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What can aliens mean in SF texts? 


Learning episode 2:  


Purpose and use of this learning episode: three 'alien' short stories and the 'Alien Overview' Podcast, Part I


On the myclasses portal where this learning episode was found there were links to the three short stories, found on the web in text format, as well as a link to the first of the podcasts for this 'enemy within' theme area. The actual short stories noted here are removed from this version but citations are included for these very well-known texts, in the Readings and links section of this page. The following text with links were offered to the students, excluding the short stories and some images from broadcast films, due to copyright reasons.


Image of the alien for learning episode 2Index

Forum topics for discussion

Short stories, starting with 'The Father Thing' by Philip K Dick

Podcast I on the 'Enemy Within'

Resource List

Readings and Links


The points at the start of these notes are to be discussed in the Forum area. You are asked to jump to the Forum area, using the link here and making a comment in the appropriate Forum thread. Please remember, your participation in discussions is expected in this study, as part of your overall participation.


Forum topics for discussion:


Short stories available in the 'Enemy Within' theme portal:


We start the mySF unit of work with three SF short stories, from Philip K Dick, Damon Knight, and Octavia Butler.


Firstly, please read the Dick story, 'The Father Thing' in preparation for learning episode three. There is a link, below, about ways of reading and discussing this innovative and famous short story, as well. You are advised to follow this link and browse through those notes on this first short story.


There will be links in other the readings for other weeks to follow, also. Please try to find time to follow these links and read the comments on the story.


In later weeks we will also read and discuss the Knight and Butler stories. In learning episode four the entire novel of HG Wells' The War of the Worlds is made available through a link on the site and in learning episode eight the final short story is brought in, 'The Ticket Whisperer'.


Our first film for discussion (and for your Journal entry) will be Kayufman's 1988 version of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Please click on the links below to access these stories, or you can also download them from the Files Box area back on the myclasses page.


Podcast I:


A podcast discussing some views of aliens in SF can also be downloaded from the property in myclasses and below. Students are advised to do download this file and listen to it. This is part of your background 'reading' for the mySF unit.


Be warned! The podcast is about 5M in size so it may take some time to download and play. The podcast will launch Windows Media Player on a recent Windows computer and start to play the sound file after it has buffered for a while. Of course, you can also download the file to your iPod or other mp3 player and listen to it at home, at school, on the bus, everywhere!



Resource List:


Butler, O.  (1984). ‘Bloodchild’. Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. June, 1984.

Dick, P. (1987). 'The Father Thing' from The Father Thing. Collected stories of Phillip K. Dick. Volume 3. Underwood/Miller: Chicago.

Kayufman, P. (Director)  (1988). Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Written by Richter, R. DVD Version. Metro Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. 2004.

Knight, D.  (1956). ‘Stranger Station’. Pages 163-189. Collected in Bug-Eyed Monsters. Edited by Cheetham, A. St Albans, Herts.:Panther Science Fiction. 1972 edition.

Wells, H.G.  (1898). War of the Worlds. Retrieved 22 May, 2006 from,+H.+G.+(Herbert+George),+1866-1946+:+The+War+of+the+Worlds+1898&query=wells&id=WelWorl



Readings and links:



Electronic text of 'The Father Thing' by Phillip K Dick


Electronic text of Damon Knight's 'Stranger Station'


Electronic text of Octavia Butler's 'Bloodchild'


Podcast 1 of overview of Aliens in SF, 5M mp3 file for download and playing


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