Instructor: Davenport | MWF 1:25 PM – 2:20 PM

This course examines speculative fiction (SF) by queer writers, and/or which investigates. highlights, or celebrates queer themes, experiences, and identities. We’ll start with the New Wave feminist writers of the 1970s and 80s—many of whom were queer women attempting, with varying degrees of success, to imagine a future that extends beyond the patriarchy, or queer men constructing a vision of the future without homophobia. Next, we’ll explore writers who extended and transformed these legacies, and broke new ground in the world of SF from the 1990s through the present—often pushing back against the very white, very cisnormative world of SF publishing. (Plus a brief detour into media forms outside of print text: webcomics, animated television, and podcasts.) Finally, we’ll look at work that imagines queer futurity, queer joy, and queer escapes from the seemingly-inevitable apocalypse. 

This course will be largely discussion-based; though you’ll all give short presentations on what we’re reading, along with getting some fast-facts minilectures from me, the bulk of our time together will be spent asking questions about the goals and methods of queer SF, and trying to work out the various answers that the novels and stories listed below give. How has the world of SF changed over time, and how have queer writers responded to both other queer texts and to historically-cisheteronormative conventions and frameworks (e.g. space opera)? How do the complex relationships between race, gender, disability, and queerness shape these texts? What can imagined futures tell us about the lived experience and cultural frameworks for queerness, both now and in the past? What are the unique tools SF offers queer writers—and how do they both succeed and struggle around envisioning new possibilities?