alien invasions in fiction and film

Project description
Read (the war of the Worlds 1898) by H G wells.

Write a one paragraph response to each of the following questions:

1. How do the Martians compare to (or contrast with) King Kong and Dracula as monstrous aliens?

2. Are the Martians primitive or civilized? Are they creatures of body or mind?

3. In what ways does the Martian invasion mirror the expansion of the British Empire?

4. What makes human society vulnerable to the Martian invasion?

5. What sort of men are likely to survive the Martian invasion?

6. Does the novel present social values and ethical codes as universal or as relative to each particular culture or species?

about the course:
The topic of this course is alien invasions in fiction and film. We will begin by defining the alien and considering its various connotations as outsider and monster, the other to the national subject. We will then examine the ways in which aliens embody fears of political, racial and species difference, challenging our identities and even our understanding of the human. We will study a wide range of alien creatures in fiction and film, including apes, extraterrestrials, vampires, zombies, robots, and replicants, in order to analyze how these creatures are used to reinforce or challenge conceptions of the self, community, and nation. By studying the history of aliens in science fiction, fantasy, and horror we will be able to connect their invasion of Western literature with Western imperialism itself. We will observe how the first aliens in literature coincided with the height of the modern European empires and reflected concerns that exploring and exploiting strange and primitive peoples would lead to some internal corruption of Western society. We will explore the ways in which, paradoxically, aliens represent not just strange, incompatible, and foreign others, but projections of our selves, our modern world, our advancing technologies, and our own imperialist tendencies.

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