LMST 345

Literature of Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Fall 2017 3 Credit Hrs.

Monday 8:30-11:15 a.m.
Academic Center 208
Dr. David Steiling (dsteilin@c.ringling.edu)

What This Course is About

Mission of the Liberal Arts Program

Makers of images can be powerful communicators. The goal of the Liberal Arts Program is to educate future artists and designers to be responsible global citizens, citizens aware of their power to effect social change. To accomplish this, courses in Liberal Arts help students become familiar with multi-cultural world views, beliefs, customs, literature and art forms. We also strive to increase student awareness of the impact that humans have on the planet and its resources, as well as the long-term effect that habitat quality and bio-diversity have on the quality of our lives.

Literature and Media Studies at Ringling

Courses in literature and Media Studies at Ringling are specifically designed to encourage reading and thoughtful response to reading by Ringling students. Required texts will reflect a variety of cultural backgrounds, points of view, and media. Interaction between texts and audience unfold in events that the student is challenged to contextualize and mediate in an act we call "reading." Students are encouraged to relate aspects of the works they read with their own knowledge and experience. Students will share their observations through writing and discussion. These courses strive to help the sudent become more attuned to issues of ethical and social responsibility. Reading Literature and reflecting on the experience of reading is important to the development of moral imagination and the ability to bring to heart and mind the practical and emotional consequences of one’s actions, policies, or practices upon others.

Course Description

In this course, students will have an opportunity to read and discuss a diverse selection of works drawn from the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the gothic novel. This course takes a focused look at the nature of genre and these three specific genre. Concepts in the course will be reinforced through in-class readings, film excerpts and group discussion. Works to be discussed will come from a range of media including film, television, radio and comics.

Course Goals

To become more familiar with the process of reading and responding.
To become more practiced at relating the personal experience of a text.
To develop an understanding of how to apply reading to creative writing and the making of art and design.


Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to write a short account of an experience they have had with a text.
Students will be able to discuss how they relate or don't relate to a specific element of a text.
Students will be able to discuss the adaptation of text from one media to another.



The emphasis in this course is reading and writing about what you read. There are a number of ways to succeed in the course and students are invited to shape the course, as much as possible, to their abilities and interests. Mid-term grades will be based on an instructor review of student blog postings. Final grades will include a review of the blog project, the student's participation in class discussion, and criteria the student can bring to an end-of-semester individual review.

Attendance Policy

The Ringling institutional attendance policy is the poicy for this course.

Regular attendance in all classes is required. Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in class for the entire period scheduled. The responsibility for work missed due to any type of absence rests with the student. Tardiness, early departure or other time away from class in excess of 15 minutes per class session may be considered absence for that class session. Classes missed due to late registration are counted in the general absences permitted for the class. In most cases, more than two absences in a course that meets once per week, or more than four absences in a course that meets twice per week will result in a grade of F.

Documented exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to: death in the family, serious medical conditions, hospitalization, observance of religious holidays, reasonable disability accommodations and other special/unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. Numerous absences due to any reason including exceptional circumstances may warrant course withdrawal or failure. Exceptional circumstances are determined on a case-by-case basis in an interactive process with the student, faculty of record, Department Head or Program Director of the course or other Ringling College professionals, as needed. Known circumstances, such as religious holidays should be discussed with the faculty of record in advance of the absence. Absences that are deemed exceptional will not affect the final grade.

Three or more absences will result in a failing grade. Ringling College will make every effort to reasonably accommodate students’ disability-related academic needs. However, neither the college nor an individual faculty member is required to waive essential or fundamental academic requirements of a course regardless of the nature of a student’s disability.

Arriving more than 10 minutes late or leaving class early may result in being marked absent at the discretion of the instructor. Unexcused absences may affect the final grade—two unexcused absences may result in course failure for classes that meet once per week at the discretion of the instructor. Faculty are responsible for monitoring and enforcing program specific attendance policies and informing the Registrar when a student stops attending class consecutively for two or more weeks. Under no circumstances should a faculty member allow more than three weeks of unexcused and excused absences combined—three absences for classes that meet once per week. Students are allowed excused absences in certain circumstances: bereavement, illness, or observance of religious holidays. In cases of religious holidays, the student must notify the instructor in writing at the beginning of the semester when those days will occur. In cases of illness, students are encouraged to speak directly with their faculty, and faculty with questions about student self-reports should contact the Academic Advisors for verification of a student's need to miss class due to contagious illness, safety concerns, or other serious diagnoses interfering with a student's ability to perform academically for a limited period of time.

Attendance at a counseling/medical appointment is not by itself a justifiable reason for class absence. Students who have an unforeseen emergency such as family death, inpatient hospitalization, or other unexpected event that will prevent them from attending several class meetings should consult with an academic advisor to discuss the withdrawal and medical withdrawal criteria and process.

Students: Please check on your grades, attendance and performance periodically on Self Service https://selfservice.ringling.edu/SelfService/Home.aspx throughout the semester to avoid any misunderstanding at the end of the term.


Incompletes are granted only at the discretion of the instructor along policy guidelines set by the registrar. All students seeking an incomplete must apply using the official forms from the registrar. The registrar sets all deadlines for the completion of incomplete grades. As a rule, incompletes are granted for only the most extenuating of circumstances.

