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Unexpected Journeys: Travel and Epic in Literary Fantasy 

English 3372: Special Topics in Science Fiction and/or Fantasy

Course Objectives

  • Provide a critical survey of both popular and ‘classic’ fantasy works published between the early 20th century and early 21st century.

  • Expose students to patterns, themes, ideas, and characteristics found in selected novels/media representative of different periods of fantasy writing.

  • To explore so-called ‘high’ literature alongside speculative fiction and/or self-published works.

  • Learn how speculative writing uses metaphors, allegory, allusion, and other literary techniques to grapple with real world concepts and concerns. 

  • Develop basic vocabulary in media literacy and analyze media alongside literary texts.

  • Develop skills in original, analytical writing.

  • This course fulfills the GEC requirement for literature. Students in this class will evaluate significant texts in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and historical response and judgment; interpretation and evaluation; and critical listening, reading, seeing, thinking, and writing. Expected Learning Outcomes include: 1) analysis, interpretation, and critique of significant literary works and 2) through reading, discussing, and writing about literature, students will learn to appraise and evaluate the personal and social values of their own and other cultures.

Required Books/Media

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman

  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King

  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman

  • Homestuck Acts 1-3 by Andrew Hussie (read online:

  • Undertale by Toby Fox (download online:

  • The Outsorcerer’s Apprentice by Tom Holt (buy online: ISBN 978-0316368797)


Course Requirements 

Attendance/Participation (10%)

Reading Quizzes (15%) 

Discussion Posts (15%)

Paper (30%)

Final Exam (30%)

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