ENG 2420: Science Fiction

Professor Belli — Spring 2017 — City Tech

ENG 2420: Science Fiction

Next Steps for Final Research Project

Hi everyone:

Good discussions today about research, drafting proposals, and the final project. You can use your freewriting from class today as a starting off point, but please make sure to read carefully through the entire Final Research Project assignment (clicking on all links: Proposal and Research, Presentation, Cover Letter and Abstract) and get started on as much exploratory research as possible to help you define/refine your topics/proposals as much as possible. Remember, this is all that we’re working on for the remainder of the semester, so just dive right in (the more work you put in early, the better your payoff will be later on)!

We’ll be having a series of additional writing workshops in class, along with peer review and one-on-one conferencing with me, but it’s never too early to get feedback/ask questions. If you have any general questions about the project/assignment, leave a “comment” here to ask them. If you want to discuss your individual proposal & ideas, then email me privately. Remember, the more information you give me about what you want to research/why/its focus, the more helpful feedback & direction I will be able to provide.

Also, if you were absent today, please also make sure, ASAP, to sign up for a time slot for your individual conference next Tuesday (5/16). The schedule is up here, and you can sign up for any one of the remaining slots by replying to this post.

Happy researching 🙂

Professor Belli

Research Project Individual Conferences with Professor Belli

Research Project Individual Conferences with Professor Belli

  • These conferences are a time for you and me to get together one-to-one to discuss your ideas/progress on the Final Project (research, presentations) and to address any questions you may have.
  • Please bring all relevant materials with you (proposals, sources), and come prepared to discuss specifics (questions you have, etc.).
  • Please only sign up for a spot that you are 100% sure you can make (and make note of the time/date you are coming).
  • All meetings are in my office, Namm 520.
  • Each slot is 10 minutes long. Arrive a few minutes early (and be prepared to stay a few minutes late, in case we are running behind).
  • If you miss a conference or come unprepared, it will be counted as an absence and you forfeit your right to schedule future conferences with me.

Tuesday, May 16th

  • 2:20-2:30pm: Jorge
  • 2:30-2:40pm: Jesse
  • 2:40-2:50pm: Kelz
  • 2:50-3:00pm:
  • 3:00-3:10pm: Aneita
  • 3:10-3:20pm:
  • 3:20-3:30pm: Hunter
  • 3:30-3:40pm: Jaraad
  • 3:40-3:50pm: Pedro
  • 5:20-5:30pm: Alyssa
  • 5:30-5:40pm: Jennifer
  • 5:40-5:50pm: Jared
  • 5:50-6:00pm: Jay
  • 6:00:-6:10pm: Carmen
  • 6:10-6:20pm: Ryan

Two Extra Credit Opportunities: ‘1984’ Movies

I am offering two extra credit blogs based on two different movie versions of 1984 (please categorize appropriately). For each blog, you should provide a response based on a comparative analysis of the novel and the particular film (this response can also include your thoughts on/opinions of/reactions to the film).  You may choose to write just one blog or both (or neither), but all blogs are due Tu 4/18 and should be a minimum of 500 words.

Here are links to the two versions of the movie:

As you watch the film(s) and draft your response(s), you should definitely take stock of similarities and differences between the novel and the film, but this is only a first (pre-draft) step. Don’t forget to take notes during the films, so you can include concrete details from the events in your blogs.

Your response blog should not only note key similarities and/or differences but also (and this is the crucial part!) discuss the significance of these similarities and/or differences.  Putting two texts in dialogue with each other allows you to create a more nuanced argument about them. Remember, your goal is not to simply list your observations (for example: these are the things than are different in the film) but to critically analyze these differences (how do omitted/added/revised characters, plot details, conflicts, etc. change our understanding of the text?).

Extra credit blogs will replace missing blogs (or count as additional credit if you’ve done all of them already). There are only two grades for these extra credit blogs (100 and 0). If you watch the films & blog your responses/reflections completely (in terms of length and content) and thoughtfully, you will receive 100% (an “A”) for the assignment. If you do not turn in the assignment (or if it is too short/not fulfilling the purposes of the assignment), you will receive a “0.”

Extra Credit Opportunity: Literary Arts Festival

Thursday, April 27th at 5:30pm is City Tech’s Literary Arts Festival City Tech’s Literary Roundtable featuring readings and performances by students and faculty and featured poet and essayist Rowan Ricardo Phillips. The event is on campus (Voorhees Theater, 186 Jay Street), free, & no tickets are required (seating is first come, first served). Visit the link above for full details.

This is a totally optional event, but I encourage you to attend if you can and to share what you’ve learned with the class. If you attend & blog in response by Su 4/30, you will get extra credit (yay!). This extra credit will replace a missing blog if you missed some blogs, or it will count as extra credit if already you did all of your blogs (bonus points). Please note that there are only two grades for this extra credit blog: 100 and 0. If you attend the event and blog your responses/reflections thoughtfully and comprehensively, you will receive 100% (otherwise,  you will receive no credit).

