Weekly Texts and Participation (30%)

Each week you will provide questions related to the assigned readings. We will use these to guide class conversations, so please remember to give each question a page number (or, for web sites, films, games, etc., an appropriate reference). Participation in class discussion is of the utmost importance; students are expected to engage with the source material and with their classmates’ comments.

Geek of the Week

Each student will be responsible for helping lead the discussion for one class meeting. This will include selecting one additional media text to be added to the syllabus and preparing some questions to begin the conversation in class that week. Selections should not be full books and should be approved by Prof. Keramidas at least two weeks before class so that they can be added to the course site.

Media Screenings

Most videos are available through our class’s NYU Stream channel. This requires an NYU login.

There will be a weekly meeting on Zoom to watch media together on Monday nights starting at 8pm.

Essays (to be posted on the course site) (25%)

Essay 1 (5%)

Drawing on the readings and discussion from our first class, define “science fiction” and explain what you think it means. Post on WordPress site (250+ words) – DUE FEBRUARY 8 VIEW ESSAYS HERE

Essays 2 and 3 (10% each)

Choose from the enormous variety and range of sci-fi texts in the genre and write a critical study using the anthropological and historical approaches we’ve explored. This will involve both a close reading of your chosen text and historical research. (500+ words). VIEW PAST ESSAYS HERE (Essay 2, Essay 3)

  • Essay 2 — book/story text – DUE FEBRUARY 22
  • Essay 3 — media text – DUE MARCH 29

Final Project: Interactive Prototype [Collaborative work is possible/encouraged] (45%)

Each student will develop a prototype for a non-linear user-driven interactive version of an existing science fiction text. You will create a new take on that story and put it in a new medium defined by experiential narrative parameters. The goal of the exercise is twofold: first you will re-envision your chosen text from the perspective of the present using anthropological, historical and critical analyses that we develop during the semester; secondly, you will be challenged to think of ways to convey rich, rigorous, and intellectual ideas using non-linear, user-driven story mechanics The project will consist of three stages:

1.) Proposal (1000+ words) — DUE MARCH 8 (10%)

This has four parts:

a. description of the original text and its socio-cultural and historical contexts;
b. justification for the alternate version that explains the new socio-cultural/historical contexts;
c. engagement with relevant theoretical perspectives as they apply to the original work and to the new version;
d. a work plan for the project.


2.) Prototype (20%)

The core of the project, this is an interactive multimedia expression of your text alternative. It will include visual representations of different locations, plot points, and experiences through the use of audio, video, locational, and other sensory expressions. These features will be combined and conveyed through a combination of drawing, collage, screenplay, storyboard, etc., and will be accompanied by textual descriptions for further clarity. Most importantly, the prototype will explicate the interactive mechanics that will differentiate your work from the predominantly linear narratives we will be reading/viewing this semester.

There will be at least one presentation of middle stage work on the prototype. It can remain in analog format until then, but thereafter must be translated to digital output. Between May 5th and 19th, Prof. Keramidas will host two sessions where students can come in and work on their projects at XE. During this time students will be encouraged to work on their project, bring up any technical concerns and receive feedback from Prof. Keramidas. The last class of the semester will be a conference-style presentation of your prototype to the class.

  • First Draft
    • GROUP 1 – DUE APRIL 19
    • GROUP 2 – DUE APRIL 26
  • Project Review/Conference – DUE MAY 17
  • Final – DUE MAY 20

3.) Reflection Paper (2000+ words) (15%)

Each student will be responsible for a statement that accomplishes two goals: a. describe the purpose of your project in relation to the original text along with historical placement of the project relative to other texts and theory in the field; and b. reflect on the process of working on the treatment, including descriptions of how disparate media forms affected your workflow, how you approached the different stages of the project, unexpected obstacles or discoveries, etc. – DUE MAY 20