Science fiction has become a dominant genre in the popular imagination today. Sci-Fi fans can take a course this summer at Penn State York that is sure to be interesting, fun, and can fulfill a general education requirement in the humanities. Science Fiction (ENGL 191) meets Wednesdays, 6 to 9:30 p.m. from June 28 through Aug 7. The course is offered in a blended format with online and in-class instruction.
“Students this summer will read not only science fiction novels, including ‘Old Man’s War’ and ‘Borne,’ but also graphic novels, including ‘All-Star Superman’ and ‘The Surrogates,’” said Noel Sloboda, associate professor of English and instructor for the course. “In addition, they will analyze Sci-Fi films, including ‘Arrival’ and television series, including Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror,’” he said.
The class explores the literature of technological innovation and social change – its development, themes, and problems. The course is intended for anyone who enjoys the genre of science fiction. For experienced students, and those looking for deeper engagement with the course material, a 400-level version, which meets concurrently but requires extra work, is available.
During the course, Sloboda will discuss the reasons why science fiction has become so popular and make the case that science fiction is not only entertaining but immediate for us because it deals with the challenges of living in a technologically-mediated world, one where power imbalances feel very pronounced. Sloboda notes that works ranging from HBO’s “Westworld” to Marvel’s “Avengers” films illustrate this point.
Sloboda has been nominated for the Rhysling and Elgin Awards, given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. At Penn State York, Sloboda regularly teaches Introduction to Creative Writing (ENG 050) and a variety of other English courses. He is the author of the book “The Making of Americans in Paris” (2008), which centers on the autobiographies of Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. His writing on Shakespeare has appeared in journals such as “Studies in the Humanities,” “Shakespeare Bulletin,” “The Journal of the Wooden O,” and “The Shakespeare Newsletter,” as well as in the anthology “In/Fidelity: Essays on Film Adaptation.” During the past decade, Sloboda has also published two books of poetry, half a dozen chapbooks, along with hundreds of poems in journals and magazines.
A graduate of Washington University, Sloboda earned a masters and doctorate in English and American studies. He also holds a bachelor of arts in English and philosophy from Connecticut College. He was the recipient of the 2005 James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching at Penn State York and the 2006 recipient of the campus’ advising award in recognition of outstanding advising to students. He was also the first recipient of the Penn State York Faculty Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishment Award in 2015, which recognizes outstanding achievement in research and/or creative accomplishment. He was the driving force behind the campus’ online student magazine, “Any Other Word,” and serves as its adviser.
Sloboda is happy to answer any questions about the course, and can be contacted at [email protected].
Summer classes like this one will be starting soon. Two summer sessions offer students a convenient way to get ahead for fall, catch up on classes, or just get started. The first summer session begins May 13, and the second summer session begins June 26. To learn more about all that Penn State York has to offer this summer, visit the website.