Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Jennifer A. Sinor


Jennifer A. Sinor


Michael Sowder


Scott C. Bates


This master’s degree thesis exists in two parts: a critical introduction and an original novella entitled Side Effects. The critical introduction introduces and explains the theories on, literature surrounding, and literary uses of dystopian fiction, the novella format, and drug-based psychotherapy. Current opinion on dystopian fiction sees it characterized by a seemingly perfect societal setting that ultimately contains hidden or suppressed moral flaws. The ultimate purpose of dystopian fiction is commentary on contemporary society through a defamiliarized setting. The novella format is shown to exist in a middle-ground state between the short story and the novel, yet the format manages to maintain positive literary elements of both. Finally, a discussion on drug-based psychotherapy illustrates the use of chemical compounds to treat or cure psychological conditions, a topic of much debate amongst current psychology practitioners. The section on drug-based psychotherapy focuses largely on memoirs for purposes of first-hand experience and character creation for the original novella.

The novella, entitled Side Effects, follows the character Edward, a middle-aged man who creates and tests serums that suppress by mandate the emotions that his society deems toxic to the human condition. Edward remains ignorant of any life outside the symmetry and order of the Company, the corporation responsible for the maintenance of the society. That is, until a chance encounter with a young woman named Gabrielle causes Edward to explore a world outside the confines of his carefully crafted city and lifestyle. She introduces him to a community of people who reject the mandates of the Company and exist as the extreme opposition to its ideals. As Edward spends more time with this group, known as Splicers, he must confront his long-held standards and finally choose for himself what life he will live.




This work made publicly available electronically on December 31, 2014.