Science Fiction

2001: A Space Odessey (1968)

IC Library Print & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches

Science fiction television programs--History and criticism
   For individual films and television shows:

Databases: Journal, Magazine & News Articles

Selected Databases

MLA International Bibliography :
     MLAIB provides the most complete and fully indexed coverage of articles and books on modern literatures, linguistics, folklore, rhetoric, and composition from 1925 to the present. There is ample full text provided by ProQuest, as well as links to full-text articles in JSTOR and Project Muse. Full text from other IC databases is also readily available via the "GetIt" links below article citations.

     Because books, book chapters/essays, and dissertations will usually not be available full text, you may wish to limit your search to "Journal article" under "Source type."
     "Author's Work" and "Author as Subject" will be especially helpful search fields at finding literary criticism. And for additional search field options either click on "Show more fields," or, for the complete list, open the drop-down menus to the right of the "Anywhere" default for the top three rows of search slots. This list includes both "Literary Influence"--who influenced a particular author you have entered--and "Literary Source"--who was influenced by that particular author.
     You'll find a great deal of literary criticism and a fair amount of film and television criticism in this 100% full-text database of scholarly literature.  JSTOR offers only Keyword search of its full text, so put full names and Keyword phrases in quotation marks. And be sure to check the "Article" limit below the search slots to weed out book reviews.
     For music and video games you'll find very hit-or-miss results.     For particular video games and music you will need to include not only the artist's name and/or the title of the work but also clarifying terms such as ("video game" or "computer game") or (record or recording or cd).
     User Advisory: most JSTOR full text begins at least 2-3 years before the present--so don't look for articles on the "latest" book, movie, tv show, or video game.  On the other hand, JSTOR's archives extend back into the 19th century, so you can find book and film criticism from the first half of the twentieth century.

Project Muse ,
     Although a smaller database, Project Muse complements JSTOR.  LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse offers a basic keyword search (be sure to put the titles of literary works in quotation marks).  Once you've retrieved a set of articles you can sort them into broad categories using the Research Area options on the left.  

    Note: Checking the "Articles" box under Content Type before you run a search will eliminate reviews of books about your topic and leave you with just the articles on your topic.

ScienceDirect :
     Because it’s a large database with a great deal of full text, the absence of Subject searching means that your Keyword searches will often retrieve large sets of articles, many of which mention but don’t discuss your search term(s). One way around this is to limit your initial search to the “Abstract Title Keyword” field. Once you have found an article that sounds on-target, click the “Related Articles” link beneath the citation. This will open a range of articles on the same topic.  
     Note: Because this is Keyword searching, you will sometimes need to use truncation.  The truncation symbol here is the exclamation point: !  So, for example, "time travel!" will retrieve time travel, time traveling, and time travelers.
     Also note: The default date range is 10 years, but you can choose any date range you wish.
     Also also note: it's a good idea to uncheck the "All books" box below the search slots, if you are in fact looking for articles.

ProQuest Research Library :
     For articles on a work of fiction, try a Keyword search on the title--in quotation marks--alone or in combination with the author's name.  Criticism of particular movies and tv shows is best retrieved by entering the appropriate medium as a Subject search--“Motion pictures” or “Television programs”--and then adding the title of the film, program, or game in the “Citation and abstract” field (if the title is more than one word put it in quotation marks).  
     Even with the Subject "Television programs," the search on a single Keyword such as Lost or Fringe will be loose, and you'll have to sort the articles about the show from articles that simply use the word. 
     If you're not getting enough hits, try changing the search field of the title to “Document text.” In both cases, look at the articles in the “Scholarly Journals” tab for the most substantial criticism.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated slots. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the Person slot; if a named group of any kind--the Catholic Church, Microsoft, the New York Mets, the Democratic Party, the Rolling Stones--enter it in Co/Org; if a place enter it in Location.

