About ENGS 040 A

Topics in Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. Subjects vary by semester. Representative topics: Tolkien's Middle Earth; The Hobbit; Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy. May be repeated for credit with different content. Topics vary by offering; periodic offering at intervals that may exceed four years.


Open to Degree and CDE students

Section Description

Climate change isn’t science fiction, but there’s plenty of thought-provoking science fiction about it, both cautionary tales and the more hopeful and aspirational sub-genre of 'solarpunk.' We’ll start the semester by reading and talking about the ways in which sci-fi can tackle the climate crisis more effectively than literary fiction and where it still falls short. Then, we’ll use journalism, non-fiction essays, and of course, fiction novels and short stories to examine how climate change threatens sustainable development and how lack of investment in sustainable development in turn contributes to climate change. We will read each work of fiction through the lens of one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enabling you to see the intersections between goals. Through close reading and discussion, we will link the causes and impacts of the climate crisis with the specific, hypothesized events in the world each author creates and examine how those impacts both jeopardize the sustainability goals in question and emerge from failures to achieve sustainable development. This course fulfills the Sustainability requirement.

Section Expectation

This course is primarily discussion-based. Required materials: 1. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Amitav Ghosh, ISBN 978-0226526812). 2. Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood, ISBN 978-0385721677) 3. Parable of the Sower (Octavia Butler, ISBN 978-1538732182) 4. Blackfish City (Sam Miller, ISBN 978-0062684875) Any editions of these books will be fine, and all are available in e-book format. We will begin reading The Great Derangement the first week of class, so you must have it by then. (I also encourage you to consider starting to read it before classes start, as it is a meaty and sometimes challenging read.)


Grading will include attendance and participation, brief reading responses, an annotated bibliography, a group research presentation, and a short story. This course uses 'Specifications Grading.' (Details to be provided.)

Course Dates



Lafayette Hall L102 (View Campus Map)


to on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw


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