A Note On My Coursera Theses

Last week I finished an 11-week-long course on Coursera called Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, which was offered in collaboration with the University Of Michigan. I’ll be receiving a certificate of course completion soon enough. It involved writing a total of ten theses on 10+ books (list below) and I thought I’d publish some of those here on the blog, so people who want to better understand any one of these works of fiction may benefit from my insights. Note that it was strictly required for each of the theses to be a minimum of 270 words or a maximum of 320 words, putting me in the position of rambling on in some and exercising extreme brevity with others. Also, all of the theses have each been read and critiqued by at least 5 peers and I’ve received ample feedback on their form and content, but if you have something to say regarding any essay I’ll be glad to read and respond to such inputs.

Reading list:

  • Grimm — Children’s and Household Tales
  • Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
  • Stoker — Dracula
  • Shelley — Frankenstein
  • Hawthorne & Poe — Selected stories and poems
  • Wells — The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Invisible Man, The Country of the Blind, The Star
  • Burroughs & Gilman — A Princess of Mars & Herland
  • Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles
  • LeGuin — The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Doctorow — Little Brother

I’ll try to post one a day over the next few days.

Edit: Because of the word limit almost all of them cover only a part aspect or a single motif of the work under scrutiny. None of them is to serve as a book review and almost all have some element of plot revealed, or spoilers as they’re commonly known. Best to read the theses if you’re already familiar with the works, for a deeper understanding, rather than as a book review.

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