London and the Fantastic

Tony Keen

Come and find out about London’s place in fantastic literature.

Throughout the 2,000 years of its history, London has been a place of myths and legends, from Boadicea being buried under the platforms of King’s Cross station to Harry Potter using those same platforms to reach Hogwarts. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that writers of science fiction and fantasy have turned to the city as a setting and character in their works, from Victorian Gothic novels to the latest episodes of Doctor Who.

This course introduces students to a number of works of the fantastic that are set entirely or primarily in London – three science fiction novels (H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, and Stephanie Saulter’s Gemsigns), two urban fantasy novels (Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London), a children’s fantasy novel (Edith Nesbit’s The Phoenix and the Carpet), one graphic novel (Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act), a comedy-horror movie (Shaun of the Dead), and a science fiction television serial (Doctor Who: The Web of Fear).

Classes will discuss how these texts engage with the city, and what it is in London that attracts the interest of writers.


Classes take place between 7 and 9 on Wednesday evenings.

 25 August 2021   Introduction: A survey of London in fantastic literature

1 September 2021   H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds (1897)

 8 September 2021    E. Nesbit, The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904)

 15 September 2021   John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (1951)

22 September 2021   Doctor Who: The Web of Fear (1968)

 29 September 2021   Break week: no class

 6 October 2021    Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere (1996)

 13 October 2021   Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Wednesday 20 October 2021  Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of London (2011)

Wednesday 27 October 2021   Stephanie Saulter, Gemsigns (2013)

Wednesday 3 November 202       Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, The Wicked and the Divine: The Faust Act (2014)


Wednesdays:  7- 9 pm BST/GMT  starting 25 August 2021

10 weeks with a break on September 29th

Virtual Learning Environment: Zoom

Single lecture:

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£8 * 1 50

You can book individual lectures via Eventbrite

Bookings for all lectures

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£75 * 1 50

To book, complete the MANCENT booking form and send it with payment to the address below. Alternatively, you can book the entire course  via this Eventbrite link

Tony Keen, c/o/MANCENT administrator
55 Broadwalk, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5PL

Adult Education in Manchester and Cheshire