Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies
EN 361 Alternative Lifeworlds
Assessed Essay Topics Term Two
Click here to download: Essay Two
The essay should be submitted to Tabula not later than 12 noon on Tuesday 21st April 2015.
The following topics are suggestions. You may modify them, or devise one of your own, but should do so only in consultation with your seminar tutor.
You may not write on a similar topic to your previous essay.
While you may range as widely as you like in world fiction, not necessarily confining yourself to books studied on the module, you should make detailed reference to at least two of the set texts, unless otherwise stated.
1. Consider the idea of history in two or more texts.
2. Analyse two or more texts in terms of ‘genre’. What difference do alternative generic frames make to the form and content of the narratives?
3. Consider one of the following themes in at least two texts from the syllabus: Purity & Impurity; Singularity; Language; Revolution; Identity; Colonialism; Memory; Magic & Technology; Entropy & Decline; Sickness; Body Modification; Dreams; Salvage; Tradition; Capitalism; Knowledge.
4. Consider the role that space/place play in at least two texts from the syllabus.
5. Consider the kind of ‘Others’ found in at least two texts. How are they different, and what significance does this difference have? (You might want to look at texts from different genres here).
6. Analyse the role of horror in at least two texts from the syllabus.
7. Fantasy and the Weird are considered by Darko Suvin to be ‘non-cognitive’ genres. Do you agree? Why? Consider two or more texts in your answer.
8. Locate at least one text in the broader history of its genre. Where does it stand in relation to others texts, and what significance does it have?
9. Sf is sometimes called the literature of literal metaphors. Consider a range of literal metaphors from the term two texts, discussing their function, strengths and weaknesses.
10. Make a case for the inclusion of a text/film/game/album that is not on the syllabus. Your essay must refer to at least one set text by way of comparison.
11. What impact does an alternative cultural tradition have on the sf that authors produce? Discuss with reference to at least two texts (at least one from the syllabus).
12. Consider how science fiction is used in media other than literature, and to what end. You must make detailed reference to at least one text from the syllabus in your answer.
13. Compare and contrast the significance of monsters in at least two texts from term two.
14. In what ways can any fantastical text be read as utopian or dystopian? Are some genres better read this way than others? Discuss with reference to at least two texts from term two.
15. To what extent do you think it is possible to differentiate between different genres of the fantastic, and to what extent do you think it is useful?
16. Discuss the potential of science fictional / fantasy representations (text, film, music) to engage with and illuminate any contemporary political issue. Refer to at least one text from the course in detail.