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British Science Fiction & Fantasy - ENG00079H

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jonathan Brockbank
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

From the 1890s British Science fiction and fantasy has consistently created texts that are the archetypes of the genre, inventing themes which are being reused and reinvented up to the present day. Films like Battle L.A. ultimately derive from H. G. Wells’ depiction of Martian invasion in The War of the Worlds, whilst the intricate fantasy world of Game of Thrones owes a great deal to the Middle Earth of Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings.  This module will look at some of the shorter classics of the genres, such as H. G. Wells The War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr Moreau and C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Silver Chair. Though texts like the Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter sequence are too long to set formally, students familiar with the books or films are welcome to throw these into the discussion!

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

The aim of this module is to explore the social, political and aesthetic potentials of some classic SF texts.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be in a position

  • to appreciate genres that have often been neglected by academic and critical tradition.
  • to explain these genres’ potential as vehicles for social commentary and observation.
  • to understand the genres’ ability to convey challenging concepts to a readership that would otherwise have not have come across such imaginative ideas.
  • to investigate the surprising and literal perspectives thrown on important critical theories such as Kristiva’s ‘The Other’, Baudrillard’s ‘Simulacra’ and Foucault’s ‘Heterotopia’.


Task Length % of module mark
3500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

  • You will be given the opportunity to hand in a 1000 word formative essay in the term in which the module is taught (usually in the week 7 seminar).  Material from this essay may be re-visited in your summative essay and it is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. This essay will be submitted in hard copy and your tutor will annotate it and return it two weeks later (usually in your week 9 seminar).  Summary feedback will be uploaded to your eVision account.  All students will have the opportunity to give an in-class individual presentation during a seminar in weeks 2-9.


Task Length % of module mark
3500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours 
  • For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading

  • H G Wells
  • The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine
  • The Island of Dr Moreau, The World Set Free? Or ‘In The Days of the Comet ?
  • J M Barrie, Kenneth Grahame
  • Peter Pan [novel], The Wind in The Willows
  • E M Forster, J R R Tolkien
  • ‘The Machine Stops’, ‘Shire’ sections of Lord of the Rings. Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring and Chapter 8 of The Return of the King.
  • C S Lewis
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Silver Chair
  • John Wyndham, Brian Aldiss
  • The Day of the Triffids, ‘Gesture of Remembrance’
  • J G Ballard
  • ‘Terminal Beach’, ‘Concrete Island’
  • Nigel Kneale
  • Quatermass and the Pit [film]

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.