Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

Human Machines and Fleshy Robots in Science Fiction and Film

Instructor: Nick Laudadio

Within its multitude of subgenres, methodologies, and mannerisms, much of science fiction relies on a few basic tropes: most notably other worlds, other times, and simply others. In this class we will attempt to build a focused history of SF by emphasizing that last, most contentious theme, the
notion of the other body, built by (or from) the human. We will deal in particular with the mechanical being and the consistent attempt to both fabricate "life" or "consciousness" by technological means and to extend the senses and structures of the human body mechanically. In order to accomplish
this, we will work through a number of novels, short stories and films that depict the ediated/mechanical human body in science fiction and science fact.

Some texts we may consider:

Brian Aldiss' "Supertoys Last All Summer Long,"

Asimov's "Runaround",

Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,"

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein,"

Tetsuo: "The Iron Man,"

"The Day The Earth Stood Still,"

"Forbidden Planet,"

as well as other sources texts and critical materials.

NB: While this course will display a healthy respect for tremendously popular SF series such as Star Trek and Star Wars, our concentration here will be on exploring other less-well-known texts and films.

Last Update: February 10, 2017