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FICT 67 W — Writing Strange Magic: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Magical Realism

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 30
Drop Deadline: Jun 27
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Ben Hoffman
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Summer
Date(s)
Jun 24—Aug 30
10 weeks
Drop By
Jun 27
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Ben Hoffman
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Many readers and writers are drawn to fiction for its fantastical possibilities, though such elements have often been cast as contrary to a work’s literary quality. With that in mind, we will investigate how strangeness and magic function in contemporary literary fiction and proceed to write our own weird tales. We will discuss stories by such authors as Kelly Link, Aimee Bender, and Stephen Millhauser, examining how these authors incorporate “literary” qualities in work that is not typical realism. We will complete several short writing exercises, striving to integrate magical and strange elements while focusing on the basic building blocks of storytelling such as characters, setting, and conflict. We will contemplate how magical realism, surrealism, and the uncanny differ from sci-fi and fantasy genre writing, and ask how we, as writers, can make the quotidian seem extraordinary and the improbable seem inevitable, and to what end. Later we will workshop our own short stories or novel excerpts and discuss the revision process. Throughout the course, we will consider how the expectations of literary fiction might constrain us and how we can engage with and transcend these archetypes.

Ben Hoffman, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Ben Hoffman’s fiction has received the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award and has been published by American Short Fiction, Granta, and Zoetrope. His work has also been named among the Notable/ Distinguished Stories of the Year in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies. He received an MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)