Wrapping Up The Semester

Tomorrow is our final class! A few things to keep in mind as we wrap up this semester:

Final Project Presentations (Part II) & End-of-the-Semester Party (yay!)
Tomorrow during class we’ll have presentations from those who did not go on 5/14. Looking forward to hearing your research projects :) The list of presenters (in no particular order) is:

  • Chris
  • Andrew
  • Eugene
  • Randy
  • Joel
  • Surge
  • Karl

We will also be celebrating the end of the semester, so I encourage you to bring in snacks to share with the class and we can enjoy refreshments during the presentations (I will bring in some goodies as well). If you plan to bring in snacks, please leave a “reply” to this post letting us know what you will bring, so we have a good mix of refreshment (things like cups, paper plates, and napkins are also important items to bring).

Course Reflections
Your Individual Final Course Reflection is due in class on Th 5/21 (this is a mandatory–not optional–assignment). Please visit the Final Course Reflection page on our site for more details on this assignment.

Project #2 Grades / Final Course Grades

The deadline for professors to submit final course grades for the Spring 2015 semester is Tu 5/26 at midnight. Please wait to view your course grade online through CUNYfirst (I will not be giving out final course grades via e-mail).

Final grades are non-negotiable, though I am always more than happy to discuss them/your work with you at any point in person. If you would like to discuss any of your grades/receive additional feedback on Project #2 (project grades will be posted as a “private” comment to your Project #2 posts), you should e-mail me to (we can always also schedule an appointment to discuss your work in-person when we return to campus in August when the new academic year starts up).

Thank you, & stay in touch!
Finally, it was a pleasure to work with you all this semester. I wish you the best of luck wrapping up the semester and on your final exams, and in your future endeavors at City Tech and beyond. You all worked incredibly hard this semester, and I really appreciate your consistent effort and good cheer each week (especially for a 2 1/2 hour class in a hot noisy classroom on the 10th floor!). I hope you enjoyed yourselves and learned a lot about science fiction and critical thinking / reading / writing / reflection. Have a wonderful summer break, & don’t hesitate to be in touch /stop by my office in future semesters to discuss your work in this course/beyond (or chat science fiction in general!), and/or to just say hi  :)

Can Steampunk be brought into the forefront of the science fiction genre?


Not many people actually understand what Steampunk is. But there is a die hard community behind it. Varying from hardware enthusiast to even cosplayers. Modern media seems to think otherwise. One huge flop would be the movie Wild Wild West features will smith. Many people within the community blame this movie for staling its walk into the limelight. I’m here to explain to you what Steampunk really is and why is it such a interesting sub-genre.

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The Lonely Robot

For this project I looked into the reasons for humans being able to obtain emotions from robots, beings that are supposed to be emotionless. I focused primarily on the emotion of loneliness and why such an emotion is able to pass the boundaries of entertainment and inhuman creatures. This was done by researching Anthropomorphism and what reasons bring people to performing the action of seeing a robot as a living being. By coincidence loneliness was an associated emotion with an Anthropomorphism. The more lonely a person is the more likely they were to see human traits in humans.

The works of Wall-E and There Will Come Soft Rain were to be analyzed for their portrayal of machines that exist without human interaction, but manage to portray emotional feelings to the viewer.

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PowerPoint Presentation



Real or Not Real: Does Scientific Accuracy Matter in Fiction?

Science fiction movies nowadays are constantly in production, and stories are being told all the time. Some of these stories present a series of facts, whether verbally, visually, stylistically or as part of the narrative. Most of the time the public can discern between what was made up by the creators and what represents reality, but on occasions a film incorporates scientific concepts in such a convincing manner that the audience does not bother questioning if what they just learned is real or not real.

With the imminent release of the science fiction action-adventure film Jurassic World, a sequel to the highly successful 1993 film Jurassic Park, it is worth asking the question of why it is important for creators in fiction, whether they are authors, screenwriters or filmmakers, to present current scientific thinking within the context of their work. The cultural impact of the original film will be explored, as will the decision to not incorporate the latest scientific knowledge regarding dinosaurs in the sequel, and the possible consequences this can have to the public in general. The so called “Science Fiction Scale of Hardness” will also be briefly touched upon, highlighting its usefulness when trying to determine how and why it is important that a work of science fiction reflect the most up to date current scientific knowledge.

As a starting point for discussion, there will be an excerpt from the following video, which demonstrates a common misconception often portrayed in movies. The narrator is a little annoying, but the video can be stopped at 2:22, after the main point has been made clear.

