Plenary: MWF 9:40-10:40 Bewkes 232
Seminar: Th 2:20-3:50 Bewkes 232


Instructor: Dr. Daniel W. Koon
Office: Bewkes 221
Phone: x5494
Email: mailto:dkoon@stlawu.edu
Office Hours: MWF 8:00-9:00, Th 1:00-2:00

Mentor: Andrew Jones

Office/Home: Whitman 424

Phone: x6380

Email: akjone02@stlawu.edu

Office Hours: Tues 3:00-5:00, Wed/Fri 2:30-5:00, Thurs in

      seminar, other hours by appointment


This electronic document (See URL at the bottom of this page) is the official syllabus of this course. It will be updated as the course proceeds. Please bookmark this page and check back frequently.

Is the shortest path between two galaxies always a straight line? Is time a one-way street with a fixed speed limit? Will we ever find evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, or have they already found us? People have fantasized for centuries about trips across galaxies and through time. But will mankind -- or other, alien civilizations -- ever escape the limits of the here and now? In this course, we will explore speculations about time, space, and the development of intelligence in both science and science fiction. Students will not only prepare a semester-long research project culminating in a paper to be shared with the rest of the class, but will also lead class in formally presenting their research topic and one or more works of fiction. No particular expertise in either science fiction literature or in the natural sciences is required, just a commitment to hard work and an open-minded sense of curiosity and wonder at the cosmos.

This course is divided into three parts: space travel, time travel, and extraterrestrials. In addition to a semester-long research project, you will write a piece of science fiction related to this topic, and complete other, shorter formal and/or informal bits of writing. You will also give a classroom presentation - - actually leading the classroom discussion - - on your research topic sometime in the course of the semester. Finally, you will give another classroom presentation linked to one of the science fiction stories we will read as a class. In all, about 1/4 of the semester will be student-taught.


The major focus of this course is a final paper, 10-12 pages double-spaced, due at the end of the semester. It will be the result of your research into a specific research question based on one of the sub-topics in this course. (See Some Suggested Thesis Topics for some ideas.) We will spend time throughout the semester investigating the issues involved with writing a major research paper, and the various stages of the paper will be collected and graded by the instructor at specific dates in the semester. (See Major Deadlines below.) I expect you to become a resident expert in the specific area in which you will be doing your research. Now, since I also want all of the students to gain a basic understanding of the technical issues involved in the three topics of this course -- space travel, time travel, extraterrestrials -- I will also ask you to share what you've learned by presenting an overview of the subject during class time in a "technical presentation": (See below.)

You will also write a short story related to the same theme that you will be researching for your research paper. Throughout the course of the semester, I will assign intermediate steps, including development of the science, the plot, and one or more characters in your story. Unless you prefer not to, your story may be published online in the SLU SF e-zine, The Android Times.

This course is a seminar. To me, this means that each of the members of this class --- instructor plus students --- does some outside reading and research, and then shares the results with the rest of the class. The skills involved in taking what you have read in several sources, and then synthesizing them into ideas and arguments is an important skill in crafting your research paper. For your presentation you will be given about 20 minutes of regular class time. Your goal is to present the main ideas of your topic and to lead a discussion among your classmates. Notice that much of the technical content of this course is the result of scientific speculation. This gives you considerable flexibility in your presentation, but there must be some grounding of the discussion in the known, applicable science. You will arrange time to meet with the instructor twice before the presentation, two weeks and one week before your in-class presentation. I will also ask you to give me, well before your presentation, an outline of your presentation with at least one reading for your classmates to complete before class. If you have any handouts you wish to share with your classmates, these would be due the class before your presentation.

You will also be expected to lead class discussion of some piece or pieces of fiction, preferably from those listed on the spreadsheet Reading Schedule. How should you structure class? That is a hard question to answer because there are so many possibilities. What I don't recommend is that you simply stand in front of class and lecture us for a half hour. (particularly reading straight from notes) A combination of lecture, directed discussion, and other activities is probably the best approach, but feel free to explore your own ideas of presentation. Since this is an important part of this course and because I'm asking you to do a good share of the teaching, it is important that we discuss your intentions for class well in advance - - two weeks before class and then again one week before. Handouts are recommended, but I don't want you to hand out a page of notes with "all the answers" to the students without trying to get them to work through the issues and come up with their own answers first.

Your portfolio is a record of your progress in this course. As such, it needs to include all drafts of every bit of written work you do during the course, including the various stages of your research paper including notes, all the materials associated with the topical projects just mentioned, and in-class free writes. Part of that portfolio should be the self-assessment, in which you reflect critically on the work assembled in the portfolio. Your self-assessment should be a frank honest analysis of your work. It should neither be filled with platitudes nor excuses for why your grades were what they were. In fact, grades are completely irrelevant. What is your assessment of your own work? How did it improve during the semester?
A three-ring binder, or its equivalent, is recommended for assembling your portfolio through the course of the semester.



