Writing Beyond the Bounds of Reality: 4 Approaches to SciFi With Dr. Alexandra Grunberg - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Writing Beyond the Bounds of Reality: 4 Approaches to SciFi With Dr. Alexandra Grunberg

Wed, May 15, 2024
4 sessions
$225 per person
Up to 20 people
See Dates
$225 per person
$225 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this four part workshop, dive into the world of science fiction and complete a story of your own. 

Course Description

Science fiction isn’t all spaceships and alien invasions. It’s a rich literary tradition with a fascinating history, encompassing a wide variety of subgenres that have influenced society—from space operas and apocalypse to hope-punk. In this four-part workshop with author Dr. Alexandra Grunberg, we’ll probe the vast world of science fiction in writing, film, and theory, and equip you with the tools to write your own material. We’ll delve into the variety of popular science fiction settings, tropes, themes, and visions for the future, using guided in-class exercises as an opportunity to share our work and receive feedback. 

This course is designed for writers of all levels who want to traverse the vast genre of science fiction; no prior experience is necessary. 

Syllabus At A Glance

This course includes four total sessions each lasting for 1.5 hours on consecutive Wednesdays starting May 15.

Session 1 (Wednesday, 5/15, 5–6:30 PM ET): Space Stations

We’ll explore the role of the space station setting, the psychological effects it has on group dynamics, and the opportunities it can open up for plot to unfold. 

Session 2 (Wednesday, 5/22, 5–6:30 PM ET): Cyberpunk

We’ll focus on the cyberpunk genre and different notions of humanity’s evolution in the past as well as near and far future.

Session 3 (Wednesday, 5/29, 5–6:30 PM ET): Apocalypse 

In this session, we’ll delve into apocalyptic fiction, and explore our own fear-based visions of an apocalyptic future.

Session 4 (Wednesday, 6/5, 5–6:30 PM ET): Hope-Punk

In contrast to the more grim scifi subgenres, we’ll look at hope-punk and its imaginings of a better tomorrow. We’ll create visions of our own utopias and test possibilities of conflict within these brighter visions of the future.

Between Sessions

Students will have the option to expand on (or clean up) their in-class exercises and submit these pieces (of no more than 1000 words) for feedback each week. At the end of the course, they will have the option to submit a piece of no more than 2000 words for feedback. This final piece can be an expansion on a previously submitted assignment or an original submission based on what the student has learned during the course. 

Course Materials

Materials - such as excerpts from film, tv, or literature - will be provided by the instructor as pdf scans or links to youtube videos. 

Pricing Options

In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Course

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Dr. Alexandra Grunberg
Dr. Alexandra Grunberg

Dr. Alexandra (Alex) Grunberg is a Glasgow based author, poet, and screenwriter. Over fifty of her speculative fiction short stories have been published in various online magazines and anthologies. Her post-apocalyptic novel, Merchant, will be published by Gold SF and MIT Press in 2024. She is the resident screenwriter for Magic Dog Productions. She earned her DFA and MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. You can keep up with her work on alexandragrunberg.weebly.com. 

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes. 

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at experiences@atlasobscura.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Group Size

There are 20 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability
  • Wed, May 15, 2024
    5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
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