Don’t forget to take notes at the event, so you can include concrete details in your blog. Please categorize your blog as “Literary Arts Festival.”

Class Today, Th 4/6, in Library: Visit to the City Tech Science Fiction Archive

Hi everyone!

Just a friendly reminder that today, as a class, we are visiting the City Tech Science Fiction Archive. Therefore, we won’t be meeting in our normal classroom (N806); instead, we will meet outside the library, 4th floor of the Atrium. Aim to get there a few minutes early, but please make sure that you are there no later than 4pm, so that we can head into the library together. If you get there late and we have already gone inside, ask one of the librarians to direct you to the “archive” on the 5th floor of the library, and you will find us there.

A friendly reminder that you will be writing a reflection blog on your visit to the archive (due by Sunday, 4/9), the exploration of the SF magazines you did there, and on the collection as a whole, so remember to take notes during class and take photos if you’d like, to include in your posts. You should also spend some time learning more about the collection on the City Tech Science Fiction Archive OpenLab site (which documents the collection via images and text) and this short video about the collection.

See you all soon 🙂

Class Discussion: Contemporary Connections to ‘1984’

2017 has been “doubleplusgood” for sales of George Orwell’s “1984.”
“George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Hits Bestseller List Again”

Sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four have been soaring recently. Why is there so much interest in this dystopian novel, published almost 70 years ago? What is its relevance now, to our lives in 2017? Why/how does this speak to the conditions that we find ourselves in, today?

We’ll use this space to discuss contemporary connections to Nineteen Eighty-Four. This is your opportunity to be creative, to be critical, and to put our own lives (and world) in dialogue with the ideas of the novel. Drop comments about connections you make, and provide links to sources that we can check out to learn more (e.g., news stories, images, movies, advertisement, songs, etc.).

Class Discussion: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’

We’re using this space here to continue our discussion of the novel.

For Class Discussion #5, make one initial comment on Part One, chapters VI-VII / Part Two, chapters I-II (pp. 65-129) by W 3/22  + two additional comments by F 3/24.

For Class Discussion #6, make one initial comment on Part Three (pp. 231-308) / Appendix: The Principles of Newspeak (pp. 309-323) by W 3/29  + two additional comments by F 3/31.

Snow Day #2! (City Tech Closed Tomorrow, Tu 3/14: No Class)

Hi everyone:

As you may have heard by now, City Tech is closed tomorrow due to the impending blizzard, so we won’t be having class.

I’ve created a new Class Discussion on “There Will Come Soft Rains” as a way to continue to work through the short story, focusing on the group discussion questions from last class, the elements of fiction, especially conflicts & themes (especially in relation to the questions in the Science Fiction Framework), and analysis of quotes (with citations!).

As for the rest of the week, don’t forget that the Midterm Exam is this Thursday, 3/16 (I’ll be away at a conference, but one of my colleagues, Professor Corbett will be there to proctor the exam in class). Please review the exam page (which provides details about the format for/content of the exam), and study accordingly.

Also, Essay 1 is due Thursday, 3/14 (Professor Corbett will be collecting the hard copies in class, and you should submit the file via Dropbox before class begins), and you should still post your Pre-Draft by tomorrow, Tu 3/14 at 2pm (see the Schedule for more details). Please read through everyone’s Pre-Drafts, and provide peer review (feedback) by leaving a comment on your classmates’ posts. You can give feedback on content, organization, argument, analysis, etc.

Please use the time you gain back from not having class tomorrow to work on your essays. If you have any questions about the exam or the essay, please post a comment here to this post.

Next week we’re moving forward with starting a new novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, as planned.

Most importantly, stay safe during the storm & enjoy the snow day 🙂

Class Discussion: There Will Come Soft Rains

Since we have a snow day tomorrow (Tu 3/14), when we were going to continue our discussion of “There Will Come Soft Rains,” we will use this Class Discussion here to wrap up our conversation about the story. Feel free to post questions, analysis, additional thoughts here, especially related to the group discussion questions we worked on in our last class.

Moon Tourism

Take a look at this recent article, “SpaceX Plans to Send 2 Tourists Around Moon in 2018,” from The New York Times. It’s interesting to consider this development, sending tourists to the moon, and space exploration more broadly, in relation to science fiction texts that imagine moon voyages (such as Voyage dans la Lune, from over 100 years ago!). Feel free to leave a comment here to start/continue a discussion about it.

(Also, you can use this category, “In the News,” at any point throughout the semester to share relevant material with the class.)


*Did you know that as City Tech students, you have free digital access to The New York Times? Check out these instructions for how to get started.