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FR253 Mutants, Cyborgs and Clones: Science Fiction in France

Module Code: FR253
Module Name: Mutants, Cyborgs and Clones: Science Fiction in France
Module Coordinator: Dr Douglas Morrey
Not running 2018-19
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

This module offers an introduction to the study of literature and cinema within the science fiction genre in France. It will enable students to become acquainted with the historical forms and theoretical interpretation of science-fiction narratives, while also broadening their knowledge of modern and contemporary French literature. The module will ask why science fiction is rarely considered to be a ‘French’ genre and will, by extension, explore the relations of influence and intertextuality between selected French authors and elements of Anglo-American literature and culture. Bearing in mind science fiction’s use, not only as a tool for predicting the future, but also for diagnosing current social trends, the module will analyse what science-fiction texts of the last half-century reveal about French society of the time, and similarly what twenty-first century SF narratives can tell us about our current and future selves. The module will study the evolution of French science fiction by focusing on a number of recurring themes across the novels and films: humanity and technology; France and the world; science and gender.

Classes will not follow a traditional lecture + seminar format but instead will consist of a mixture of mini-lectures, student presents, group work and class discussions. Please see the 'Module outline' pages for more details.


Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Pierre Boulle, La Planète des singes (1963) I

Week 3: Pierre Boulle, La Planète des singes II

Week 4: Science fiction and French New Wave cinema: Alphaville (1965) and Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Week 5: French science-fiction cinema - Luc Besson: Le Dernier Combat (1983), Le Cinquième Élément (1997), Lucy (2014)

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7: Essay preparation and research skills session

Week 8: The contemporary French science-fiction story: Alain Damasio, Aucun souvenir assez solide

Week 9: Bande dessinée: Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Le Transperceneige (1984)

Week 10: Animation: Renaissance (Christian Volckman, 2006)

Assessment Method:

50% - Assessed work (one essay of between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length; OR one essay of between 1,000 and 1,250 words AND one commentary of between 1,000 to 1,250 words)
50% - Formal examination