A course in Modern literature includes readings on H.G. Wells, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley. There's a high chance of studying Ray Bradbury's classic works in another course. Selected titles by Ursula K. Le Guin might be highlighted in a study on female authors. Science fiction may not be for everyone, but it's a must.
Some science-fiction books are prophetic tales. Pierre Boulle's "Planet of the Apes" is a good example, which the author himself would admit it's impossible to adapt his book to the big screen at all. It's a chilling commentary on evolution, if not what might happen to human civilization in the distant future. The French author would describe role reversal, possibly a threat to the brightest minds. There wouldn't be anything of this kind in the big-screen adaptation of the book, but the movie didn't veer too far away. You're too lazy if you rely on the celluloid version, even if you're convinced that a post-apocalyptic setting would be better. It turns out that you're not the only one in the department (who is thinking along those lines.)
The best thing about writing a science fiction essay is the numerous options, which should keep your paper from becoming a dime a dozen. You must review the basic rules (on paper writing) one more time, but you must be able to see the differences. And then make the necessary changes.
How to Appeal to Your Readers?
Don't recall all the fantastic elements of the book. You attempt to pen an accurate description of the book, hoping to impress your readers along the way. It might backfire on you. It can confuse the readers especially if the tale includes magicians. Think about the other topics associated with science fiction. Space travel for instance. How about time travel? Don't forget the existence of parallel universes. Let's cite "Planet of the Apes" to illustrate this point; you might want to argue on the probability of a distant planet with Earth-like features. How can evolution be faster than ours?
Stick to generalizations while you create a make-believe. Your professor might be disappointed at this approach, which is the case with Modern literature. Don't try too hard if you can't explain it well. You can compare parallel universes through historical references. For instance, an essay on "Nineteen Eighty Four" can turn into a thought-provoking discourse by analyzing the history of Western Europe. You don't need to devote a page or two. (If you can manage a few paragraphs, then it will be better.) You don't want to be redundant unless you discover something that hasn't been seen (or discussed) by other students.
Simple language will pique the readers' interest. You're not writing a novella, even if there's a semblance to a science fiction essay. (There's an introduction, a persuasive, if not fascinating, discussion to support your thesis, and an unforgettable conclusion.) Paper writing will be less difficult in this manner, not to mention that you'll less likely to get lost while composing the draft.
Name one character that you like most. One character can define a book, and this is the case in some novels. Stephen King would incorporate multiple genres in his Dark Tower series, science fiction included, and the Gunslinger's quest for the dark tower could lead to metaphysical discussions. You will rely on metaphor, but don't overdo it. You can overlook the obvious features, which doesn't need to be mentioned here.
The rules of good writing also apply here. You might stumble here, as you don't intend to modify some words (or phrases), which could be taken from the book (and nothing else). There's nothing wrong with asking your tutor about it, as long as there's no conflict of interest. You can be cheeky enough (to bring the matter to an older student). You can be your very stubborn if you know what you really want (and how to go there).
Helpful Tips to Finish Your Essay on Time
You need some tactics to beat the deadline, as a science fiction essay is quite different from your other assignments (or genres for that matter). Do it in small steps, where you can finish each step in a few hours or less. You can't procrastinate it, as you might be missing on several terms that can make your assignment more interesting than your coursemate's.
One of the frequent questions in this kind of essay if the verb tense usage. You're tempted to use the past tense, similar to what other novelists would do. On the other hand, you fancy the present tense because it won't lose the interest of the readers. You might be the only one who doesn't have a short story phase. Don't be hesitant about it.
You're not allowed to describe some magical characters, even argue with the probable outcome of chaos gripping Europe during that time. This is an exercise on literary criticism, so it's expected to draw your knowledge from other fields.