Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Science Fiction Portal

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Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Part I: Dune) First in the Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! Join us for the first module in a series of three modules in which we closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Part III: The Prophet) Continuing Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! Join us for the final module of our series in which we closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet

Note: If you did not participate in an earlier module of this series, please consider joining still! You would be most welcome to jump in mid-stream with us.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Part II: Muad’dib) Continuing Series

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! Join us for the second module in a series of three modules in which we closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet

Note: If you did not participate in module 1 of this series, please consider joining still! You would be most welcome to jump in mid-stream with us.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune by Frank Herbert (Series) Series of 3

Kull Wahad, let’s read Frank Herbert’s Dune! In this series of three modules, we will closely read Frank Herbert’s masterwork. We will explore themes like heroism, mythology, history, ecology, politics and religion while following the dynastic struggles between the Atreides family and the ruthless Harkonnens. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for a cozy book club. Let the spice flow!

Module 1: Book I: Dune
Module 2: Book II: Muad’dib
Module 3: Book III: The Prophet
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Ha! Ha! You’re Mine!

Considered the first sci-fi novel, Frankenstein is much more than the famous monster who has entered pop culture. From philosophy to science, this novel deals with many issues, confuses the reader, and makes us wonder who the real hero is. We will discuss the themes, imagery, character development, and the many different allusions to other texts mentioned in the book in a relaxed and interactive way.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Book Club: Chapterhouse Dune 1 First in the Series

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the Frank Herbert's final Dune novel, Chapterhouse Dune. The universe as we know it is gone, as the Honored Matres sweep across the stars and destroy everything in their path. On the remote world Chapterhouse, a handful of rebel Bene Gesserit fight to preserve the last sandworms and the hope of humanity...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Chapterhouse Dune 2 Continuing Series

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the Frank Herbert's final Dune novel, Chapterhouse Dune. The universe as we know it is gone, as the Honored Matres sweep across the stars and destroy everything in their path. On the remote world Chapterhouse, a handful of rebel Bene Gesserit fight to preserve the last sandworms and the hope of humanity...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Chapterhouse Dune Series of 2

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the Frank Herbert's final Dune novel, Chapterhouse Dune. The universe as we know it is gone, as the Honored Matres sweep across the stars and destroy everything in their path. On the remote world Chapterhouse, a handful of rebel Bene Gesserit fight to preserve the last sandworms and the hope of humanity...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Children of Dune (Part 1 of 2) Series of 2

Have you seen the Preacher?

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the third Dune novel, Children of Dune. Chaos and civil war threaten the Atreides legacy as religious fanatics rise to challenge the family’s rule.

The culmination of the initial Dune trilogy is another sweeping epic of intrigue and survival in the face of overwhelming odds. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as the heirs of Paul Atreides discover the path laid out for them—and its deadly consequences.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Children of Dune (Part 2 of 2) Continuing Series

Have you seen the Preacher?

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the third Dune novel, Children of Dune. Chaos and civil war threaten the Atreides legacy as religious fanatics rise to challenge the family’s rule.

The culmination of the initial Dune trilogy is another sweeping epic of intrigue and survival in the face of overwhelming odds. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as the heirs of Paul Atreides discover the path laid out for them—and its deadly consequences.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Dune Messiah

By Shai-Hulud, let’s read Dune Messiah!

In this one-month module, we will read and discuss the second Dune novel, Dune Messiah. Paul Atreides has avenged his father and created a new interstellar empire—but at what cost?

Though considerably shorter, the follow-up to Dune is even more intricate and complex. We will explore themes like hero cults, history, politics and religious violence, as Paul’s vision leads him into a trap of his own making.

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: God Emperor of Dune 1 First in the Series

"Is this your Golden Path, Tyrant?"

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fourth Dune novel, God Emperor of Dune. Three millennia after the events of the first Dune trilogy, Leto Atreides II rules the known universe with inhuman ruthlessness. All but immortal, Leto goads humanity onward to a new evolutionary pathway. The future of the species depends upon it. He will stop at nothing to achieve his vision - even if it means his own destruction and the end of civilization as we know it...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: God Emperor of Dune 2 Continuing Series

"Is this your Golden Path, Tyrant?"

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fourth Dune novel, God Emperor of Dune. Three millennia after the events of the first Dune trilogy, Leto Atreides II rules the known universe with inhuman ruthlessness. All but immortal, Leto goads humanity onward to a new evolutionary pathway. The future of the species depends upon it. He will stop at nothing to achieve his vision - even if it means his own destruction and the end of civilization as we know it...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: God Emperor of Dune Series of 2

"Is this your Golden Path, Tyrant?"

