The Inklings and Science Fiction

SignumBadge_90x90You are invited to take a fantastic class this spring: “The Inklings and Science Fiction,” taught by Douglas A. Anderson! You can take for it credit, or choose from two levels of auditing. Check it out HERE. It starts on Monday!

Here is the course description:

Of the various men in the writer’s group the Inklings who met in Oxford primarily during the 1930s and 1940s, two achieved world renown with their writings: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Both had a strong interest in the developing field of science fiction (the term itself was coined in 1926). Lewis on the one hand published more of what could be called science fiction than any other member—including Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1946); while Tolkien left some aborted efforts that only appeared posthumously. Other members (like Owen Barfield and Charles Williams) tried their hand at some kind of science fictional narratives, or were (like Lewis’s brother Warnie) lifelong devotees of the genre. In the 1950s and 1960s, both Lewis and Tolkien were meeting up or corresponding with other now well-known writers of science fiction like Arthur C. Clarke, John Christopher, Brian Aldiss, and others. This course covers the Inklings creative and personal encounters with science fiction.

The reading list includes these marvelous books:
Aldiss, Brian. Hothouse
Blish, James. A Case of Conscience
Christopher, John. The Death of Grass
Clarke, Arthur C. Childhood’s End
Lewis, C.S. The Dark Tower and Other Stories
Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce
Lewis, C.S. On Stories
Lewis, C.S. Out of the Silent Planet
Lewis, C.S. Perelandra
Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters
Lewis, C.S. That Hideous Strength
Tolkien, J.R.R. Sauron Defeated [for “The Notion Club Papers”]
…and something by Charles Williams, TBA!



About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."
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11 Responses to The Inklings and Science Fiction

  1. Joe R. Christopher says:

    The course looks delightful. I suppose David Lindsay’s _Voyage to Arcturus_ is not available? Maybe one of the British “scientific romances” (before the period of modern SF) would be appropriate? But Doug knows what he’s doing. I wish I had time to audit, for it looks like great fun.


    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Delightful, indeed! And the inclusion of “On Stories” (the essay) already in effect gives Lindsay’s Voyage to Arcturus, among various others works, as suggestions for further science fiction reading – and if On Stories and Other Essays on Literature (U.S., 1980 = U.K., Of This and Other Worlds) is what is meant, then the suggestions abound, including “the very fine working out of the logical consequences of time-travel in Charles Williams’s Many Dimensions”.


      • sdorman2014 says:

        have you read Christopher’s The Death of Grass? am interested in reading this after seeing the part he played in Joy Lewis’ life in England.


        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          Crazily enough, not yet – after having enjoyed interviewing John Christopher for the Wade Oral History Archive all those years ago!


          • sdorman2014 says:

            “enjoyed interviewing John Christopher for the Wade Oral History Archive”

            thanks! do you recall much of what he said about SF?


            • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

              Not by heart, alas! I may have a copy of the transcription the Wade made ( as handy aid to listening) and sent me to check, but if so, it is at an archival level here requiring an approach which might almost literally be called ‘archaeological’… so I cannot promise to say more, soon!

              I started reading classical science fiction (as I understood it), as a boy, Verne and Wells – and Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger stories, but despite the help and encouragement of various knowledgeable and enthusiastic friends, am only starting to get caught up with more modern ‘classics’, decades later (I now love John Wyndam and H. Beam Piper, and have made an interesting start on Robert Heinlein, but John Christopher is still (high up) on my ‘to read’ list).

              Liked by 1 person

    • I think we will be reading at least selections from “Voyage to Arcturus,” if i’m not mistaken.


  2. Reblogged this on A Pilgrim in Narnia and commented:
    Pleased to hand on this invitation–and to be a small part of this great class. Have you considered spending some time expanding your reading this winter?

    Liked by 1 person

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