Reading journal: One element of your participation grade will be your notes from the individual readings. I will ask you to keep a notebook with extensive notes on all of the readings for this course, including films. I will occasionally ask you to hand it in, so that I can check that you are indeed keeping up. I will grade on completeness, not on neatness.

Personal writing mechanics journal: One element of your portfolio grade will be a running inventory of areas of your own writing that need work. After each assignment, you need to look through the instructor's, mentor's, or tutor's marks to see what you ought to add to this list. You should consult this list when proofreading all subsequent formal assignments. As a writer, it is important to practise the mechanics of writing, and to be aware of those areas in which you most need work. If one of these areas is 'homophones', for example, you may find it useful to compile a list of words that you have difficulty with ("to", "too", "two", or "its" and "it's", for example) but which the spell-checker refuses to help you with.

Miscellaneous writing assignments: Finally, there will be occasional free-writes and quizzes throughout the semester, as the need arises. I do not know in advance how many there may be, so I will simply include the results of these assignments in your 'classroom participation' grade.


Your active participation in class is important. Of course you need to attend class. I reserve the right to dock you a half-point final letter grade for each absence beyond the third, in addition to lowering your class participation grade. But you also need to arrive in class prepared to contribute to it. Bring any materials that we are planning to discuss that day -- texts, handouts, and notes from texts or films. Occasionally I will throw an unannounced quiz to ensure that you’ve come to class prepared. Such quizzes will usually be open notes, but not open text. Thus, it really pays to take good notes. Late arrival in class is also distracting, especially when one of your colleagues is giving his/her oral presentation. I will count every two latenesses of five minutes or more as equalling an absence. Please speak to me beforehand if you anticipate having to miss or be late for or leave early from any class.



The SLU Student Handbook defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work of another person -- words, ideas, data, evidence, thoughts, information, organizing principles, or style of presentation -- without proper attribution." While we will talk about the dangers of plagiarism in class, it is your responsibility to be aware of what is and what is not plagiarism, whether intentional or not. Your instructor has a variety of tools at his disposal for testing written work for plagiarism, ample experience at detecting it, and a low tolerance for it. If you have questions about whether you are adequately citing or attributing work, please ask your mentor or instructor. Please see the material below. You are responsible for this material.



Students needing extra help are encouraged to contact the Academic Resources Office (x5537), or Lorie MacKenzie. The instructor is willing to accommodate students with special needs, but appreciates the student coming forward as soon as possible for us to work out the most appropriate set of accommodations.




Research project



     Bibliography & annotated bibliography



     Notecards & functional outline



     First draft



     Final draft



Technical presentation









SF story



     Outline & assorted assignments



     First draft



     Final draft



Fiction presentation









Quizzes, exams, classroom participation











SF story

Research paper


Thu. Jan 22        


Choose research topic


Fri. Jan 30


Preliminary research question


Fri. Feb   6


Bibliography: first draft


Fri. Feb 13

First draft of plot summary



Fri. Feb 20


Annotated bibliography


Fri. Feb 27

First draft of character sketch







Fri. Mar 12


Functional outline: first draft


Fri. Mar 26

"Exposition" of science



Fri. Apr  2


Functional outline: second draft


Mon. Apr  5

First draft of fiction



Fri. Apr 16


Research paper: first draft


Fri. Apr 23

Final draft of fiction



Fri. Apr 30


Research paper: final draft

Week 14: Friday, April 30: Portfolio & self-assessment.

  One week and two weeks before each classroom presentation: Outline of presentation, list of prior readings for the classmates, meet with instructor
  One class before each classroom presentation: Class handouts for distribution


READINGS: (See also Reading Schedule)


Callender, C. & Edney, R. (2001). Introducing Time. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia: Totem Books.
Adler, B., Jr. (Ed.) (1998). Time Machines: The Best Time Travel Stories Ever Written.  New York: Carroll & Graf. (OUT OF PRINT)

Pickover, C. A. (1998). The Science of Aliens. New York: Basic Books.

Hacker, D. (1999). A Writer’s Reference. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.




"Sequence", Carl Jacobi (1972).
"Sky Lift", Robert A. Heinlein (1953).

Selection from "Slaughterhouse V", Kurt Vonnegut (1969).
Ch. 1 "Counter-clock world", Philip K. Dick (1967).
"First Contact",
Murray Leinster (1945).
"To Serve Man", Damon Knight (1950).
Selection from "Dragon's Egg", Robert Forward (1980), including Technical Appendix.

