Understanding and Writing Science Fiction

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
17 February 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module provides a historical overview of science-fiction: how it develops as a genre, and the key animating themes. Within this overview, the students will write their own science fiction stories and these will be the focus of the assessment.

Over two terms, the students will produce TWO short stories for assessment, with accompanying commentary. Each submission has a total word count of between 2500-3000 words.

Prior to submission for assessment, stories will be developed and workshopped in class, both in terms of helping students develop their writing and rewriting skills and in terms of how the stories relate to the science-fiction field.

The first half of each seminar explores a primary science fiction text supplemented by secondary texts from film, TV and the net. The second half of each seminar is given over to fiction workshops in which the students will devise and write science fiction short stories and complete world-building exercises.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To increase student awareness of the creative possibilities of science fiction.

  • To continue the practice of giving, receiving and redrafting work in response to feedback in the workshop environment.

  • To increase the understanding of the history of the science fiction, how the genre developed in terms of its own dynamic and that of wider historical trends, and how it can inform their own creative practice.

Module learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Identify the significant conventions in science fiction.

  2. Conceive, plan and produce original short stories that exemplify their understanding of science fiction.

  3. Display self-awareness of writing techniques and the process of revision and redrafting of fiction.

  4. Develop the emotional intelligence required to give and receive feedback in workshop groups.

  5. Practise the habits and discipline of regular prose composition.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

A combination of seminar discussion, practical work and intensive story workshopping is used in combination with various online activities. Students are expected to complete the reading for each seminar and to prepare discussion content in advance.

Coursework: students will select two of their assigned pieces of creative writing and submit new drafts that have been rewritten in the light of workshopping and discussion.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Participation Mark    5% 
Coursework   Story and Commentary 1  23/02/2024  47.5% 
Coursework   Story and Commentary 2  15/04/2024  47.5% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Matthew De Abaitua, email:
Matthew de Abaitua
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Eleanor Perry
University of Kent
Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry)
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 22 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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