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The Literature of Science Fiction

Information Map
Goals and Overview
Costs and Enrollment
The City of Lawrence, Kansas

We've long offered a regular-semester SF literature course at KU available for undergraduate, or graduate credit. This pair of courses are now exclusively offered for professionalization through the Ad Astra Institute for Science Fiction & the Speculative Imagination for educators, science-fiction authors, and readers looking to deepen their understanding of the genre.

Goals and Overview

"The most powerful works of SF don't describe the future - they change it." - Annalee Newitz, io9.

Become fluent in SF by becoming familiar with some of the most-influential works that shaped the genre and the world we inhabit today - and where we'll live tomorrow.

Gain an understanding of contemporary and future science fiction by studying the history of the genre and many of the works that started important conversations about what it means to be human in a changing world. After reading a diversity of influential SF, we discuss how the genre got to be what it is today by comparing the works and their place in the evolution of SF, from the earliest prototypical examples through recent work. Demonstrate your understanding of the genre by writing weekly reading responses, a mid-term paper, participating in a group presentation, and creating a substantial final project. SF author and scholar Chris McKitterick leads the course.


For more details, click here to view a novels syllabus and here to view a short-fiction syllabus. Includes reading order, meeting space, assignment information, and so forth. Regularly re-developed, so check back for updates.

Costs and Enrollment

Contact McKitterick for details on enrolling.


University of Kansas map:

Kansas Union map: 

Lawrence map (a bus-route map, but very useful): 

The City of Lawrence, Kansas

For anyone who hasn't visited, Lawrence is wonderful, a lively small city in the Kaw River valley, filled with art, events and activities. The location of the University of Kansas, Lawrence is situated about 40 miles from Kansas City and 20 miles from Topeka. Summers can be hot, but classrooms and housing are air-conditioned.

Among its many amenities, the University of Kansas has a large science-fiction collection and good reference collections; museums of natural history and art; and sports, theater, and concerts. Lawrence has many excellent restaurants, shopping, and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, concerts, and more.

The nearest major airport is Kansas City International, about 55 miles from Lawrence. Transportation to Lawrence from Kansas City International can be arranged through one of several airport shuttle services. By car, Lawrence is at the intersection of U.S. 59 and I-70 (Kansas Turnpike). The west interchange is closer to the campus. Lawrence can also be reached by Kansas Highway 10.

Find out all about Lawrence - its history, stores, museums, observatories, and SFnal activities - here.

Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay: Chris McKitterick (

updated 5/1/2022

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We believe strongly in the free sharing of information, so you'll find a lot of content - including course syllabi and many materials from our classes - on this and related sites and social networks as educational outreach. Feel free to use this content for independent study, or to adapt it for your own educational and nonprofit purposes; just please credit us and link back to this website. We'd also love to hear from you if you used our materials!

This site is associated with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), AboutSF, and other organizations, and its contents are copyright 1992-present Christopher McKitterick except where noted, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License: Feel free to use and adapt for non-profit purposes, with attribution. For publication or profit purposes, please contact McKitterick or other creators as noted.

Creative Commons License
Works on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.