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Further Adventures in Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Building on the key concepts explored in Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, this course will further develop your understanding of some of the most influential science fiction (SF) and fantasy writers to date.

The course will explore the makings of character, paying particular attention to unreliable narrators and the ‘bad guys’, and will examine the blending of other genres (comedy, horror, gothic) with science fiction and fantasy texts.

You will learn to hone your worldbuilding skills and avoid ‘info dumps’. Authors discussed will include Terry Pratchett, J. R. R. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Octavia Butler, Aldous Huxley, Ursula Le Guin and N. K. Jemisin.

The course can be studied as a follow-on to CE5432 Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy or as a standalone option.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through ten 2-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Workshops are likely to include:

  • The difference between science fiction and fantasy
  • How to avoid boring exposition and infodumps
  • How to combine world building with characters and plot
  • How to reveal world details dramatically through actions and reactions
  • The role of routine behaviour in grounding the fantastical
  • Identity, time, alterity, consciousness, the human, the posthuman, the alien, counter-factual history, virtual reality, and simulation
  • Revision, feedback, and reflection.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

The basis of assessment will be a portfolio of SF and/or Fantasy writing consisting of your best work produced on this module (approx. 2000 words).

This portfolio may consist of several separate creative pieces or one piece of extended writing, by prior agreement with the tutor. There will be a reflective element to the portfolio.

Reading suggestions

Each week will be grounded in a particular text. Indicative examples include:

  • Ursula Le Guin Earthsea (2012)
  • N. K. Jeminsin The City We Became (2021)
  • Douglas Adams Life, The Universe and Everything (2020)
  • Octavia Butler Dawn: Lilith’s Brood (2022)
  • Aldous Huxley Brave New World (2007)
  • Margaret Atwood The Testaments (2020)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.