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fourth Dune novel, God Emperor of Dune. Three millennia after the events of the first Dune trilogy, Leto Atreides II rules the known universe with inhuman ruthlessness. All but immortal, Leto goads humanity onward to a new evolutionary pathway. The future of the species depends upon it. He will stop at nothing to achieve his vision - even if it means his own destruction and the end of civilization as we know it...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Heretics of Dune 1 First in the Series

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fifth Dune novel, Heretics of Dune. 1500 years after the reign of Leto II, humanity is locked on the path laid out by the tyrant. Yet a new threat emerges from the shadows: the Honored Matres, a deadly ecstatic cult bent upon the destruction of the planet Dune...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Heretics of Dune 2 Continuing Series

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fifth Dune novel, Heretics of Dune. 1500 years after the reign of Leto II, humanity is locked on the path laid out by the tyrant. Yet a new threat emerges from the shadows: the Honored Matres, a deadly ecstatic cult bent upon the destruction of the planet Dune...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Heretics of Dune Series of 2

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fifth Dune novel, Heretics of Dune. 1500 years after the reign of Leto II, humanity is locked on the path laid out by the tyrant. Yet a new threat emerges from the shadows: the Honored Matres, a deadly ecstatic cult bent upon the destruction of the planet Dune...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Epistolary fiction may have you thinking of Frankenstein and Dracula, but they were just the beginning. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone builds on the epistolary tradition while creating a whole new experience with their epistolary science fiction/time travel/lgbtqia+ romance novella. We will explore the framing, narrative, metaphor, character, and linguistic choices of the authors in depth as we take our time dissecting this novella with fellow book lovers.
Precepted by Laurel Stevens

Chinese History for Fans of Chinese Media

If you are a fan of any form of Chinese popular media such as CDramas, films, wuxia pian (martial arts films and novels) and so on, you will almost certainly find yourself exposed to a wide array of different historical settings and contexts. In this module we will explore those moments and periods in the history of China that often appear as settings or references in Chinese popular media as a way to broaden and deepen our understanding and enjoyment of it.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Constructed and Fictional Languages in Science Fiction

The use of fictional languages in science fiction from the good to the bad. This includes fully constructed languages, references to constructed and foreign languages, as well as misuse or misunderstandings of language change. How these subtle points contribute to or detract from world building. This will expand on the work of Ria Cheyne through examples and delving deeper linguistically.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Creative Writing: Cultures in Fantasy and Science Fiction

This module takes a deep dive into imagined culture. How can you integrate imaginary customs, traditions, art, values and social norms seamlessly into your narrative? Analyzing examples from authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert and Margaret Atwood, you will discover how details such as clothing, body language and colloquialisms can enrich your world. Whether you are a beginning writer or looking to enhance your current skills, this is the ideal module for anybody who wants to make their universe feel like a real place!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Fantastic Beasts and How to Write Them

Manticores, Owlbears and Kappas, oh my! In this quirky module, we will continue our deep dive into world-building, with a particular focus on monsters and imagined creatures. Using extracts from ancient myths and medieval bestiaries as writing prompts, you will have the opportunity to share short pieces or extracts from longer projects in a supportive workshop. Alternatively, you can let your imagination run wild as you populate a menagerie with creatures of your own devising! A fun module that will help you fill your world with uncanny fauna.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: History and Politics in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Let’s go deeper into world-building with this exploration of history and politics in fantasy and science fiction. How can you write a sense of history and add political conflict to enrich the setting of your world? Unpacking examples from authors such as Robert Jordan, Samantha Shannon, Frank Herbert and James S. A. Corey, you will discover how to seamlessly integrate history and politics into your world-building. You will then have the opportunity to share your own world-building in a supportive workshop. This is the perfect module for any writer who wants to make their world feel immersive.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Pitching Your Story

You've written an epic book or an incredible screenplay, but what comes next? In this module, we will discuss how to make your story irresistible to potential buyers and entice readers to pick up your book! Examining successful examples combined with my experience in attracting publishers and an agent, we will workshop your query letter, synopsis and blurb, before finessing your verbal pitch. Whether you are looking to a traditional writing deal or an indie career, this module will help you sell the sizzle in your narrative.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction

