School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Computer Science
CSci 110 -- Technology and Society
Prof. Michael B. Feldman, course instructor

Science Fiction Assignment -- 10% of grade, due in Week 4

Your submitted file name must be of the form Smith-Jane-sci-fi.doc.

You are to read a classic science fiction novel or short story or view a science fiction film. The purpose of this assignment is to examine how technology is portrayed to the public through fiction. Is it presented by the author as a good, evil or neutral force in society? It is presented as being under human control or evolving on its own? The technology discussed does not have to be imaginary or futuristic - the book could have been written a century ago about technology that now exists. In that case, it would be interesting to discuss how the view of the author matches with what actually happened with the technology.

Sample list of Classic Science Fiction works for CSci 110. You are not limited to this list but deviations must be approved by the professor. The work must have been released no later than 1975. 

Why 1975?




The assignment consists of two parts: class discussion and a 3-4 page written report to be delivered to your Blackboard assignment drop-off point.

Class Discussion: Discuss the science fiction works you read or viewed:
  1. Each person will briefly describe the science fiction reading or movie that (s)he is reporting on - do not go into every detail about the plot, but focus on how technology is viewed in the work.
  2. As a class, characterize each work according to the following scales:

Science Fiction work:_____________________________________________

Type of technology portrayed in work:_______________________________

Technology seen as:
good neutral evil
10 _________________________ 5 ___________________________ 0

Humans seen as:
good neutral evil
10 _________________________ 5 ___________________________ 0

Who / what is in control of what happens?:
humans shared technology
10 _________________________ 5 ___________________________ 0

Individual Report: The format of the written report is as follows:

  1. Briefly summarize the story. Don’t give all of the plot details.
  2. List the issues that the story addressed in the context of this course.
  3. Discuss the view of the author regarding the particular technology used in the story - good, evil, neutral, in control, etc.
  4. Discuss your reactions to that view - do you agree or disagree with the author and why?
  5. Finally, explain why you think this film or book has become a "classic". What has given it "staying power"?