Design and Future

Course Description

Design Fiction uses narrative elements to envision and explain possible futures for design.

Intended Learning Outcomes


Grading Policy

Attendance, participation in class discussion and project critiques: 25%

Project 1: 15%

Project 2: 15%

Project 3: 15%

Project 4: 30% (including documentation).


Grading will be based on attendance, thoughtful participation in class discussion and project critiques (25%), and how successfully each of the four projects incorporate concepts addressed in readings and class. Each unexcused absence will result in losing a letter grade. The first 3 projects will be each worth 15%, and the final project will be worth 30% (including documentation). Projects may be collaborations or done alone. The final project may build on one of the previous three.


Week 1:  Introduction

Week 2: VR

Week 3: VR

Week 4: AI


Dates: Oct 30, Nov 6
Novel: TBD novel by Stephen Baxter (or lots of shorts)
Short stories: Short story by Elizabeth Bear, “Day Million” – Frederick Pohl, “Tangents” – Greg Bear, “Lobsters” – Charles Stross, “Time is a Helix of Semi-precious Stones” – Delany, “Babel-17” – Samuel Delany
Project: Project 3 due Nov 26


Dates: Nov 13, Nov 20 (Elizabeth Bear visiting on Nov 13)
Novel: “Riders of the Purple Wage” – Philip Jose Farmer (novella)
Short stories: “First Sally (A)” – Stanislaw Lem, “Singing Statues” – J. G. Ballard, “The Preserving Machine” – Philip K. Dick, “Unaccompanied Sonata” – Orson Scott Card, “The Geometry of Narrative” – Hilbert Schenck
Non-fiction readings: “Interrogative Design” – Krzysztof Wodiczko
Films: Art 21 episodes

Cyborgs, Transhumanism

Novel: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
Short stories: “The Electric Grandmother” – Ray Bradbury, “Flowers For Algernon” – Daniel Keyes, “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” – James Tiptree, “None So Blind” – Joe Haldeman, Charles Stross short story (“The Boys” or “Generation Gap”), Vernor Vinge?, “TAP” – Greg Egan
Non-fiction readings: Excerpt from Cyborg by Steve Mann, “A Cyborg Manifesto” – Donna Haraway,
Films: Blade Runner, Ghost In the Shell
Project: Project 2 due Oct 30

Week 6: Project Discussion

Week 7: Project Discussion

Week 8: Project Presentation