Students in this course will examine texts by authors originating from nine unique cultures, including both short fiction and film. Discussions of genre will allow students to identify and differentiate (or question the difference between) terms including “science fiction,” “fantasy,” “speculative fiction,” “realism,” “fabulism,” and “magical realism.” Through class discussion and written work, students will explore the ways that issues facing a single nation or culture affect that culture’s fears, hopes, and expectations for the future, as well as the ways culture affects an individual’s attempts to understand, interpret, and describe the past. Comparing authors including Gabriel Garca Mrquez, Stanislaw Lem, and Nnedi Okorafor, as well as directors including Guillermo del Toro and Hayao Miyazaki, students will examine the ways culture affects an author’s methods of storytelling and the type of story they chose to tell. This course will also enable students to identify the ways cultural norms related to gender, sexual orientation, immigration, and race are examined and deconstructed through the lens of speculative fiction, and how such factors influence an author’s attempts to grapple with the unknown.