utopias and the Millennium (1993)

George Landow, Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology (1997)

Justine Larbalestier, The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (2002)

Sarah Lefanu, In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction (1988)

Ruth Levitas, The Concept of Utopia (1990)

Roger Luckhurst, Science Fiction (2005)

Larry McCaffery, ‘The Desert of the Real’, in McCaffery (ed.) Storming the Reality Studio (1991), pp1-16

Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (1968)

Erin McKenna, The Task of Utopia: A Pragmatist and Feminist Perspective (2001)

Anne Mellor, ‘On Feminist Utopias’, Women’s Studies 9.3 (1982): 241-62

Patricia Melzer, Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought (2006)

Kaye Mitchell, ‘Bodies That Matter: Science Fiction, Technoculture and the Gendered Body’, Science Fiction Studies 33.1 (2006): 109-28

Tom Moylan, Demand the Impossible: Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination (1986)

Tom Moylan, Scraps of the Untainted Sky: Science Fiction, Utopia, Dystopia (2000)

Tom Moylan and Raffaella Baccolini (eds.), Utopia Method Vision: The Use Value of Social Dreaming (2007)

José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia (2009)

Caitríona Ní Dhúill, Sex in Imagined Spaces: Gender and Utopia from More to Bloch (2010)

Peter Y. Paik, From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe (2010)

Patrick Parrinder, H.G. Wells (1972)

Patrick Parrinder, Science Fiction: A Critical Guide (1979)

Patrick Parrinder, Shadows of the Future: H.G. Wells, Science Fiction, and Prophecy (1995)

Patrick Parrinder (ed.), Learning from Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia (2001)

Wendy Gay Pearson, ‘Alien Cryptographies: The View from Queer’, Science Fiction Studies 26.1 (1999): 1-22

Wendy Gay Pearson, Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon (eds.), Queer Universes: Sexualities and Science Fiction (2008)

Constance Penley, Elisabeth Lyon, Lynn Spigel and Janet Bergstrom (eds.), Close Encounters: Film, Feminism, and Science Fiction (1991)

*Adam Roberts, Science Fiction (2005)

Robin Roberts, A New Species: Gender and Science in Science Fiction (1993)

Natalie Rosinsky, Feminist Futures: Contemporary Women’s Speculative Fiction (1984)

Peter Ruppert, Reader in a Strange Land: The Activity of Reading Literary Utopias (1986)

Lyman Tower Sargent, ‘The Three Faces of Utopianism’, Minnesota Review 7.3 (1967): 222-30

Lyman Tower Sargent, ‘Authority and Utopia: Utopianism and Political Thought’, Polity 14.4 (1982)

Lyman Tower Sargent, ‘Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited’, Utopian Studies 5.1 (1994: 1-37

Lucy Sargisson, Contemporary Feminist Utopianism (1996)

Lucy Sargisson, Utopian Bodies and the Politics of Transgression (2000)

Karin Schonpflug, Feminism, Economics and Utopia (2008)

*David Seed (ed.), A Companion to Science Fiction (2005)

Kaja Silverman, ‘Back to the Future’, Camera Obscura 27 (1991): 109-32

Stefan Skrimshire (ed.), Future Ethics: Climate Change and Apocalyptic Imagination (2010)

Vivian Sobchak, Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film (1987)

Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979)

Mary E. Theis, Mothers and Masters in Contemporary Utopian and Dystopian Literature (2009)

Clyde Wilcox and Donald M. Hassler, Political Science Fiction (1997)

Raymond Williams, ‘Utopia and Science Fiction’, Science Fiction Studies 5.3 (1978): 203-14

Jay Winter, Dreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the 20th Century (2006)

Jenny Wolmark, Aliens and Others: Science Fiction, Feminism and Postmodernism (1994)

Jenny Wolmark (ed.), Cybersexualities: A Reader on Feminist Theory, Cyborgs and Cyberspace (1999)

Women’s Studies 14.2 (1987) – special issue: ‘Feminism Faces the Fantastic’

Slavoj Zizek, Living in the End Times (2010)




*Science Fiction Studies

*Utopian Studies



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