Weekly Assignments

Students are expected to select and read a text from the list of featured and recommended works listed on the schedule for each week. Students can expect to be asked in class to comment either verbally and/or in writing on the work they have read for each week. The assignment on the schedule for each week is to be read before the class meets. There is a recommended written assignment for each week based on the featured work. Students may choose whether to build their written response around the assignment or another reading that they choose, but a written response will be expected for each work read or viewed in the course.


Students are required to keep an updated blog with an entry for each work read for the course. Each blog entry should be ideally at least 250 words in length and is to be posted online in a blog on Blogger or similar network. In addition, each week each student is expected to post a comment on another student blog. Your blog needs to be linked to the class blog which can be accomplished by emailing the URL of your blog to the instructor. Postings on student blogs are considered an extension of in-class conversation and should follow the same practices of respect and decorum. All responses, because they are posted on the internet, are open to public scrutiny. Students should remember that anything they write and post can be read by anybody. The blogs will be reviewed by the instructor at the mid-term and before the final individual review. Students with Unsatisfactory performance at the mid-term are required to have a conference with the instructor to review their situation. The expected level of performance is to have read and responded to at least 12 substantial works including 7 novels (or long reads) during the semester. The final post of the semeser the student is asked to discuss what they have learned about the genre we have read this semester and anything they have come to understand about the nature of genre itself. This is the performance level for which one should expect to receive a "B" grade in the course.

Featured Film

Each week students are expected to read a novel, short novel, or group of short stories. Because the genre we are studying in this class is expressed as much through film and television as through written literature, students are expected to watch the featured movie suggested for that week or an alternative if the student has already seen the required film. A response to whatever film is watched for the week should be included in the weekly blog post.

Getting an A

The way to earn the best grade you can in the course is to exceed the requirements for each week and for as many weeks as possible, This means doing more reading and responding than is expected for a "B." There are 14 featured novels in the course, one sure way to get an A is to read all 14 featured novels and complete the written assignment for each week. To make their case for an A grade the student should point to the ways their performance exceeded the standard expectations.

Final Grade Evaluation

Weekly assignments will not be graded but a letter grade based on class participation and blog posts will be issued at the mid-term. Final grades are determined by an individual review with the instructor. During the review the student's blog project will be examined and commented on and the student will be asked to respond to three basic questions: (1) How many long reads has the student undertaken during the semester? How many long reads did the student finish? (2) How many responses has the student posted on their class blog? Their quality? How many movies has the student watched and responded to. (3) What does the student think is the appropriate grade to receive in the course on the scale of A through F including pluses and minuses. Students can make their case for an A during the final review by showing a track record of going beyond the B level requirements. The student is encouraged to bring their own criteria to the final evaluation conference to supplement the criteria outlined here.

Elements of the Grade

The written responses on your blog are the tangible evidence of reading undertaken for the course and will account for 70% of the final grade. The other 30% of the final grade will be based on the student’s participation in class discussion and activities, including in-class reading and writing.

Individual Course Plan

Any student who requests it can be given an individual plan appropriate to their needs and abilities that would enable them to satisfactorily complete the course. If a student requires an individual course plan, he or she should consult with the instructor as soon as possible.



General Policies

Disabilities Accommodations

The Ringling College of Art and Design makes reasonable accommodations for qualified people with documented disabilities. If you have a learning disability, a chronic illness, or a physical or psychiatric disability that may have some impact on your work for this class and for which you may need accommodations, please notify the Director of the Academic Resource Center (Room 227 Ulla Searing Student Center; 359-7627) preferably before the end of the drop/add period so that appropriate adjustments can be made. If you require adjustments to the room environment or to the reproduction of media in the classroom please inform the instructor. Every effort will be made to make the classroom as comfortable as posible for individual learning.

Health and Safety

Ringling College of Art and Design is committed to providing students, faculty, and staff with a safe and healthful learning and work environment and to comply with all applicable safety laws and regulations and safe work practices. Rules and safety guidelines for maintaining a safe working environment in this shop/studio/class will be provided to you at the beginning of the course (i.e. students must wear close-toed shoes, students must wear protective eyewear, students may not eat or drink in the studio, etc.).

Hurricane Evacuation

If during this semester there is an evacuation due to a hurricane or other emergency conditions that lasts for more than one week, this course will be taught during the evacuation period via distance learning so that students can complete the course and receive the appropriate academic credit. During such a period students are responsible for coursework according to a revised syllabus that will be issued at that time. The student is responsible for acquiring remote access to course blog and the virtual campus during the evacuation period.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is the process of openly acknowledging the sources of your ideas and creations in the building of your personal and public identity as a practitioner in the artistic community. Ringling College expects students to acknowledge their sources of ideas and images in a manner consistent with best professional practices in their field. Your instructor will inform you of appropriate ways to document and acknowledge sources for this course.

Professional Behavior in the Classroom

Students are expected to assist in maintaining a classroom environment which is conducive to learning. In order to assure that all students have the opportunity to gain from time spent in class, students are asked to refrain from using cellular phones or other personal communication devices while in the classroom. Students are requested to refrain from using their laptops to assess their email or social networking sites, websurf, do homework for other classes or other uses not related to the course while in the classroom. Making offensive remarks or engaging in any other behavior that is a distraction or inappropriate behavior may result in, at a minimum, a request to leave the class.