ENG 2420: Science Fiction

City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: City Tech Science Fiction Symposium

Thoughts about The Symposium

After taking a visit to the Symposium, there were some interesting information like I have never heard of before. I arrived to the Symposium at 2:50pm just before the Student Roundtable started. As Jill Belli began the roundtable, she had been asking some of the students some questions on what their opinion is about Science Fiction. The students had answered Belli’s questions very thoroughly even I was impress of their thoughts about Science Fiction. Their answers were remarkable that it makes me glad that I was in a Science Fiction course. I do like how the students put up their questions whenever they answered Belli’s questions and then explained on why they thought about it.

My favorite answer from one of the students was when one asked “How far can they keep up with the upgrade of technology?” In my opinion, I say that is a good question because I do remember the time when I saw the news about the new cell phone Samsung Galaxy Note 7 being burst into flames. Plus the company did say that the reason why the phone exploded was because of overheating the battery cells. This means that technology has to have an upgrade limit so that the company don’t have to end like the cell phone did. That is why I thought that it was an interesting question from the student.

Overall, I thought that the Symposium was a brand new experience of learning the knowledge of Science Fiction. It was really a good idea to stop by there and here what students thought about Science Fiction. Now that is what I really call a “Brave New World.”

The Round Table

I was at the Science Fiction Symposium from 1 30 to the end of the roundtable segment in which I took part of. Overall it was a very interesting experience for which I was saw many different aspects of science fiction, both from those who write and tech it and follow students who are learning with me. Many of the things said at the round table were things that I agreed with but would not have perused as far as they did, such as the idea of terraforming and if it is wrong to do so on other worlds. Or the idea of marketability of an IP, based on if it has too little lore and look like a money grab vs if it has much lore and is done to add to the existing lore like Warhammer 40k vs that star wars prequels. Side note I do not really see anything wrong with the prequels, they started what we saw ended in eps 4-6 of the film and it was done in a way that made sense, Also really loved the ships in those, they were new, slick, chrome and were nice to see. At the round table many people shared what they loved about the genre and how they came to it. Shows and films like Star Wars and Star Trek were brought up as well as what they are watching or reading now like dark mirror, west-world and others. So now I have new shows to look at and think about. We also talked about our research projects and everyone was able to express their ideas that they were following. Everyone was great on the roundtable, however I would go off track or on for too long with something like the 3d printers and how they are starting to look like the star trek replicators. Also we kept going to the machine stops as point of reference to the point that is was getting old, but it had great points to it that everyone could use to tie in with and shows how good of a short story it is. It was also interesting to see how people’s majors helped to shape how they see the genre and what thy look at within it. Overall it was a nice look at what others see and think about when asked the same question about Science Fiction and all the response that were different from each other and yet could be tied together by the same string. Also I really enjoyed to be a part of the event and would most likely do it again.
The panel that was before was also very informative upon subjects of interest such as happiness and how historians could use Science Fiction to better understand ideas of the people involved in the past, why they did not see something as import to record or why certain events are obscure. The idea of happiness is also very interesting because it seems simple however to actually make people and organizations go after these ideas is difficult. Even the military has tried to make a happy psychology course in their training but it is seen as too spiritual because it borders on what many religions tried to do. And people said that those who do not believe in religions would not be able to pass, while the military has said it is not in the way and is meant to bring people together. Everything is more connected then people think and Science Fiction can be applied everywhere.

Science Fiction Symposium

My collective thoughts from what I was able to listen on today, was that there are different opinions on Science Fiction, yet they all agree on that it is a way of shaping our future. I came in around 2:10 and stayed till 4, so I was able to listen in half way through one panel, and the entirety of the class discussion panel.

One of the speakers talked about how science fiction shapes our future, which we can all agree on that it does. Different forms of contingency that can’t be proven without science fiction. It was mentioned, a lot of our history can be connected to our emotions; some people can’t formally trust our history because it can be subjected to the emotions of the person who is telling it. And that we can’t make stories and films based on our religions and current state of society, because people can view it the person’s own emotions, rather than it being an objective view point of history. Therefore, he mentions we can use science fiction as a breeding ground to test and show how a society will work out, and have speculations upon them without people viewing it as extremely subjective. Because it uses different religions and events that aren’t as sensitive as the events that have already happened in our history.

He gives an example of the holocaust, of it being a sensitive matter to certain people; but if we can write a story with a made up event that is similar to the holocaust with different people, it will work. Also, he mentioned a line that has a relatively deep connection with philosophy, and I paraphrase: you can’t not put emotions into it, because when you try not to, you are already putting emotions into it.

He also mentioned a Happy foundation, couldn’t fully capture the name, suing the Military for teaching “military psychology”. Stating that happiness cannot be secular.


For the second panel, with the class discussion, I was opened up to different students ideas on science fiction and what they were interested in.

I may not get everyone’s names but, one of the students mentioned about “Big Dumb Objects”, or BDO for short, which are big objects that exist in science fiction that serve a purpose. Large objects that may have been created by another intelligent species, but they exist in the world for some purpose.

Rino talked about the Marketability factor of science fiction being integrated into our society; such as the transformers, which started out as toys; and Dr. Who, whos popularity grew outside of Britain.

Cody talked about terraforming. He brought up questions about how ethical it is, and why science fiction always depicts human beings as people who abandon a dying Earth to take over another planet. He asked, why can’t people on Earth collectively come together to fix Earth, rather than terraforming another planet.

Alex talked about how science fiction takes small issues in our society, and enlarges it to make it more apparent to people that those issues do exist, and that we haven’t realized it yet.

Andrew talked about how we use science fiction as a test and lesson to learn from so that we don’t make those mistakes in the future.

The person sitting all the way to the right brought up the idea that there are always two sides to a story, even in science fiction. There are two view points in science fiction, and we should view both sides before making judgments to why it happens the way it happens.

Today is the City Tech Science Fiction Symposium!

Poster designed by Marlon Palmer

Poster designed by Marlon Palmer

Hi everyone:

Don’t forget that today, from 9am-5pm, is City Tech’s Science Fiction Symposium! Stop by for any or all of it, and get extra credit for attending/blogging about your reflections of it & what you learned there (see Schedule for details about the extra credit).

The Symposium presentation schedule and other information is here. A number of students in our class (Joselin, Rino, Alex, Shiasja, Moises, Cody) are presenting on the student roundtable at 3pm, so come cheer them on 🙂

Symposium on Amazing Stories: Inspiration, Learning, and Adventure in Science Fiction, Tues. Nov. 29, 9am-5pm, Namm 119, Schedule