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Science Fiction @ The Pitt Libraries: Home

This guide is for undergraduates conducting research in the area of science fiction or enrolled in English Lit 0626: Science Fiction.

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What is Science Fiction?

"Science fiction is a time-sensitive subject in literature. Usually futuristic, science fiction speculates about alternative ways of life made possible by technological change, and hence has sometimes been called "speculative fiction." Like fantasy, and often associated with it, science fiction envisions alternative worlds with believably consistent rules and structures, set apart somehow from the ordinary or familiar world of our time and place. Distinct from fantasy, however, science fiction reflects on technology to consider how it might transform the conditions of our existence and change what it means to be human. "Sci Fi" is the genre that considers what strange new beings we might become-what mechanical forms we might invent for our bodies, what networks and systems might nourish or tap our life energies, and what machine shells might contain our souls."
--Dr. Beshero-Bondar, Associate Prof. of English, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

The Research Process: Sub Genres in SF

When you begin to research your topic in the area of sci-fi, be aware that there are many sub genres that may pique your interest.  Here are some points to consider when developing your paper:

  • Develop a topic that asks a question or poses a problem that interests you.
  • Select appropriate search terms for your subject.  For sci-fi you may want to search by author/title/sub genre or keywords. Suggested terms may include:
    • androids
    • cyborgs
    • cyberpunk
    • postcyberpunk
    • speculative fiction
    • alternate history
    • military sf
    • superhuman
    • apocalyptic
    • space opera
    • space western
    • time travel
  • Search Pittcat Plus and subject oriented databases.
  • Revise your topic. Determine how you will answer your question.
  • Evaluate your resources carefully!
  • When in doubt, contact your librarian.

Your Librarian

Kelly Safin's picture
Kelly Safin
Reference/Public Services Librarian
Millstein Library, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

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