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This page updated on 23 August, 2016
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A thematic approach to teaching Science Fiction (SF) for secondary school students

Following the example of several SF texts including encyclopedias and critical texts (Nicholls & Clute, 1995; Mann, 2001; Collins, 1998) the mySF Project uses several distinct themes within SF to analyse selected films, stories and novels.


This model uses five themes and you can select one of these or jump around using the layer in the middle, right of this web page. The themes are simplified, of course, but the main idea is that they represent ways of discussing and criticising contemporary society. That means that leave out some crucial texts and ideas, but in the defense of this thematic approach, they are suitable to the age range and have been tried and refined in the crucible of the secondary classroom. Like everything else in teaching and especially secondary teaching, they can do with improvement and your responses, critiques and suggestions for change or deletion/additions are sought. That is the purpose of this website, rather than using these for another year in the safe, pasteurised and isolated world of the education intranet.


In 2014 and to the present date of late 2016, another part of the mySF Project has been developed, this time looking not thematically but by genre, or subgenre, looking at the generation spaceship in SF, called the GS Project. This project relates more to the Brave New World theme, the Enemy Within theme and of course, to the The Shape of Things to Come theme.

Image and link to the GS Project


Themes of the mySF Project


You can click here to jump to any of the themes used in the mySF Project. You can also read about the themes and why they are shaped as they are through the more pedagogical website that describes the mySF Project in twelve pages with a reading list, using the link to the Microsoft Innovative Teachers site. The five themes used here in this model are:

The enemy within theme aliens, here there and everywhere and what they can mean, including political uses
Fate and predestination theme area time travel and the problems/hopes of fate and destiny
Oh, brave new world theme area genetic engineering of the monster, the world and ourselves
Ghost in the shell theme area relationships with machines, right through to becoming machines
The shape of things to come theme area visions of the close and far future as critiques of the colony (To be finished June, 2017)

Resource List

Collins, P. (Ed.)    (1998). The MUP Encyclopedia of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Mann, G. (Ed.)     (2001). The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: Carroll and Graf.

Nicholls, P., & Clute, J., (Eds.)     (1995). Grolier Science Fiction: the multimedia encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Danbury, CT: Grolier Electronic Publishing.



Michael Sisley


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