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The Rise of Aquatopians

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We live in a world full of issues. There are many ways of getting your source of news. If it’s not the Media, then other sources like the newspaper or online articles. Reading the news can be a simple task but do you understand the message of what’s really going on. It can take a source of entertainment for you to grasp the meaning of what is recalling going on with our world. For the creative project a short story was created giving off a setting of New York in the future.

Elements like comedy, tragedy and informing are included. The short story can also be looked at as a sign of persuasion to better the environment. Environmental science fiction can be described a news outlet with an imaginary twist. It can be described as a news outlet as it serves as a reminder of what’s going on in a particular environment. As for this short story, New York City is the environment focused on.

Environmental issues like Water pollution, Population, Cost of living, and class. Cost of living and Class can be looked at as an economic issue but it can be seen as environmental if majority of society faces these issues. The environment of New York City can be viewed as a place of greed. Cost of living is on a steady increase creating more obstacles for the working class. The working classes are simply trying to elevate their class status but it becomes a challenge to manage a budget. Environmental Science fiction opens up a bunch of predictions having thoughts of different outcomes. In a way it can be called a mystery.

Have you ever asked your self, well if the upper class has a good income what is causing the delay on having these issues fixed? By having these issues fix does it create less profit for their partners in the same bracket? Can it just be the fact that the well amount of income is causing them to loose site of change that is needed? Change starts with the power of one. If you believe and have faith in your process to accomplish this change, it can happen.

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Big Dumb Objects Declassified


I have always been interested in the impossibly large and unknown in science fiction and up until recently I haven’t been able to explain why such things appeal to me. The result of my findings has led me to the concept of the BDO and macroconstruct themes in science fiction. BDOs or “Big Dumb Objects” embody the alien, immense, enigmatic constructs we are all familiar with in Science Fiction. Constructs such as Arthur C. Clarks’ Rama to the Halo Array of the Halo franchise, give consumers a feeling of awe that continues to perpetuate through the years. The question is why? What makes these objects of immense size and unknown origin appeal to the masses? Are there deeper layers of the human condition being commented on by the use of these BDOs in literature? These are some of the questions I attempt to answer in my report on the Big Dumb Objects of science fiction.

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Sound of Cyborg Organs


We come across robots, androids, and cyborgs in the realm of Science Fiction. But not much is said on their organs. These cyborgs replicate humans as it is a hybrid of both the mechanical and organic. So their organs must have a similar sound to a regular human organ. In this paper I explore the elements or certain cyborg organs and what they would sound like in real life. The idea is not far beyond reality as there prosthesis organs that have a particular sound to them that makes them different from regular human organs. Using medical journals and articles and information from Science Fiction sources I make an analysis to create a sound design for what Cyborg Organs sound like.

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Jonathan Stampfl, Project 2, Final Draft


My project looks at the importance and affects of lighting in Science Fiction films. I wanted to look at certain lighting techniques that are commonly used in science fiction films and how does that affect the tone or theme of the story. I used the original Star Wars trilogy as my example to look at. I was going to do more films, but there was a lot of information on the lighting in Star Wars so I decided to just stick with that. I also looked at how the tones that were created by the lighting brought the themes and the story together. In my research I looked at certain blogs that talked about film techniques and I also looked at articles with the director of photography of the films on how they decided to light certain scenes. My main purpose for this project was to get across to people how important lighting is to a film and that it is not just there to illuminate, but it is there to give a scene or story meaning my bring emotions to the screen.

In my research I learned that a main lighting technique in science fiction films is the use of blue lighting. Blue lighting adds a science fiction feeling to the film and it also adds a dramatic tone to the film as well as making the scenes more serious. I also learned that the most common technique used is three point lighting, I figured this because this technique is used in almost and if not all films. This is a great technique for a science fiction film because it allows the production crew to manipulate the shadows to have more dramatic tones and to have a more creative looking scene. I learned that there are a lot of scenes in Star Wars were lighting is used to show the theme of Hero vs Villain or Good vs Evil. This is one way were lighting helps the audience realize who is the protagonist or the antagonist and how they should feel when they are on the screen. Lighting affects so many things that people don’t realize how crucial it is to a movie, I hope my project helps people open there eyes to see how I see lighting in film through my eyes.

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Steampunk Vs. Cyberpunk

This piece focuses on the visual distinction of the two Sub-genres of science fiction; Cyberpunk and Steampunk. This piece is picture based and also involves the books I will be bringing in for presentation to add more to the overall idea. The Artwork i’m submitting  was suppose to be 3 part but due to a lack of time I only completed 1 and have a sketch out for another. The PowerPoint presentation will be interactive to test the readers knowledge of the differences..

This essay will majorly explore some key differences in style and cultures in today’s society that use these styles. It will also connect information to images provided in the essay.

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