Creative Assignment

Hannah Roberts ’19 Develops First Section of Science Fiction Novel

Creative Assignment

A Gardner-Webb University senior English major spent part of her summer studying the themes of colonialism, environmentalism and ethnocentrism in science fiction. From what she learned, Hannah Roberts wrote the first arc of her own science fiction novel. “An arc is an episodic section of a certain theme, plot or character experience,” Roberts explained. “Science fiction is a wonderful genre for including diversity and exploring controversial topics. I had never written sci-fi, so I wanted to try something new.”

She was one of 13 GWU students who conducted research during the 2018 summer terms with a grant from the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. She worked 40 hours a week for five weeks on her project and is required to present it in a professional forum. The faculty mentor who worked with her was Dr. Chris Davis, professor of English.

A native of Summerfield, N.C., Roberts said the experience will help her as she seeks a job on a writing team for either a story-based podcast or video game. “This was the best and most important thing I have ever done at Gardner-Webb,” Roberts shared. “It isn't easy, and you have to be willing to work hard, but it is so, so worth it. It was super helpful to be able to work on a project that I will be able to use to showcase my abilities, creativity, and commitment.”

The main idea in the story arc she completed was exploration. “A crew from an interplanetary cargo ship make an emergency landing on a nearby planet, which is home to a sentient alien species, and the humans have to figure out how to coexist, communicate, and work with these creatures in order to get off the planet,” Roberts described.