Start building your science fiction world in this free course, hosted by Ian Nettleton. All stories need good settings but science fiction has its own unique and particular needs, whether you're writing in the past, an alternative present or the far future. This course guides you through classic sci-fi settings and explores ways to craft your own.

By the end of the course you'll know:

  • How to use your setting to reflect and reveal your characters
  • How to use the mundane to your advantage
  • The difference between world building and exposition
  • What separates after the catastrophe from enclosed habitats
  • Why verisimilitude is key to any science fiction story
How long does it take?

As a self-paced course it's up to you how quickly you progress through the material. If you take a break from Netflix you could binge it in a week, or spread it out over a longer period.

How does it work?

Our courses can be accessed on your desktop Mac or PC , laptop, tablet or mobile. All you need is a web browser. You don't need to install any additional software.

When does it start?

Right now! This is a self-paced online course - you decide when you start and can go through it at any speed. You have unlimited access to the course so can return for a refresher at any time.

Introducing Ian Nettleton

Ian Nettleton is from the north of England but he has lived in Norwich for two decades. His novelette, Falling Star, was published in a science fiction anthology, Angles, in 2008 and his novel, The Last Migration, was runner-up in the inaugural Bath Novel Award 2014 and runner-up in the inaugural Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award 2014. He is represented by Sue Armstrong of the Conville and Walsh literary agency.

Ian has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia and teaches creative writing at the Open University (undergraduate and MA) and the University of East Anglia. He is currently editing a literary thriller set in Queensland, Australia, called Out of Nowhere.