In this module, we continue our exploration of world-building, asking deep questions about religion in fantasy and science fiction. How does religion affect the day-to-day life of your characters, or their sense of morality? To what extent do your characters believe in the soul or the afterlife? How do magic and science interact with religion? How does religion relate to spirituality in your universe? Is it possible to be an atheist in a world where gods walk among humans? In this module, you will have the opportunity to write short pieces based on writing prompts, or share your ongoing projects in a supportive workshop. This is a wondrous module for anyone who wants to deepen their imagined universes!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Stories in the Darkness

Join the amazing Jennie Starstuff: NASA Solar System Ambassador with Sparrow F. Alden to talk about the coolest, trippiest space physics to inspire our fiction! We’ll learn stuff on one day to use as writing prompts for peer-review on the second day. The plan is to explore star lore and archaeoastronomy; gravity and relativity (things get really weird); stars and cosmic life cycles; and life in the cosmos (alien contact? Heck, yes!). What about the amazing spaces between? We will have wonderful sonifications (sound pictures) of some of the most wonder-filled, hard to believe astro science out there—just imagine the stories we’ll create!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Writing Computers

What does a computer scientist wish that writers knew? That we are building aliens right here on Earth? That perception is not what we think it is? Join us for four weeks of learning, writing, and feedback. In "How Does Hacking Actually Work?" we'll learn to write far more complex and realistic scenes than Hollywood. In "Computer Perception" we'll talk about detecting the simple presence of volts and the most subtle patterns of the cosmos. In "Computer Interfaces" we're going to cook up stories about the Alien, the Understander, and the Quality of Misunderstanding. Finally in "Atemporal Decision Theory" we're going to ask enough questions about Truth, sentience, and honor to fill adventure after adventure with artificial and artisanal intelligences. Each week we'll have a learning and discussion day plus a day to reflect on "This idea made me ask 'what if?' and reach for my keyboard."

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Exploring The Three Body Problem

First ever Asian winner of the Hugo award for best novel, as well as winning the Chinese Yinhe (“Galaxy”) award for best novel, and nominated for the Nebula award for best novel, and serving as the source material for an upcoming Netflix series by the same name, The Three-Body Problem is an exploration of both humanistic and technological themes in the context of Chinese history and contemporary society, all set in a narrative of alien invasion. There are few novels better for beginning to explore Chinese science fiction, so please join us as we take a deep dive into this fascinating masterpiece!

Content advisory: Graphic depictions of historical violence.

Exploring William Gibson's Jackpot

Attn: All continua enthusiasts and stub residents, join us as we delve into the world of William Gibson's recent novel and Amazon Prime series, The Peripheral. A world of branch universes, nanobot assassinations, attenuated time travel and kleptocrats, all under the ever-watchful Periwinkle eyes of Detective Inspector Ainsley Lowbeer and the looming Jackpot. If you have read the novels already, this is a great chance to revisit them in light of the Amazon series for The Peripheral which began in 2022. If you have never read William Gibson, this is an opportunity to explore Gibson's particular flavor of fast-paced action, braided narratives, and provocative ideas.
Precepted by Dr. Patrick Malloy

Exploring William Gibson's Jackpot: Agency

Agency is the second novel of William Gibson's Jackpot Trilogy. Agency's timeline emerges in a branch universe where the 2016 election went otherwise and a somewhat salty AI assistant gets loose in the internet. Nanobot assassinations and attenuated time travel, surly barristas and tech billionaires, smart-ass AI and an elderly super-empowerd Detective Inspector Ainsley work to avoid the blades of the looming Jackpot. Although a sequel to The Peripheral, you need not have read that book to enjoy Agency. Please join us!
Precepted by Dr. Patrick Malloy

Geology of Fictional Worlds

This course introduces the student to the various aspects of geology and how they can relate to worldbuilding and mapmaking. This includes continents, plate tectonics, mountains, water, glaciers, planetary patterns, the distribution of rock types and natural resources, natural disasters and weather patterns. This background would allow students to better evaluate fictional maps as well as create them. Examples will be drawn from Middle-earth, Earth-sea, Westeros, Dungeons and Dragons, and suggestions from students.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Babylon 5: Who Are You?

The first of the two essential questions raised in Babylon 5, “Who are you” demands that listeners and respondents consider the nature of their own mortality and personhood, delving deeply into their multifaceted identities. This four-week seminar explores the responses to this question as given by six core members of the Babylon 5 universe and considers its presentation as a core Vorlon question, examining the world of Babylon 5 as a space of introspection and self-discovery.
Precepted by Dr. Faith Acker

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep / Blade Runner - A Study in Adaptation

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."

