Fantasy science fiction landscape on an alien world

Is space really the final frontier? Or is it the imagination of science fiction writers? Join us to discover how science fiction as developed over the centuries, and its relationship to science fact.

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Glyn Morgan
  • Fees from £210 to £395
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus

Science fiction is going through a renaissance at the moment, and this course is designed to give us the opportunity to explore the history of science fiction as a genre, from one of the first writers of science fiction Margaret Cavendish, to the latest blockbuster movies,

We will discover how the genre has evolved, how it has manifested itself in different media and at different times, and how it often says as much about the time in which it is created as it does about an imagined future. On the course we will look at a number of science fiction writers and film and television makers in detail, as well as at the changing aesthetic of imagined worlds in science fiction art, literature and film.

The course will also look at how a number of inventions from science fiction have become fact, from the development of Star Trek-style personal communicators in mobile telephones, to the very real possibility that we might see human beings colonise Mars.

The course is aimed at complete beginners, and so no previous knowledge of art, film studies or literary history or practice is necessary.

Course Information

Course Programme

1. What is Science Fiction?
2. Proto SF: Imaginary Voyages, Dreams and Visions
3. 1818: Frankenstein and the Birth of a Genre
4. Scientific Romance
5. American Pulp
6. New Wave
7. Punking SF
8. Queering SF
9. Alternate history

*** Christmas Break ***

10. Space Opera
11. SF Art and 2D Design
12. SF, Architecture and 3D Design
13. Arabic SF
14. Chinese SF
15. SF of the Global South
16. Afro-Futurism
17. SF Poetry
18. SF Comics and Graphic Novels
19. Ecological SF
20. 21st century SF and the Future of the Future

The programme and the exact order of the classes are subject to modification

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.

About Your Tutor

Glyn Morgan photoDr Glyn Morgan is a project curator at the Science Museum in London working on a forthcoming major exhibition at the museum exploring the links between science and science fiction, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool. He is co-editor, with Charul Palmer-Patel, of the book Sideways in Time: Critical Essays on Alternate History Fiction, due to be published by Liverpool University Press in September 2019 and author of Imagining the Unimaginable: Speculative Fiction and the Holocaust, due to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in early 2020.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 40  20  £395    (Early Bird Rate: £360*) £230    (Early Bird Rate: £210*)
£305    (Early Bird Rate: £280*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October   |   All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends of the South London Botanical Institute
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started, subject entirely to agreement by the tutor delivering the course. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the  before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 40  20 14 Oct - 12 Dec 2019 (9 weeks)* 6 Jan - 19 Mar 2020 (11 weeks) n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August

Enrolment & payment are through the Imperial College eStore. Please use above booking link noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on this page and your applicable category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications will be sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms your payment, date of payment and order number
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment receipt and therefore does not show your course however these details are sent to us via the system
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of September. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows the programme your course is part of as well as the term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% (16) of the taught classroom sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the course tutor, Dr Glyn Morgan, drgrmorgan@gmail.com