Today, I began teaching my first Science Fiction class at Georgia Tech (LMC 3214 SS2). It is a short-session class, so my students and I will explore the history of SF in only five weeks on a grueling 4 days per week, 2 hours per day schedule.
During our first class today, we introduced ourselves, discussed the syllabus and schedule [available here: ellis-jason-syllabus-lmc3214-summer2013], and discussed the difference between SF and Sci-Fi.
Following a short break after reading the syllabus, I conducted an interactive exercise where I wrote “Science Fiction (SF)” on the left side of the chalkboard and “Sci-Fi” on the right side. I sketched out the differences between the two terms and how we might use them to identify different types of SF. Then, I handed the chalk to a student who I asked to go to the board and write a type of SF that she liked in the spot that she felt best represented it in the SF/Sci-Fi continuum. As a class, we would discuss these examples. The other students and I would help point out how we might view these examples in different ways along the SF/Sci-Fi axis. Each student would hand off the chalk to the next student. We completed two rounds of this before running out of time in class.
I think that I have an excellent group of students. Most are SF fans invested in the genre in one media form or another. Some students are there for pragmatic reasons. I believe that as the class unfolds all of my students will find interesting and significant connections to their thinking, life, and work.
Tomorrow, we begin discussing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.