Dive into a world where the lines between human and machine blur. In this module, we will read Philip K. Dick's classic novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Then we shall compare it to the ground-breaking cinematic adaptations, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 . Unpacking the evolution of the story and its various iterations, we will get together twice a week to discuss its questions about humanity, empathy, and artificial intelligence. No prior knowledge assumed - all are welcome in this class!

Week 1 & 2: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Week 3: Blade Runner
Week 4: Blade Runner 2049
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Ink Spots and Tea Stains: What we Learn from C.S. Lewis's Writing Habits

C.S. Lewis is one of the most prolific and influential writers of the 20th century. And yet, in his early career as an Oxford don, he viewed himself as a failed poet. Moreover, his most canonical and transformational writing happened during the most stress-filled periods of his life. This short course allows students to peek into the writing life of C.S. Lewis. Our goal is to see through the lines of printed text by visiting the letters and archival remains of Lewis in a virtual setting. Most of C.S. Lewis's papers remain undigitized and unpublished, available only locally at archives in North America and England.

As Professor Brenton Dickieson has visited these archives, he is able to invite students to appreciate C.S. Lewis's writing life by looking at the way that he consciously and unconsciously built his literary career. This course is for writers who are developing their own habits and literary life-prints, as well as folks who are curious about C.S. Lewis's life beyond the biographies and bestselling books.

Klingon 1 First in the Series

ghojlu’meH QaQ jajvam! (“Today is a good day to learn!”) Klingons: the bumpy-headed warrior race from Star Trek that is obsessed with honor and glory. You’ve heard about people who learn to speak Klingon, and now you can join their ranks. This course will teach students how to read and speak the Warrior’s Tongue. Start with basic grammar and work up to complex sentences. Learn Klingon’s complex inventory of prefixes and suffixes. By the end of this course, you will be able to read and converse in basic Klingon. Qapla’! (“Success!”).

After Klingon 1, those students wishing to continue their Klingon experience can take Klingon 2, the final module in the Klingon series.
Precepted by David Trimboli

Klingon 2 Continuing Series

So you've learned to speak basic Klingon. But, do you know the correct response when a Klingon tells you a secret? What does it mean if a Klingon says you're using a big scoop? Why do Klingons mix up their words when making toasts? How do you address your loved ones in private and in public? Why are some Klingons mispronouncing certain words? This course, which assumes you have completed Klingon 1, will teach you about the cultural nuances of the Klingon language, including its slang, idioms, dialects, argot, forms of address, familial terms, ritualized speech, measurements, and mathematics.
Precepted by David Trimboli

Klingon Series Series of 2

ghojlu’meH QaQ jajvam! (“Today is a good day to learn!”) Klingons: the bumpy-headed warrior race from Star Trek that is obsessed with honor and glory. You’ve heard about people who learn to speak Klingon, and now you can join their ranks. This course will teach students how to read and speak the Warrior’s Tongue. Start with basic grammar and work up to complex sentences. Learn Klingon’s complex inventory of prefixes and suffixes. By the end of this course, you will be able to read and converse in basic Klingon. Qapla’! (“Success!”).

After Klingon 1, those students wishing to continue their Klingon experience can take Klingon 2, the final module in the Klingon series.
Precepted by David Trimboli

Loving the Alien

Science fiction and other popular media frequently feature depictions of extraterrestrial life. From little green men to Daleks to the Borg and beyond, our stories are filled with visions of beings both alien to us yet also remarkably familiar.

This module will consist of two elements:

(1) Exploration and discussion of fictional extraterrestrials from popular series including but not limited to Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and assorted anime/comic book titles.

(2) An introduction to the real-world Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and the field of astrobiology, which will help us more deeply appreciate the question, “Are we alone?”
Precepted by Jennie Starstuff

Meet The Last Man

One of the most relevant novels you could read right now was written almost two centuries ago. Mary Shelley’s The Last Man asks what it means to be human while living in unprecedented times. This 1826 classic of apocalyptic science fiction considers the implications of a global pandemic, a rapidly changing environment, and the failures of political and social institutions. Part imaginative autobiography, part science fictional warning, and part ecocritical thought experiment, The Last Man forces us to examine our assumptions about our present and future.