Bova, B. with Lewis, A. R. (1997) Science Fiction Writing Series: Space Travel. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books

Nahin, P. J. (1997). Science Fiction Writing Series: Time Travel. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books



Excerpts from A Voyage To The Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac (1657), plus Act 3, Scene 11 of “Cyrano de Bergerac”, Rostand (1898).
The Travels and surprising adventures of Baron Munchausen: Ch. 6 , Ch. 18 (1785).
From the Earth to the Moon, Ch. 1, 2, 3: Jules Verne (1865).
The First Men on the Moon,
Ch. 1, 2, 3: H. G. Wells (1900).
 "The Wind From the Sun", Arthur C. Clarke (1963) (Comic book version: Olivier Boisard (1985))
"The Propagation of Light in a Vacuum", James Patrick Kelly (1990)
"Mail Supremacy" (scroll down for excerpt), Hayford Peirce (1974).
Selections: Infinite Improbability Drive and Bistromathic Drive from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams. (1979)
"All mimsy were the borogoves": Ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: "Lewis Padgett" (1943)
        (See also "Jabberwocky", from "Through the Looking-Glass", Lewis Carroll (1871))
"A Sound of Thunder", Ray Bradbury (1952).

"Fire Watch", Connie Willis (1982).

"Bad Timing", Molly Brown (1991).
"The Sentinel", Arthur C. Clarke (1951).
"They're made out of meat" (See also stage version), Terry Bisson (1991).
"Tell them they are all full of shit and they should fuck off", Terry Bisson (1994).
"Kindergarten", James E. Gunn (1970).
Ezekiel: Ch. 1.



Top science stories of 2003: Discover Magazine,  Scientific American

From stargazers to starships: (David P. Stern, NASA): Spaceflight and spacecraft
Warp Drive, When? (Marc B. Millis, NASA), and associated pages.
The Planetary Society on space propulsion, and associated pages.
"Teleporting larger objects becomes real possibility" New Scientist,
Feb 6, 2002.
"Negative energy, wormholes, and warp drive", Ford and Roman, Sci. Amer., Jan. 2000, p.4.
Transcript, NOVA: Time Travel, including Carl Sagan on time travel
"Evading quantum barrier to time travel": Science News Online, April 11, 1998.
"How to build a time machine" Scientific American, Sept, 2002. (Printer-friendly version)
Me Human, You Alien: How to Talk to an Extraterrestrial, Jonathan Vos Post
http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/, http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/download.html
Unarius Academy of Science
The Weekly World News: Aliens among us
"The Raelian Revolution"

NOVA: Hunt for Alien Worlds (transcript)  (additional resources), Kidnapped by UFO's (transcript)




Minority Report, La Jetée, NOVA: Time Travel (1999), The Time Machine (2002), Time and Punishment (Simpsons episode), Donnie Darko (2001).

Alien, Hunt for Alien Worlds (1997), Kidnapped by UFO's (1997), Twilight Zone: To Serve Man (1962)






SF & Fantasy Books Online
Guides to online SF: Free SF online, SciFan, Best SF, SciFi.com
Russian language SF in translation

Guaicán Literario (Cuban SF in Spanish)
Online SF & fantasy short stories (old, public domain)

Amateur SF sites

Agent to the Stars” (John Scalzi) -- a shareware novel

The Android Times (SLU student SF)



Definitions of SF, More definitions
The Internet Top 100 SF/Fantasy List
SF stories by theme: SETI, Time, Rel. Space travel and many others!
Another themed index (mostly novels, but also collections)
Science Fiction Writers' Resource Guide: alphabetical list by topic, with links to other resources.
Time machines in physics (about 200 citations)



APAStyle.org. Citing electronic references, FAQs

Purdue OWL on APA style

Ohio State on APA citation guide

The Planetary Society
Science Fiction \ Science Technology : Tools for Learning (NASA) Early SciFi spacecraft
Time travel institute

Online Writing Laboratories ("OWLs")

60 Minutes transcript: “The Rumor Mill” (1998).

Orson Scott Card's homepage: Includes "Uncle Orson's Writing Class"

Cliff Pickover's Tips for Writers



New Scientist: QM articles.
Time travel in Popular Science
Scientific American
Popular Science
Science News: search
OMNI: ODY electr. (7/90-12/95) Fiction ToC
Analog Magazine: ODY (1974-1981)
Science Fiction Studies: Links, Search engine. This journal is available at ODY.
Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
foundation: the international review of science fiction




ODY books: Search under Time, Space and time, Robots in literature, time travel in literature, extraterrestrial, Life on other planets, Human-alien encounters, Science Fiction English History & Criticism, Science Fiction American History & Criticism, etc.

Databases: Reader’s Guide Abstracts, Periodical Abstracts, MLA Abstracts, General Science Abstracts

PN3448.S45 B63 1990: "Science-Fiction: the early years".
PN3433.4 .N48 1988: The New encyclopedia of science fiction.
PN3433.4 .E53 1993: The Encyclopedia of science fiction.
PN3433.4 .C57 1995: Science fiction : the illustrated encyclopedia.

PN3433.5 .B87 1992: Reference guide to science fiction, fantasy & horror.

PN3433.8 .A52 1995: Anatomy of wonder: critical guide to science fiction.

PN3435 .E53 1997: The Encyclopedia of fantasy.

QB209 .E52 1994: Encyclopedia of time.


