How to use this website

Registration

We have removed the user registration. You can browse and use the website as much as you like. It is all free of charge and designed for academic purposes.

Structure

The website itself is structured in topical groups. When building a course or when interested in specific aspects of SF, it seemed plausible to us to group the topics so that it is easier to navigate the site and find a cohesive structure for a possible course in SF. Thus, we currently offer you four different groups of SF sessions, or teaching pods, which are grouped in “History”, “Topics”, “Media” and “National”.

History

This group provides a historical overview of the literary genre ‘science fiction’ and comprises of six sessions that elaborate specific historical periods in the development of literary SF, mostly in the 20th century.

Topics

This group provides either specific theoretical approaches to science fiction (such as marxism, post-colonialism, gender studies, race relations, fan studies) or focuses on certain motives dominant in science fiction (such as utopianism, the military, post-apocalypse, transhumanism and so on).

Media

This group acknowledges the media specificity of science fiction in film, television, video games, comics, theatre and so forth and focuses on the developments of SF in certain media.

National

This group provides focus on different national literatures of science fiction. Because the best known is Anglo-American, the other groups mainly focus on US/UK productions of SF texts, which in a sense a very restrictive. In this group we will try to provide as many different national approaches to SF as possible.

 

Teaching Pods

Each teaching pod is a webpage specifically designed to provide information on a given topic. When designing a course or browsing for information, you can use groups of pods with similar topics, you can just use the one pod you are interested in, or you could even take just certain aspects of pods. The whole website is build with customizable information in mind – think of those neat little Danish toy building blocks.

Each pod is build the same way. We start off with a short introduction to the specific topic of this pod before providing a lecture given by an expert. If possible the lecture will be provided in spoken form in mp3-format, as a video in mp4-format and as a written version in pdf-format. In addition, you will find further material for each lecture. This will comprise of additional scholarly work on the subject (if available with links, otherwise you will have to rely on your library skills), recommended ‘reading’ of short stories, novels, films or other media  and general discussion points for the topic. In addition there will be links where and when applicable. Lastly, we always provide you with the official MLA citation information for the pod and its parts so that you cite from the texts in correct academic fashion.

The recommended reading material will be grouped according to its availability in the most common anthologies, or if possible will also have an added link to free material (when available on the internet or in free databases such as Project Gutenberg etc.). The problem with anthologies is that they limit the range of choices, but on the other hand make it possible to just buy “one” book and have all course material at hand. Sometimes it will be necessary or preferable to get additional or different material, as not all pod topics will be found in all of the anthologies. But the anthologies we try to use and (if possible) recommend course material from are these:

  • The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction. Ed. Arthur B. Evans et al. Middleton: Wesleyan UP, 2010.
  • The Road to Science Fiction. Ed. James Gunn. 4 Vols. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2002‐2003.

Discussion / Growing the VSF

As you might have noticed, there are more than a few “blanks” in the topics and thus lots of options to add more content to this page. Should you be an expert on topics not provided here, we invite you to participate in our endeavor.
Even better, should you be a user of this website and find things are to your liking (or maybe need a tweak here and there) we provide you with commentary boxes at the end of each page and would like you to use them. Let us know if you liked the information, what you did with it. Maybe you would like to add a recommendation, send us a link, or let us know how your students discussed a specific topic. Whatever it is, feel free to comment and help us develop this tool kit further. We want you to participate in making VSF better for everyone.

 

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