In this module we will consider Mary Shelley’s novel in the context of her life, times, and intellectual history. We will also explore the afterlife of The Last Man in critical discussions of the ominously similar challenges we face in the 21st century. In the process, we will discuss the novel’s lasting meanings and contributions as pioneering work of speculative fiction.
Precepted by Dr. Amy H. Sturgis

Star Wars and Joseph Campbell

Unleash the power of the Force and explore the mythological roots of the Star Wars universe! This module takes you on a journey through the iconic Original Star Wars Trilogy, revealing the timeless archetypes and universal themes that have captivated audiences for generations. As a class we will read Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and discuss its influence on the Original Star Wars Trilogy. You will get to examine the hero's journey as presented in Campbell's influential work and how it shaped the characters, plot, and imagery of the Star Wars films. Let’s get together and geek out over the mythology underpinning this beloved franchise!
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Star Wars: Mysteries of the Force

In this module, we will discuss the aspects of the Force as depicted in Star Wars films, tv, and video games. We will look at specific characters and cults (Jedi v. Sith, the Bendu, Nightsisters, etc.) to understand where they fit in the wider mythology far far away, as well as other mystical motifs and ideas (Mortis, the World Between Worlds). There are tons of different topics to choose from, so there will be plenty to discuss in this course.
Precepted by Joshua Sosa

The Andre Norton Nebula Award

Join Dr. Sara Brown and Sparrow Alden as they read their way through the winners and nominees of the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. How do these books speak to their special audience? What do they reflect about changing society? How do they build or break down their readers' connection to modern culture? How do they use heritage and world mythology to bring their stories to life?

Each time this module is presented, we will choose two different Norton Award novels to read, enjoy, discuss, and analyze with various critical tools. Mostly we're going to read great books and have fun working to understand them at deeper and deeper levels.

"The Last of Us" in Adaptation

HBO’s new “The Last of Us” TV show (2023) is widely hailed as the best adaptation of a video game. “The Last of Us” video game (2013) tells the story of a cynical older man befriending a young girl during a zombie apocalypse. The game received praise for its subtle storytelling and strong characterizations. The lead creator of the game is also a showrunner and insisted that HBO remain faithful to the game. However, the show uses the freedom of TV to expand upon the backstories of characters. In this course, we will watch the TV show and play the video game simultaneously. We will then discuss how the genre/medium of each affects adaptation choices.

Note: Students do not need to have watched the show or played the game beforehand, but will need to have access to both. Students can also watch a walkthrough of "The Last of Us" in lieu of playing the game.
Precepted by Dominic Nardi

The Minoans and Modernity: Minotaurs, Labyrinths, and Other Myths

When one thinks of ancient, pre-classical civilisations, one thinks of Sumerians, Egyptians, Hittites, and, not least, Minoans. The Minoan civilisation, discovered around 1900 by English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, has often been styled as the first major European civilisation, equally proficient in technology and the arts, with a sea empire spanning across the Eastern Aegean. But how much of what we imagine about the Minoans is truthful and how much is modern mythmaking?

In this module, we will examine the immense impact which the discovery of Minoan Crete and its integration with the classical myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth has had on literature, movies, the arts, and even computer games. We will examine the works of Sir Arthur Evans, Pablo Picasso, Nikos Kazantzakis, Robert Graves, Mary Renault, Poul Anderson, and Stephen King, among others. In so doing, we will explore such key 'Minoan' concepts and phenomena as: the sublime, utopianism, feminism, irrationality and the unconscious, mythmaking, and European identity.

Video Game Storytelling

Video games are an exciting new medium for storytelling because they give players agency within the story world. In this class, we’ll look at recent examples of games that use interactivity to tell stories not possible in any other medium. We’ll see how games encourage players to identify with characters’ emotions through gameplay; incorporate world-building into the setting; and handle the branching pathways of player choice. The games we’ll play are relatively short and are accessible to students who have never played video games before.
Precepted by Dominic Nardi

Video Game Studies

Inviting students to share their delight in, and deepen their appreciation of, video games, we will discuss examples of the art, music, gameplay, and story from a range of influential titles. We will introduce and experiment with some of the theoretical frameworks that have been applied to video games as media objects and cultural artifacts. But mostly, we will enjoy learning more about the medium and the games we already love. Aside from links and selections shared throughout the module, Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. will be the only required reading.
Precepted by Wesley Schantz

Writers' Workshop: The Different Body Problem

It's a sometimes inconvenient fact that characters have bodies, and sometimes, those bodies directly affect the stories we write about them. Writing characters who live in bodies that do not perform according to the cultural standard is a skill like any other part of the writer's craft.

In this course, we will look at examples from literature of how authors have dealt with what we usually call disabilities. Some have done well, others have materially harmed people with their writing.

We will also work with one another to hone our craft as writers who are telling stories so that we can find the new and inspirational, while leaving behind the worn-out clichés that make the lives of people like your preceptor materially harder.

Note: Texts will be provided by the preceptor.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].