Solar sails
Bussard ramscoop
Generations starships
Antimatter fuel
Tachyons, FTL
Wormholes ("stargates")
Quantum teleportation

Warpdrive (Alcubierre)
Zero-point energy from vacuum

Manned travel to Mars

Permanent base on the Moon

Direction of time's arrow

Relativistic (1-way) time travel

Chronology protection conjecture
Gödel time machine
Tipler time machine
Gott time machine
Time branching & alternate universes

The Drake equation
Search for extrastellar planets
Life in this solar system


Theory of panspermia
Non-carbon-based life
Life in extreme environments

Biblical UFOs & ETs

Psychology of UFO abductees
The Raelian movement




(Note: This part of the syllabus will be filled in more fully once research topics are assigned.)

Monday, Jan. 19

        Introduction to the course

        Discussion of possible research topics
Wednesday, Jan. 21

        Library Orientation: ODY “B.I. room” (Turn left as you enter ODY and keep going. It’s a computer lab on the right.)

        Read Hacker, Sections R1 & R2 before class -- “Conducting Research” and “Evaluating Sources”

Thursday, Jan. 22 LAB: Finding initial references for research topics, assessing sources

        Class meets in Science Library

        60 Minutes tape: “The Rumor Mill” (1998).


Friday, Jan. 23

        Excerpts from A Voyage To The Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac (1657), plus Act 3, Scene 11 of “Cyrano de Bergerac”, Rostand (1898)..
        The Travels and surprising adventures of Baron Munchausen:
Ch. 6 , Ch. 18 (1785).

        “Space Travel”, Bova, Ch. 7: “The Moon” (Course Packet, pp. 99-117).

Monday, Jan. 26

        Guest lecture: Steven G. Horwitz -- Progressive Rock and SF: Rush's 2112 (lyrics: T:/Koon/Stories/2112.doc)

        Horwitz, S. G.: "Rand, Rush, and Detotalizing the Utopianism of Progressive Rock" (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies)
Wednesday, Jan. 28

        From the Earth to the Moon, Ch. 1, 2, 3: Jules Verne (1865).

        “Space Travel”, Bova, Ch. 1 “Dreams into Reality (Course Packet, pp. 4-8).

        Kinematics, conversions and “gee forces”
Thursday, Jan. 29 LAB: Crafting a thesis question; Citations

        The Good Thesis (Massey, N.Z. OWLL)

        Handout on APA citation style, Hacker, section A1b: pp. 368-74.
Friday, Jan. 30

        Guest lecture: Aileen A. O’Donoghue -- Our place in the cosmos

        Handout -- “Miscellaneous Space Travel Background Information”  (T:/Koon/Readings/Nearby stars and unit conversions.doc)

        Browse: “An Atlas of the Universe”

        Space art gallery, Hubble telescope’s greatest hits: 2003 and other years

        Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov, for anybody who’s curious

        See also Aileen O’Donoghue’s Powerpoint from class (T:/Koon/etc.)




Monday, Feb. 2

        Continue discussion of kinematics

        The First Men on the Moon, Ch. 1, 2, 3: H. G. Wells (1900).

        APA Style sheet (18 pages) (Nova Southeastern Univ.)

        APA Style sheet (14 pages) (Univ. of Baltimore)

Wednesday, Feb. 4
“An Atlas of the Universe”

        Bova Ch. 10: “The Starrs”, Ch. 12: “The Universe”

Thursday, Feb. 5 LAB: Notetaking; Plagiarism

        Read Hacker R3, Bring Hacker with you

        Bring to class notes to H. G. Wells, notes to one of your research works

        Nuñez and Glass: Any readings due for Monday?

        Taking notes and Avoiding plagiarism: The Purdue OWL

Friday, Feb. 6

        Generations starships:

                Interstellar travel: a family affair?, National Geographic News, 2/20/2002 (T:\Koon\FYS\Readings\Generation)

                Sex and society aboard the first starships, Space. com (T:\Koon\FYS\Readings\Generation 2)

        Morse and Hilts: Any readings due for Wednesday?

        BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE. 2+ books, 2+ journals/magazines, 2+ online resources for a total of 8+ sources. All entries must be in APA style!


Weekend -- Why not visit Winterlude in Ottawa, or Canton’s Winterfest?


Monday, Feb. 9

        Ramscoop -- Nuñez

        “Sequence” -- Glass (Carl Jacobi, 1972. Course packet)

        Read Bova, pp. 207-208 before class.

        Read Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy, and Spaceflight: Interstellar ramjet (Also on T: drive under \readings\ramjet.doc) before class

        Plagiarism exercise due

        Johnson: Any readings due for Friday?
Wednesday, Feb. 11

        Base on the Moon -- Morse

        “Sky Lift” -- Hilts (Heinlein, 1953. course packet)

        Review Bova, Ch. 7 “The Moon” before class.

        Read CNN: “Bush unveils vision for moon and beyond” (also on T: drive under \readings\Bush and mars.doc) before class.

Thursday, Feb. 12 LAB: Evening viewing of film “Contact” instead of regular Lab.

