Worlds in Chaos: Dystopian Science Fiction of the 1950s

This course will examine two British science fiction novels from the 1950s to look at ways this genre beautifully reflects contemporary fears of war, nuclear destruction, economic chaos, and environmental concerns. The key novels we will focus on will be The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (1951) and On the Beach by Neville Shute (1957). By reading, discussing and examining the themes of these novels (and extracts of other science fiction of the time), we will build a critical lens through which to compare 1950s themes and world views of gender, politics, society and psychological fears of that period with contemporary ones.

Note: This course will not meet on Patriot's Day, Monday April 17th, and will resume the following the Monday.


Group Leader: SARAH MCKENZIE
Venue: online
Meets on: Mondays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 4/3/2023
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 30
Teaching Style: Seminar
Weekly Preparation: 2 - 3 hours
Group Leader Biography:

Sarah J. McKenzie is an experienced teacher of English Literature from the U.K., with a long history of teaching Renaissance and Victorian literature. She is currently a consultant in international education in Boston. She gained her BA in English and American Literature from the University of Kent and her MA and PhD from the University of Warwick. Her doctorate was in Death and Inheritance in Early Modern Literature. She has a keen and lifelong interest in theatre, genre fiction and films, and dabbles in writing when she can.