Wrapping Things Up

Hello, all!

I hope that the end of the semester is wrapping up in a positive way for you all.

As you know, today at midnight is the official deadline for everything due in our class. This includes the weekly summaries, final notebooks, research essay, and final exam. You can scroll through below for details on each of these or click on “Assignments” in the menu to the left.

Some folks have asked for extensions for a few days, which I have happily granted. If you need some extra time and haven’t touched base with me yet, please send me an email with some details on what you need to get done and when you can complete it. My email address is jellis at citytech.cuny.edu.

The latest that I can agree to is Tuesday, May 26 as grades are due and I need time to complete grading before the deadline. But, as I said, email me if you need that extra time so that I know to expect your work, otherwise I will submit grades when I have received everything that I am expecting to see submitted late.

Above all else, email me at jellis at citytech.cuny.edu if you have any questions. I’m near the computer, so I’ll get back to you relatively quickly.

Good luck with everything, and remember to stop by and see me when we’re back on campus. I’d like to find out how everyone is doing and we can talk Science Fiction.

Best, Professor Ellis

Assignment: Lecture 13 on Cyberpunk

Greetings, all! I hope that you’re all doing well and ready to have a successful close to the spring semester!

In the lecture above, I begin by recapping the final assignments in the class. Watch it and listen carefully to make sure that you don’t miss anything. For posting your research project, you will need to check out this post and video. For completing the final exam, you will need see this post. For submitting your notebook, you will need to scan/photograph the pages of your notes and email them to me (jellis at citytech.cuny.edu). Everything in the class comes due at the end of the day at midnight on Wednesday, May 20. If you find that you need more time on something, email me BEFORE then so that we can develop a plan together as I have to submit grades shortly after our class ends and I don’t want to receive something unexpected days after the class has ended. The key thing to remember is keep me in the loop and we can work together to get you through the class successfully!

Then, I talk about cyberpunk, William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Bruce Sterling, and The X-Files.

I’m sorry that this concluding lecture in the class couldn’t have been in person. I’ve brought show and tell with the old computers on occasion, and I’ve brought LEGO on others. When we have a handle on COVID-19 and the campus reopens, please stop by my office to check in and let me know how you’re doing. Even after our class is over, I’m happy to help you all out with feedback, advice, letters of recommendation, etc. Never sell yourselves short. Go big. Seek out opportunities to learn as much as you can, and gain as much experience as you can. Things are more difficult than they were before the virus, so my recommendation is to redouble your efforts to rise above the crowd to achieve the success that you desire.

Assignment: Final Exam

Greetings, all!

I wanted to give you as much time as possible to work on your final exam in Science Fiction, so I am including it here on our OpenLab site now. I will discuss it along with all of the final projects in our class in next week’s lecture, and I will send a reminder about it to everyone in the class via email.

This is a take home exam. You should complete it alone using your notes.

Your final exam responses are due by midnight at the end of day on Wednesday, May 20.

If you have any questions, please email me at jellis at citytech.cuny.edu.

Science Fiction Final Exam
Prof. Jason W. Ellis


• Answer the following questions as short paragraphs with complete sentences.
• Always include author birth/death dates and publication dates.
• You have a couple of ways to get your exam responses to me for grading:
1) Type your responses into a Word docx file and email it to me as an attachment. I will reply confirming receipt.
2) Write your responses by hand and send your responses to me as a scanned PDF or JPG images via email. Verify that your handwriting and the images are LEGIBLE before sending. I will reply confirming recipt.
3) Don’t post your exam responses on OpenLab. Send it to me at jellis at citytech.cuny.edu using one of the methods described above.

Exam Questions

  1. In 5-10 sentences, tell me who wrote Frankenstein, a brief summary of Frankenstein’s plot, why is Frankenstein considered the first example of SF, name the three key characters who are all scientists and explain why each is a “scientist.”
  2. In 2-4 sentences, tell me the name of the editor who launched the first SF magazine, the name of the first SF magazine, its month and year of launch, his name for science fiction and its three characteristics.
  3. In 1-2 sentences, name the Golden Age editor of Astounding, give his birth/death years, and list his four rules of good SF.
  4. For the following Golden Age stories, write 2-4 sentences for each including the name of the author, birth/death years, the publication date of the story, and its summary:
    a. “Reason”
    b. “The Fireman”
    c. “–All You Zombies”
    d. “The Cold Equations”
  5. In 2-4 sentences, name the director of the film Forbidden Planet, give the year that it was released, name the film production company, summarize the film, and explain the significance of the id, ego, and superego to its story.
  6. In 1-2 sentences, name the editor of New Worlds magazine who inaugurated New Wave SF, give his birth year, and list the five characteristics of New Wave SF.
  7. For the following New Wave stories, write 2-4 sentences for each including the name of the author, birth/death years, the publication date of the story, and its summary:
    a. “Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman” (include the title of the famous book he edited)
    b. “The Electric Ant” (include a list of characteristics of his works, too)
    c. “Aye, and Gomorrah…”
  8. In 2-4 sentences, name the creator of Star Trek, give his birth/death years, give its original air dates, list its six characteristics, name the episode that we saw for class, and summarize the story.
  9. In 1-2 sentences, define feminist SF and list its six characteristics.
  10. For the following feminist SF stories, write 2-4 sentences for each including the name of the author, birth/death years, the publication date of the story, and its summary:
    a. “The Women Men Don’t See”
    b. “Nine Lives”
    c. “Speech Sounds”
  11. In 1-2 sentences, define afrofuturism and list its three characteristics.
  12. In 2-3 sentences, define cyberpunk and list its five characteristics; name who wrote “Burning Chrome,” give his birth year, give the story’s year of publication, and summarize the story.

