ENG 2420: Science Fiction

City Tech, Fall 2016

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.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Danny for this reflection! I’m glad you attended/enjoyed the Symposium.

    I was actually the one who talked about the positive psychology (happiness) curriculum in the U.S. Army. The program was (at the time) called Comprehensive Solider Fitness, and it was questioned by a number of people/groups, including the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

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