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Science in Fiction: How Science Shapes Literature & Film

Science fiction planet

This live online semester class is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of the science in fiction by exploring works of literature and film that present a world that is different--but not too far out of reach--from our own.

Class Details

  • Science in Fiction is a one-semester fall class.

  • Tuition: $375

  • Instructor: Marcy Swisher

  • Dates: September 6 to December 9, 2022​. See our FAQ for a complete list of days, times, and breaks.

  • Weekly Live Classes: Tuesday 12-1:00 p.m. Eastern

  • Grade level: 10th-12th (15+)

  • Class size: 10-12

  • Course materials are listed below.

  • Format: Zoom and an online Moodle classroom.

    • Students are requested to keep their webcams on and participate in live classes.

    • Classes will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

  • Learn more about the class from Marcy Swisher in THIS brief video.

What to Expect

Students will explore how authors use science within fiction as a way to address the human condition, and discuss the “authenticity” of the science portrayed in both hard science fiction (math, physics, chemistry) and soft science fiction (biology, linguistics, psychology).


This class is for students who are eager and willing to devote time to the reading material. It is meant to be a place where students can research and discuss science in a less formal setting than the traditional science or math class.


Students will:

  • Read 3 novels:

    • Project Hail Mary - Andy Weir

    • Klara and the Sun - Kazuo Ishiguro

    • Student choice

  • Read a variety of assigned short stories

  • Watch several assigned movies/television show episodes

This will be a very active class with lots of participation encouraged and expected--both in the live classes and in online text-based discussion forums. There will also be weekly questions and "short answer" writing assignments as well as a semester project.

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