Friday, Feb. 13

        Solar sails -- Johnson

        Read “The Science” and “The Plan” from http://solarsail.org/

        "The Wind From the Sun", Arthur C. Clarke (1963) (Comic book version: Olivier Boisard (1985))

        SF PLOT SUMMARY DUE: Length = one page


Monday, Feb. 16
        Discuss film: “Contact”, viewing Friday - Sunday, Channel 71, 4pm & 8pm.

        Go to www.carlsagan.com, click on media below the image of the solar sail, select “view a 7 minute...movie about Cosmos 1”

Wednesday, Feb. 18

        Tachyons / Faster than light transport [FTL] -- Rodriguez. Read: Bova, pp. 206-7, Wikipedia: Faster than light

        “The propagation of light in a vacuum” -- Condro

        Bring to class ONE annotated bibliography for feedback

        Start reading "Jabberwocky" and “All mimsy were the borogoves” (T: drive, under /Stories/mimsy.doc) for Friday

        Start reading “Star, Bright” (new packet of handouts) for Monday

Thursday, Feb. 19 LAB: Evaluating sources

                Exercise 1, Exercise 2

Friday, Feb. 20

        Quantum teleportation -- Cidorowich Read New Scientist article

        Read “All mimsy were the borogoves” -- Feather. Plus, read “Jabberwocky” and Appendix A of 1984

        ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE (See in-class handout for details)


Monday, Feb. 23

        Continue with “All mimsy” (T: drive, or Ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9:)
        Film “The Time Machine” viewing Friday - Sunday, Channel 77: 4pm, 7pm, 10pm.

        Read “Star, Bright” (“Time Machines” handout) -- Lomax

        A cool online source you might find interesting: The visual thesaurus (Enter a word in the box in the upper left.)

Wednesday, Feb. 25

        Wormholes -- Case. Read http://www.pbs.org/wnet/hawking/strange/html/wormhole.html

        Warp drive -- Evans

Thursday, Feb. 26 LAB: Character development & Writing fiction: the scene as the basic unit

        Read the handout from class from The Science of Science Fiction Writing by James Gunn

        Bring what you’ve got so far of your character sketch with you to class.

        Be prepared to work on your plot

        Storyboard exercise

        Shameless ad for a Klein bottle mug
Friday, Feb. 27

        Manned mission to Mars -- Fuller. Read Bova’s section on Mars, pp. 148-154.

        Read  Infinite Improbability Drive and Bistromathic Drive from “Hitchhiker’s guide (2 selections)” + “"Mail Supremacy" (scroll down for excerpt)” -- Fessler

        Vogon poetry generator




Monday, March 1

        Film: “NOVA: Time Travel” viewing Friday - Sunday, Channel 61.

        Read Introduction and Chapter 1 of Nahin (“Time Travel” in Course Packet) Focus on the ideas and criticisms of time travel, not the specific stories

        Read pp. 3-43 of Callender (“Introducing Time” textbook)

Wednesday, March 3

        Antimatter -- Ciesla. Read Bova, pp. 208-9.

        Zero-point energy -- Burr. Read “Zero Point Energy” and “The Casimir Effect” at Warp Drive When?

Thursday, March 4 LAB: Crafting arguments: support and evidence

        Bring your thesis statement and outline (so far) to work on in class
Friday, March 5

        Read Callender up to page 88 or thereabouts

        Read Nahin Chapters 2 and 3

        Be prepared to ask questions about Special Relativity, General Relativity, and the Block Universe (tensed or detensed time)



Monday, March 8

        Argumentation example -- finding the thesis statement and arguments in an editorial and letter to The Hill News.

        General Relativity

Wednesday, March 10

        Read “Counter-clock world” -- Remillard

        More on General Relativity, time

Thursday, March 11 LAB: Oral presentation workshop
Friday, March 12

        Film: “The Minority Report”, viewing Wednesday and Thursday on Channel 71. -- Harley

        The nature of time

        FIRST DRAFT OF FUNCTIONAL OUTLINE DUE: 2+ pages, double-spaced, in paragraph form, in which you develop the ideas of your argument. Each paragraph should describe how you intend to prove one of the major arguments that supports your thesis. Include, in parentheses within each paragraph, the author[s] you will cite to support each argument. Be sure to include all prior drafts relevant to this assignment, starting with your first thesis question, and including all of the material you handed in last Friday.


Monday, March 22

        Discussion of special vs general relativity, invariance, time cones, physicists’ time machines

        In-class reading of & response to a piece of fiction TBA

Wednesday, March 24

        Finish Callender and Chaps. 1-7 of Nahin.

        Read "Bad Timing"  -- Morse

Thursday, March 25 LAB:

        Read “Who’s cribbing?” & “A brief history of Temporal Express” (“Time Machines” packet) -- Johnson

        Read "A Sound of Thunder" -- Rodriguez

Friday, March 26

        Read "Fire Watch"  -- Nuñez




Monday, March 29

        Read Pickover, Ch. 1 and 2 -- How does the study of aliens inform our understanding of what it is to be human?

