Writing Gothic and Speculative Fiction - 2017

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes, Coarse Language, Sex / Sexual References and Violence and may not be suitable for some students.
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Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP3
  • Availability for 2018: SP2 , SP3
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Fiction piece (35%) , Assignment 2 - Fiction piece (35%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

From its beginnings the gothic novel and its cousins, speculative and fantasy fiction, have been popular and sometimes controversial story forms that explore the outer edges of the imagination through fantasy, space, myth, the future the supernatural and the borderlands of desire. This is a realm where nothing is as it appears to be. Safe suburban homes, families, planets, cities and the human body are all vulnerable to authoritarian powers, strange beings, dark spaces, unknown territories, uncanny secrets, and the return of the repressed.

This unit offers you a chance to study and practise writing genre narrative. We will look at a selection of popular gothic and speculative fiction, past and present, as a springboard for discussion and creative practice.

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. recognise and understand the genres of Gothic and Speculative Fiction
  2. familiarise yourself with the foundational ideas relevant to these forms of narrative
  3. engage with fiction from the perspective of a writer through skills of close and observant reading
  4. analyse and discuss ideas relevant to creative writing in your own work and that of others
  5. exercise the creative and professional skills of writing, reading, argumentation and analysis through online discussion with your peers based on set readings.
  • Assignment 1 — Fiction piece (35%)
  • Assignment 2 — Fiction piece (35%)
  • Online Discussion (30%)

Mandatory prerequisites

You must have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit:

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introducing Gothic and Speculative Fiction
2Meeting the Audience: The Power of Terror
3Dark Plots: story-telling in the Gothic tradition
4Gothic Themes and Archetypes
5Writing from the Senses: ways to grab readers
6Gothic Ambiguity
7Haunted by the Past
8Realms of the Imagination
9Dystopia and Speculative Fiction
10The Body in Speculative Fiction
11Visions of the Future
12Negotiating Gothic and Speculative Authorship

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Pump Six and Other Stories

    By:Bacigalupi, Paolo

    ISBN: 9781597802024


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Dead Until Dark

    By:Harris, Charlaine

    ISBN: 9780575117020


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Carmilla: A Critical Edition ( Irish Studies )

    By:Le Fanu, Joseph

    ISBN: 9780815633112


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Handmaid's Tale (Vintage Classic)

    By:Margaret Atwood

    ISBN: 9780099511663


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Wide Sargasso Sea


    ISBN: 9780141182858


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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