Beyond Literary Landscapes—Science Fiction

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column serves as an introduction to the Science Fiction novel, a reminder of some of the genre’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

Science Fiction can be defined as “a form of fiction that deals principally with the impact of actual or imagined science upon society or individuals.”

Science Fiction is considered a sub-genre of Speculative Fiction, which also includes Supernatural fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian fiction, Utopian fiction, Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic fiction.  In particular, Speculative Fiction can be defined as “a literary ‘super genre,’ which encompasses a number of different genres of fiction, each with speculative elements that are based on conjecture and do not exist in the real world.”

Well-known Science Fiction authors include Mary Shelley, Frank Herbert, and H.G.  Wells.

Other writers include Douglas Adams, Arthur C.  Clarke, and Kazuo Ishiguro.


Some well-known Science Fiction novels include Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (which can also be considered a Horror novel), Dune by Frank Herbert, and The Time Machine by H.G.  Wells.

Additional well-known novels include The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C.  Clarke, and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.


These Science Fiction novels take place throughout the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as far-away galaxies and the universe.


These novels are set during 17, 20, and 21-st centuries, as well as the future.


Science Fiction novels may be of interest to AU readers who would like to read about the future, time travel, science, technology, dystopian landscapes, as well as those who enjoy novels that blend Science Fiction, Horror, and Mystery.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to the Science Fiction novel are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in ENGL 387: Writing Speculative Fiction, a senior-level, three-credit course, which teaches learners “key definitions, important history, traditions of the field, essential features of [Speculative Fiction] SF, and principles and standards of fiction writing in general.”  (Note: This course requires ENGL 381: Creative Writing in Prose and professor approval as prerequisites.)  Happy reading!