Wednesday, March 31

        Film: “Donnie Darko”, viewing Monday through Tuesday, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm on Channel 98.

        Read “Take a choice” by Sakyo Komatsu. (Handout from Monday’s class) Biography at amazon.com (scroll down)

Thursday, April 1 LAB:

        “Deconstructing Donnie Darko”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donnie_Darko, http://donniedarko.com/, http://www.tonystuff.co.uk/darko-spoilers.htm
Friday, April 2

        The Drake Equation -- Glass

        Explore http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/

        SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence -- Hilts



Monday, April 5

        Film: “NOVA: Alien Worlds”, viewing Friday - Sunday on Channel 77.

        Read http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/newworlds/mam-testbed.html
        The search for extrasolar planets -- Lomax

        Read Chapters 3 - 5 of Pickover by Wednesday

        If you wish to opt out of having your fiction included in The Android Times, please contact the instructor by the end of the week. If I don’t hear from you, I will include your work in the next issue.

Wednesday, April 7

        More extrasolar links: Discover.com, NASA’s PlanetQuest, Extrasolar.net

        Read Chapters 3 - 5 of Pickover

        Panspermia -- Fessler

        Read “Sentinel” -- Fuller

Thursday, April 8 LAB: Peer review of SF first drafts: Bring a draft, plus a list of your top priorities for peer feedback
Friday, April 9

        Life under extreme conditions -- Condro

        Read “Dragon’s Egg” -- Evans (Prologue and Technical Appendix: Course Packet, pp. 45-56)              


Monday, April 12

        Film: “Alien”, viewing Friday - Sunday on Channel 72. -- Burr

        Note: “2001: A Space Odyssey” will show Tuesday - Thursday at 4, 7, and 10pm on Ch. 75 (Tues, Wednes) and Ch. 77 (Thurs). This is not an assignment. It is for your entertainment only.

        Reading first half of “First contact” (Course packet)

Wednesday, April 14

        Read "They're made out of meat" and "Tell them they are all full of shit and they should fuck off". --  Case (See http://www.terrybisson.com/ for more stuff by the author.)

        Read “First contact” -- Ciesla (Course packet)

Thursday, April 15 LAB: Peer review of Term Paper first drafts:

        Bring a version of your first draft of your term paper, the draft of your science fiction which I handed back today, plus a list of your top priorities for peer feedback

        Plus, review of various “mechanical” issues of writing (e.g. Commas)

Friday, April 16

        Read “To serve man” -- Cidorowich (Course packet)


Monday, April 19
        Biblical UFOs -- Harley

        Read Ezekiel: Ch. 1. , "Kindergarten"

        UFOs, UFOs II, UFOs III, UFOs IV: poetry  by Victor Bruno Henríquez (to be passed out in class)

Wednesday, April 21

Go to http://www.rael.org/english/index.html and click “Organisation” for the History of the group (Please read all the pages, up till the invitation to join.), or download Rael_History.doc from T: drive.

        The Raelians -- Remillard

        Continue discussion of UFO’s

Thursday, April 22 LAB: Introductions and Conclusions; Teaching evaluations
Friday, April 23

        Film: “NOVA: Abducted by UFOs”, viewing Wednesday - Thursday on Channel 61.

        Me Human, You Alien: How to Talk to an Extraterrestrial, Jonathan Vos Post

        “Bring in” an alien from the SF literature -- what are its characteristics?

        Review Pickover, Chapter 7: “Communication”
        The psychology of aliens -- Feathers


Monday, April 26 -- Workshop on some theme of the thesis paper

Wednesday, April 28

Thursday, April 29 LAB: Prose polishing
Friday, April 30  -- final class

        Review the APA Style section of Hacker, especially the “in-text citations” section

        Bring your term paper in its present condition. Bring also a list of the “big ideas” of each of your paragraphs, like the list I worked on in class on Wednesday, or like the page I stapled onto the end of most of your term paper first drafts.


Monday, May 3 (Exam week)


        IMPORTANT NOTICE: The final term paper should be ten pages, counting the Title Page and the Bibliography. Please don’t include references in your Bibliography which you are not using in the paper.





All students at St. Lawrence University are bound by honor to maintain the highest level of academic integrity. By virtue of membership in the St. Lawrence community, every student accepts the responsibility to know the rules of academic honesty, to abide by them at all times, and to encourage all others to do the same.

Responsibility for avoiding behavior or situations from which academic dishonesty may be inferred rests entirely with the students. Claims of ignorance, unintentional error, and academic or personal pressure are not excuses for academic dishonesty. Students should be sure to learn from faculty what is expected as their own work and how the work of other people should be acknowledged. Instructors are expected to maintain conditions which promote academic honesty.

Instructors have the duty to investigate any instance involving possible academic dishonesty and must present evidence of academic dishonesty to the Academic Honor Council rather than make private arrangements with the student involved. Violations of the St. Lawrence University Code of Academic Honor are administered under the constitution of the Academic Honor Council [See Student Handbook for the Constitution].