Bonus (+1): In 1-2 sentences, tell me which semester reading you enjoyed most. Explain why.

Bonus (+1): In 1-2 sentences, tell me which semester reading you enjoyed least. Explain why.

Opportunities: Literature Classes in Summer and Fall 2020

Please spread the word that the English department is offering literature courses in the Summer and Fall 2020 semesters. These range from literature survey courses to really interesting special topics courses on storytelling or dystopias. I’m listing the Summer classes below, and more information about the Fall classes is available here.

ENG 2001 (Intro to Lit I-Fiction)
ENG 2002 (Intro to Lit II-Drama)
ENG 2003 (Intro to Lit III-Poetry)
ENG 2170ID (Intro to Studies in Maleness and Manhood)
ENG 2400 (Films from Literature)
ENG 3402 (Topics in Literature). This course will be taught by Prof. Goodison with the topic “Storytelling in Film, Art, & Design.” Students will study a selection of contemporary short fiction, short film, and art to discuss techniques of storytelling. They will then apply some of these techniques to create their own photography, sound, video, sketch, or multimedia project.

Assignment: Lecture 12 on Feminist SF and Afrofuturism

Here’s the penultimate (next to last) lecture in our Science Fiction class. It’s on Feminist SF and Afrofuturism, and it picks up the omitted reading from our last lecture by James Tiptree, Jr.

Apologies for the video being cropped. I didn’t realize until after I had recorded the hour long lecture that it cropped my screen’s resolution. I reviewed it and don’t think it is too detrimental. Listen to what I’m talking about and you can look up some of the images and details that are cut off from the video.

As a reminder, the last day of class is Wednesday, May 20. All assignments will be due by midnight that day. This includes your:

  • research essay
    • posted to OpenLab
    • directions included in the lecture 11 post last week)
  • weekly summaries
    • posted to OpenLab as comments on each “Assignment: Lecture” post
  • notebooks
    • email a scanned PDF or photos of each page as JPGs to jellis at citytech.cuny.edu
    • I will reply with confirmation
  • final exam
    • I will email the take-home final exam to everyone next week and post a copy on our OpenLab site.
    • Read the directions carefully.
    • Please write your answers to each question in your own words.
    • There are several ways to submit your exam to me via email at jellis at citytech.cuny.edu–I will confirm receipt
      • Write your answers into a Word docx file and attach it to an email
      • Write your answers into a Word docx file and copy-and-paste your answers into an email
      • Handwrite your answers on notebook paper and scan your responses into a PDF attached to an email

Opportunity: COVID-19 Stories Extra Credit

The OpenLab runs a student-focused blog called The Buzz. You’re invited to share your own stories related to COVID-19. If you’re interested in sharing your experiences with other students via The Buzz, I’m happy to give extra credit (adding points to a project or replacing a missed weekly writing assignment) for your participation.

To earn the extra credit, you’ll need to write a piece that’s at least 250-words long (longer is certainly okay) that responds to the prompt included below. Then, email your writing to me so that I can give you feedback. Finally, revise your essay and then follow the directions on this post to publish your work on The Buzz. The prompt is below:

You are invited to share your story on The Buzz, offering others a glimpse into your experience. You might share a story about yourself or your loved ones who are grappling with distress or describe how your everyday life and routines have changed due to health concerns and requirements for physical distancing. You might also write about ways that you have managed to find a sense of contentment or learned new strengths or skills you didn’t know you had.

Assignment: Lecture 11 on New Wave SF (continued) and Star Trek

Here’s the eleventh lecture, which continues New Wave SF with Samuel R. Delany and the original Star Trek series. Write a comment on this post by Wed, May 6 that is at least 250 words long summarizing the lecture, your reading of Samuel R. Delany’s “Aye, and Gomorrah,” and viewing of Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever.” While I asked you to read James Tiptree, Jr.’s “The Women Men Don’t See,” you may include it in this summary or hold it for the following week’s assignment when I lecture on it and Feminist SF (I wanted you to read ahead so that we could keep things on track). Email me at jellis at citytech.cuny.edu or come to my Wed 5-6pm office hours with questions.