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Teaching and Scholarly Resources on the Web

Christopher McKitterick


Science fiction scholarship and teaching go hand-in-hand. In that spirit, this page includes a wide assortment of links to websites and print books that will help you find the information you need in order to confidently teach the subject.

Useful Science Fiction Websites for Teachers and Scholars

Your best place to start is, the resource center for speculative literature education, designed to serve teachers, researchers, librarians, and fans.

A Basic Science Fiction Library, maintained by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. Librarians and teachers should start here when looking for important SF. Updated regularly, and includes links to online booksellers.

Broad Universe, an international organization with the goal of promoting SF/F/H written by women.

The Bud Foote SF Collection includes first-edition scientific romances and utopias from the late 19th Century and most of the major SF novels of the 20th Century. Special features include first editions of David Brin's major works (both in English and in translation) and a complete run of the Ballantine Fantasy Series.

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies contains research copies of Bradbury's seven decades of correspondence as well as typescripts, galleys, and page proofs for most of Bradbury's major works, much of which has been compiled into a database.

Center for the Study of Science Fiction Educational Program includes short and long-form speculative-fiction workshops, an Intensive Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction, and more.

Curriculum section of the SF Museum website, soon to offer SF curriculum for teachers.

The NASA Quest website provides" interactive explorations designed to engage students in authentic scientific and engineering processes. The solutions relate to issues encountered daily by NASA personnel." A particularly fun SFnal exercise is Design a Martian - neat NASA site for kids and teachers.

Difference Engine, a science, science communication, and SF blog.

Extrapolation, an important scholarly journal, housed at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Founded in 1959, it was the first journal to publish academic work about SF.

Feminist F/SF and Utopian Literature, a great resource for scholars of feminist speculative fiction since 1994.

Femspec is a feminist journal dedicated to interdisciplinary SF scholarship, housed at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University.

Foundation is the publication of the Science Fiction Foundation, founded in 1972.

The Heinlein Society places Heinlein's books in libraries, awards scholarships and grants to worthy young people, assists in disseminating translations, promotes scholarly research and overall discussion of his works, and much more. If you're a Heinlein fan or scholar or plan to teach Heinlein, check out their site!

Wonderful Essay on Teaching Science Fiction, by SF Grand Master James Gunn.

Short list of SF-Teaching Sites for children and young adults.

Paul Brian's Course Materials for the Study of Science Fiction.

Reading for the Future is a "grassroots volunteer organization whose aim is to help young people develop a love of reading and intellectual adventure through the vehicle of science fiction, fantasy and other speculative fiction."

Science Fiction Research Association's website contains much useful information for teaching SF.

Science Fiction Studies, founded in 1973, is housed at DePauw University. One of the major scholarly journals in the field; their website has a great resource page with many links to scholarly works on the Web.

Science Fiction Reading List for Kids.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database is an online index to more than 60,000 historical and critical articles, books, news reports, obituaries, motion picture reviews, and other material about science fiction, fantasy and horror. Compiled by Hal W. Hall.

The SF Hub is a new research portal built and managed by the University of Liverpool, which offers an MA in Science Fiction Studies (note: .pdf) and maintains an excellent SF library. This fantastic resource "aims to facilitate research into science fiction and its related literary genres. The SF Hub is based on the wealth of research resources in the Science Fiction Collections of The University of Liverpool's Special Collections and Archives, including the renowned Science Fiction Foundation Collection. Our advanced search tools will enable you to find the resources you need amongst the extensive collections of books, journals, fiction magazines, fanzines, journal articles and archives at Liverpool University."

The Speculative Literature Foundation's mission is "To promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction."

Virginia Tech Online Speculative Fiction Project (VTSF), an effort to digitize selected holdings from the Herron Collection of Science Fiction in the Special Collections department at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

Webs of Wonder, a site to support websites dedicated to SF-Teaching Resources.


Important Anthologies and Scholarly Works

Aldiss, Brian; and Hargrove, David. Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], 1986. Originally published as Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Atheneum Books, 1973. An essential work that traces the history of SF from Mary Shelley through the New Wave.

Aldiss, Brian; and Harrison, Harry. Hell's Cartographers [Amazon|Powell's], Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975. Six engaging and illuminating essays by major authors from the Golden Age and New Wave periods of science fiction: Aldiss, Alfred Bester, Harry Harrison, Damon Knight, Frederik Pohl, and Robert Silverberg.

Amis, Kingsley. New Maps of Hell [Amazon|Powell's], Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1960. British mainstream literary writer Kingsley Amis' history and examination of the SF field helped the literary world accept the serious study of SF.

Bould, Mark; Butler, Andrew M.; Roberts, Adam; and Vint, Sherryl. The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Routledge, 2009. A comprehensive overview of the history and study of science fiction, covering major authors, movements, and texts, providing the critical and scholarly background for further work in the field.

Clute, John; and Nicholls, Peter, eds. New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Orbit, 1999. A vast and comprehensive work covering 4,300 entries, including 2,900 authors.

Greenland, Colin. The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British "New Wave" in Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983. Examines the New Wave movement through the lens of Moorcock's tenure at New Worlds.