Academic Honesty

The primary objective of the University is the promotion of knowledge. This objective can be furthered only if there is strict adherence to scrupulous standards of honesty. At St. Lawrence, all members of the University community have a responsibility to see that standards of honesty and integrity are maintained.

Students who respect academic honesty and who are orderly and meticulous in their treatment of both their own work and the work of others should anticipate no difficulty with cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty. Borrowing ideas or language from others is acceptable scholarly practice and in many instances actively to be encouraged.

Academic dishonesty generally arises from one of two sources: either a student has knowingly cheated or plagiarized or he/she has been careless or slipshod in discriminating between his/her own work and that of others or in acknowledging sources accurately. These latter difficulties are easily circumvented. Any standard handbook on English usage or term paper writing manual will furnish a methodology as well as appropriate internal reference, endnote, or bibliographical forms (cf., for example, the Harbrace Handbook, A Guide to MLA Documentation, or Writers Inc.).


Academic Honesty

A major objective of the University is the pursuit of knowledge which can be achieved only by strict adherence to standards of honesty. At St. Lawrence, all members of the community have a responsibility to see that these standards are maintained.


Academic Dishonest*

1. It is assumed that all work submitted for credit is done by the student unless the instructor gives specific permission for collaboration.

2. Cheating on examinations and tests consists of knowingly giving or using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance during examinations or tests.

3. Dishonesty in work outside of examinations and tests consists of handing in for credit as original work that which is not original, where originality is required.


The following constitute examples of academic dishonesty:

a)      Plagiarism: Presenting as one's own work the work of another person - words, ideas, data, evidence, thoughts, information, organizing principles, or style of presentation-without proper attribution. Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment by quotation marks, footnotes, endnotes, or other indices of reference (cf. Joseph F. Trimmer, A Guide to MLA Documentation).

b)      Handing in false reports on any experiment.

c)       Handing in a book report on a book one has not read.

d)      Falsification of attendance records of a laboratory or other class meeting.

e)      Supplying information to another student knowing that such information will be used in a dishonest way.

f)        Submission of work (papers, journal abstracts, etc.) which has received credit in a previous course to satisfy the requirement(s) of a second course without the knowledge and permission of the instructor of the second course.


Claims of ignorance and academic or personal pressure are unacceptable as excuses for academic dishonesty. Students must learn what constitutes one's own work and how the work of others must be acknowledged.


St. Lawrence students are required to sign the following statement prior to registration for classes:

"I hereby acknowledge that I have read the above document and I understand my responsibility in maintaining the standards of academic honesty at St. Lawrence University."



FYP Communication Skills Component


Statement of Philosophy

First-Year colleges provide ideal environments for fostering the complex intellectual and social skills that are at the heart of a liberal education. The First-Year Program (FYP)/ First-Year Seminars (FYS) play a significant part in the development of students' abilities to communicate effectively and to use writing and speaking to help them to become critical readers of a variety of texts.

Improving student abilities in reading, writing, speaking and research requires serious, sustained practice and overt, in-class reflection upon that practice.  A critical feature of this sustained practice is that students receive detailed, constructive response to their work from instructors, from peers, and from mentors and/or Writing Center tutors.

Underlying the teaching of communication skills in the FYP and the FYS is the assumption that these courses are components of a university-wide, four-year commitment to teaching communication skills across the undergraduate curriculum.


Though the goals for speaking, writing, and research are discussed in separate sections below, they are related activities. Instruction in these skills is most effective when grounded in a holistic view of communication.  Students should be made aware of the differences and similarities between oral and written modes of discourse.


1. Oral Communication

By the end of the FYP/FYS students should demonstrate an increased ability:

a)   to develop an oral presentation through a series of drafts, demonstrating substantial conceptual and performative revision.

b)   to produce a speech with a clearly defined rhetorical purpose that is appropriately and adequately fulfilled given the audience being addressed.

c)     to use informal conversation, in class or out, to facilitate close reading and promote critical thinking.

d)    to speak from notes or outline, rather than from a manuscript or in an impromptu fashion.

2. Written Communication

By the end of the FYP/FYS, students should demonstrate an increased ability:

a)    to develop a piece of writing through a series of drafts, demonstrating substantial revision at both the conceptual and the sentence level.

b)    to produce an essay with a clearly defined rhetorical purpose that is appropriately and adequately fulfilled given the audience being addressed.

c)     to use informal writing, done in class or out, in journals, reader-response papers, or exploratory essays, to facilitate close reading and promote critical thinking.

d)    to produce writing that is characterized by a mature prose style and that conforms to the conventions of standard written English.


3. Research

By the end of the FYP/FYS, students should be better able to conduct productive, imaginative research.  Specifically, they should demonstrate an increased ability:

a)  to assess the research requirements of a particular assignment and to meet those requirements by using library collections, electronic databases, and Web-based sources.

b)  to be able to choose amongst the sources to determine which are most appropriate for a particular assignment.

c)  to assess and represent the complexity of a particular line of inquiry and to enter responsibly into the conversation about the issues it raises.