General OneFile :
     The most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text.  Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better).  Subject headings include Science Fiction, Science Fiction Movies, Science Fiction Television Programs, Extraterrestial life, and Human-Alien Encounters.
     If there is a good subject heading for your topic here, open the "Subdivisions" link below it.  Most General OneFile subject searches produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Ethical aspects," "Forecasts and Trends," "History," "Media Coverage," "Political aspects," "Psychological aspects,"  "Social aspects," and "Statistics," to name only a few.
     Criticism of particular movies and  tv shows is best retrieved using the “Advanced Search” option. For movies and tv shows, enter the medium first as a Subject search in the first slot: “Movies,” “Television programs.”  In the next slot enter the particular title—in quotation marks—as a Keyword search. After looking at these results go back and change the Keyword search to an “Entire Document” search. This will increase your retrieval set, although the new articles may not discuss the particular film, show, or game at length.     
     User Advisory: When first viewing your retrievals in General OneFile, note that you are seeing onlythe "Magazines" (popular articles) and must click on the tabs for "Academic Journals" (scholarly articles) or "News" (newspaper articles) to see those results
Academic Search PremierCommunication Source , SocINDEX with Full Text :
     For novels and short stories, enter a Keyword search on the title--in quotation marks.
     For a film or tv program enter the title in the “Reviews & Products” field, followed by the appropriate medium designation: Blade Runner film, Battlestar Galactica tv program. BUT—if the title begins with “The” you must transpose it to the end: Matrix The film, Twilight Zone The tv program. To target the most scholarly articles, check the “Scholarly journals” box under “limit your results” on the right and click “Update results.”
     If you wish more generally to search a writer or director, search them in the “People” field.

Literary Reference Center
    The emphasis here is on articles from a wide range of reference resources, including 
Magill's Survey of American LiteratureCyclopedia of World LiteratureContinuum Encyclopedia of British LiteratureMasterplots, etc.  There is also access to the Critical Insights book series published by Salem Press, each volume dedicated to a single author or a single work. Both the reference works and the Critical Insights series provide very basic biography and interpretation, but these are supplemented by selected scholarly articles.
     The simplest approach may be to enter a single author or a particular work in the "Most Studied Authors" or "Most Studied Works" sections of the "Browse" box. An Author or Work record will offer you "Related Information" categories such as "Literary Criticism," "Reference Books," "Biography," and "Plot Summaries." 
     In addition to literary criticism and reference, there is a wide range of full-text literary works supplied (mostly) by Project Gutenberg.

Contact Us

picture of Lisabeth Chabot

Lisabeth Chabot

College Librarian
(607) 274-3182

Search Argos

Web Resources

Web Directories

    Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control.  

Web Search Engines

  Google Advanced Search: When doing research on the Web, always use the Adanced Search version of Google. This not only provides more flexibility in entering search terms, but more importantly it allows you to target the Web domains that are likely to provide the most authoritative information.
     Under "Need More Tools?" you will find the "Search within a site or domain" slot. You may enter only one domain at a time, but it's worth targeting each of the three domains likely to supply the best information: colleges and universities (enter the "edu" tag), nonprofit organizations (enter the "org" tag), and the United States government (enter the "gov" tag).

Selected Web Sites

  • Center for the Study of Science Fiction: Based at the university of Kansas, this is an excellent gateway to Web resources.  In particular, scroll down to "SF Teaching and Scholarly Resources."
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database from Texas A&M and Internet Speculative Fiction Database are both excellent tools to identify articles on a Title, Author, or Topic. You can then check for full-text access from the IC Library's databases. ( The best approach for tracking down newspaper, magazine and journal articles: run a Journal Title search by clicking on "Journals" above the search slot on the Library home page. This will tell you if we have full text access to the journal, where, and for what dates).
  • About SF: Check out the "Education Resources" section on the left, where you'll find some useful online courses about SF.
  • SF Hub: From the University of Liverpool, the two best sets of resources here can be found under "SF Scholarship" and "SF Research Directory." Under Scholarship note especially "Themes & Subjects, A-Z."
  • Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide: They claim 6,000 links--though some sections of this haven't been updated for 10 years.  Use those small red boxes to navigate--and note in particular "Timeline."

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.

Lost in Time