Syllabus: Sci-fi & Fantasy 101


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week they suggest a new book-related topic. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we talk what class we would teach if we could and what our syllabus would be along with the books the class would read. I chose Sci-Fi & Fantasy 101 for an intro class into the genres.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy 101

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Science fiction and fantasy are two related genres with a number of sub-genres. Realistic world building is an important aspect of both science fiction and fantasy and there’s often overlap between the two genres.

Science fiction–speculative fiction dealing with “plausible” scientific ideas. Sub-genres include: military SF, space opera, cyberpunk, dystopian and post-apocalyptic, time travel.

Fantasy usually deals with magic and/or supernatural creatures and may take place in imaginary worlds. Some sub-genres: epic or high fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, steampunk, magic realism.

This class gives an overview of both genres. Some of these books are fantasy, some are science fiction. Some blend the two. We will read both old and new books as well as a number of sub-genres. I’ve included two short works since many of the early works were short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.

Important to remember: have fun reading these books, come to class ready for discussion and continue to read books in both genres.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

Angelica by Sharon Shinn

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

“Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov (from The Complete Stories, Vol 2)

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

The Lord of the Ringby J.R.R. Tolkien

The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

Two bonus books for extra credit–Young Adult 

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

What books would you add to this syllabus? What class did you write a syllabus for?

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

8 thoughts on “Syllabus: Sci-fi & Fantasy 101”

  1. Oh dear, I’ve read only four of those titles. But this makes a good list for me to expand my reading! I’d probably add A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and the first Anita Blake novel.


    1. I thought of The Handmaid’s Tale and then promptly forgot it! It would be a good pick. And Anita Blake would be a great choice, too, Bea. I used to love those books.


  2. I would definitely take this class! These aren’t genres I’ve read much of and I think it would be much more fun in a class format where there’d really be discussions. I read Ender’s Game for a book club once and we really talked about the book and it was such fun!


  3. I see some I’ve read, and several I have not! I love Neal Stephenson, but hadn’t heard of Mary Robinette Kowal. I’ll have to go check some of these out on Goodreads.


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