I.  FYP courses

An FYP course will be approved if students:

a)    are given diverse and repeated opportunities to write and speak, including the opportunity to write and speak in response to readings, discussions, lectures, films, etc.  These responses may occur in class or out, and they may take many forms: freewriting, open or directed journals, graded or ungraded exploratory essays, essay exams, small group discussion, impromptu discussion, oral exams

b)    are required to engage in at least three formal, graded writing projects.  A "project" requires that students develop a piece of writing over time on the basis of appropriate feedback at a number of stages in the process

c)     are required to engage in at least two oral communication projects, one of which undergoes a process of revision.  A "project" requires that students develop a speech over time on the basis of appropriate feedback at a number of stages in the process.  At least one speech must be extemporaneous, by which we mean that students should deliver a prepared speech from an outline or minimal notes

d)    are required to conduct library research and use the sources as an integral part of at least one written and/or oral project

e)    are instructed in and held responsible for the ethical use of sources

f)      are required to keep all of their written work in a course portfolio, to reflect in writing upon their work, and to submit the completed portfolio to their faculty for review


II.   First-Year Seminars

A First-Year Seminar will be approved if students:

a)    are given diverse and repeated opportunities to write and speak, including opportunities to benefit from detailed formative feedback from instructors and peers

b)    are asked to assess adequately the research requirements of a particular assignment and to seek out efficiently the means of meeting those requirements

c)     are given diverse opportunities to incorporate  appropriate illustrative or persuasive detail in oral and written communication

d)    are required to complete at least one and no more than two projects comprising some combination of formal and informal oral, written, and research activities that demonstrate a satisfactory grasp of the program's communication goals

e)    are instructed in and held responsible for the ethical use of sources

f)      are required to assemble all their work in a portfolio that includes a written assessment of that work, and to submit the completed portfolio to their faculty for review



In addition, it is strongly recommended:

1.     that students engage in oral and written assignments that address a variety of audiences, ranging from instructors and peers to other imagined or real audiences.

2.     that students write and speak for a variety of purposes: to explore, to express, to inform, and to persuade

3.     that students be encouraged to respond to texts via creative projects

4.     that students engage in a variety of research tasks that encourage critical use of sources

5.     that colleges include assignments that require the production and analysis of visual images, so as to improve visual literacy



Residential Philosophy and Goals

First-Year college students face what is for many a difficult transition from high school to college. This transition requires moving from a relatively structured environment to one that offers significant freedom. Research on the transition to college has shown that students are most successful when they build connections to other students, faculty, and the college community. FYP staff and faculty help students to begin to build these connections during orientation when students, faculty and staff meet together for college meetings, discussion of American Voices, and academic advising. In the remainder of the fall semester, students are taking a class with their residential peers. Course material from the FYP class provides a fertile ground for meaningful conversations in the residence hall. Additionally, college faculty and residential staff work together to develop programming in the residence hall that connects to the course and that furthers discussion among students, faculty and residential staff.

A central challenge of a residential college is to assist students in learning to take advantage of personal freedom in ways that do not infringe upon others. Of crucial importance in meeting this challenge is that a college campus is first and foremost an academic community, even while it is also a place to grow psychologically and socially. By the time students graduate, we expect that they will be able to live together in an atmosphere of respect with minimal intervention by university staff and faculty. In order to begin to foster the growth necessary for students to reach this developmental point, the First-Year Program encourages students to reflect upon the effects of their actions on others. We wish to help students recognize that a relativist framework that asserts that all needs are equal is not appropriate given that St. Lawrence is an academic community. We will also work to foster in students a respect for university officials that comes from understanding university rules and policies as reasonable guidelines for living together, without infringing on the rights of others. In cases where students do not believe that rules and guidelines are reasonable, we will work with them to responsibly challenge these policies. Further, we will assist students in understanding that their academic and residential lives can be connected in ways that help them to meet multiple goals, such as developing friendships, becoming better students, and building connections to colleagues who may never become close friends.

The first year of college is the first stage of a four year process in which students take increasing control of their living arrangements. In the First-Year Program, we begin to help them to take responsibility by fostering an understanding of how living and learning can be integrated in ways that foster both academic and social growth.

Statement of Goals:

Faculty, residential staff, and students will work together:

· to promote the integration of the academic and residential experience

· to encourage students to move towards patterns of living together which reflect principles of mutuality and accountability

· to encourage students to understand their rights and responsibilities as individuals residing in living/learning communities. For example, we will work together to develop communities in which each student has enough quiet time to study and sleep enough to succeed as a student by helping residents to understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to quiet hours and courtesy hours.

· to help students make use of residential staff and faculty in exercising their rights and responsibilities while they develop the capacity for self-management

· to identify and confront conflicts before they become destructive of the living/learning community.