About This Course

This is the website for English 3750, “The Future of Fiction: Literature from Print to Touch Screen” (Spring 2015).

The course is taught by Professor Julia Panko at Weber State University.



How does our understanding of “literature” change when we read a novel designed to be read on a smartphone, or a print novel that invites us tear it into pieces and turn it into a work of art?

This course explores how contemporary writers are using media—including print books, computers, Web browsers, social media, comic books, and mobile media like smartphones and iPads—in innovative ways. We will read texts across a wide variety of platforms as we discuss how contemporary fiction forces us to reevaluate our ideas about such fundamental concepts as reading, authorship, books (and other literary platforms), and literature itself. “The Future of Fiction” also asks students to reflect on how media shape both literature and literary analysis. In addition to writing an analytical essay, students will write blog posts (and a reflection essay on the experience), produce a media-specific analysis of two works, and create a “deformance” of a work from this course, accompanied by a critical manifesto.

This course will also provide students with a unique opportunity: read the first volume of The Familiar—a new novel by Mark Z. Danielewski—before it is published. Students in “The Future of Fiction” will read advance copies of the novel and participate in an online discussion with students at six other universities in the US and the UK: UC Santa Barbara; UC Davis; University of Notre Dame; Clemson University; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and De Montfort University.


Required Texts:

  • Mark Z. Danielewski, The Familiar Vol. 1 (students will be provided with advance copies)
  • Gretchen Henderson, Galerie de Difformité
  • Eli Horowitz, Russell Quinn, Matthew Derby, and Kevin Moffett, The Silent History
  • Jason Shiga, Meanwhile
  • J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, S.
  • Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral, Chopsticks

(Explore the reading list.)

Additional readings will be made available to students via Canvas, as links on the Assignment Schedule & Readings page of this site, or via iPads (which students will borrow from Weber State University’s Teaching and Learning forum).