Gunn, James; Barr, Marlene; and and Candelaria, Matthew. Reading Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Anthology of essay by scholars and fiction authors that introduces the history, concepts, and contexts necessary to understand and teach SF.

Gunn, James. The Road to Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Scarecrow Press, 2002-2003. Gunn's 6-volume series provide a clear history of SF from Gilgamesh through current-day in context of chronologically organized anthologies, called "as definitive an SF anthology as one can obtain" by Publishers Weekly.

Gunn, James. Inside Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's] (2nd edition), Scarecrow Press, 2006. Through two dozen short essays, Gunn shares what it was like growing up with SF from its roots through modern work; what it is and how it evolved; how to read, write, and teach SF; and more.

Gunn, James; and Candelaria, Matthew. Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Scarecrow Press, 2005. A superb collection of more than two dozen essays by major SF scholars, defining and exploring the genre.

Fowler, Karen Joy; Murphy, Pat; Notkin, Debbie; and Smith, Jeffrey D. The James Tiptree Award Anthology [Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon Publications, 2004-2008. This annual anthology collects the gender-oriented stories short-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

Hartwell, David. Age of Wonders: Exploring the World of Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Tor Books, 1996. One of the field's most prominent editors reveals the inner workings of SF subculture (fandom), spawned during the Golden Age of SF.

Hartwell, David. The Ascent of Wonder [Amazon|Powell's], Orb Books, 1997. Hartwell's definitive work on Hard SF.

Hartwell, David. The Science Fiction Century [Amazon|Powell's], Tor Books, 1997. An anthology that traces movements in science fiction, starting in the 1890s.

Kelly, James Patrick; and Kessel, John. Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology [Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon Publications, 2006. The editors define Slipstream as, "literature of cognitive dissonance and of strangeness triumphant," and this definitive anthology presents a number of fantastic examples.

Kelly, James Patrick; and Kessel, John. Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology [Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon Publications, 2007. Great anthology on the "geek fiction" that developed after the cyberpunk movement.

Knight, Damon. In Search of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Advent Publications, 1967. Knight, one of the first SF scholars and critics, presents a number of insightful and often incisive essays about SF.

Moskowitz, Sam. Explorers of the Infinite [Amazon|Powell's] and Seekers of Tomorrow [Amazon|Powell's], Hyperion Press, 1974. Two wonderful collections of author profiles by one of the genre's leading editors and critics who specialized on science fiction's pulp origins.

Panshin, Alexei and Cory. The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence [Amazon|Powell's], Tarcher, 1989. A comprehensive and unique history of SF that discusses how the genre reaches into the mythic imagination and shapes society.

Pohl, Frederik. The Way the Future Was: A Memoir [Amazon|Powell's], Del Rey, 1978. A moving, insightful, and revelatory look at the cultural history of SF. Pohl is working on an updated version of this work, published serially as a blog at The Way the Future Blogs (excerpted in the May/June 2010 WLT print magazine), which earned him a Hugo Award nomination.

Scholes, Robert; and Rabkin, Eric S. Science Fiction: History-Science-Vision [Amazon|Powell's], Oxford University Press, 1977. An influential work that examines the history of SF and science.

Sterling, Bruce. Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology [Amazon|Powell's], Ace Books/Berkley, 1988.

Suvin, Darko. Defined by a Hollow: Essays on Utopia, Science Fiction, and Political Epistemology - A Darko Suvin Reader, Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009. Darko Suvin's most-recent work, where he goes into depth about "possible worlds" of utopian narration. Important Russian SF scholar.

Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Yale University Press, 1979. Explores Suvin's notion of cognitive estrangement, utopia in SF, alternative history, and much more.

Vandermeer, Ann and Jeff. The New Weird [Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon, 2008. The definitive anthology of the New Weird.

Vandermeer, Ann and Jeff. Steampunk [Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon, 2008. Fantastic anthology of Steampunk stories.

Watson, Ian; and Waites, Ian. The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories [Amazon|Powell's], Running Press, 2010.

Wollheim, Donald A. The Universe Makers [Amazon|Powell's], Ballantine Books, 1971. This collection traces the history of SF from Verne and Wells through the Golden Age, examining SF's themes and outlining the consensus future-history as envisioned by Asimov and Heinlein, among others.

Wright, Peter. Teaching Science Fiction [Amazon|Powell's], Palgrave MacMillan, 2010. A fine introduction to teaching SF, including history, critical approaches, and theory.

Christopher McKitterick
is an author, editor, technical writer, teacher, amateur astronomer, and backyard engineer. Chris' short work has appeared in a variety of magazines, anthologies, and journals. He teaches writing at the University of Kansas and is Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. He recently finished a far-future novel,
Empire Ship, and his first novel, Transcendence, will appear in 2010 from Hadley Rille Books. For more, check out his website and blog.

Simon | SF Library | Davis | Di Filippo | Doctorow Interview | Eaton SF Conference | Gunn | Hull | Johnson | Kincaid | McKitterick | Powell | Sargent | Sentinels | Sheikh | SF Events | SF on the Web | Teaching SF | Tidhar Story | Tidhar Essay | Wu Yan | Žiljak |
Exclusive Web Contents | Print Issue Contents | Contributors | Return to the WLT Homepage