Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Facilitators: Vennela, Brandon, Wen-Chiao, Serina

As we have learned throughout this course, everyone loves a good superhero movie to watch and grow up with. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is the most current and newest superhero movie that audience have been introduced to. The film follows a group of misfit criminals and their journey to save the universe. This blockbuster hit is entertaining but also has some deeper meanings as we have learned to find during this course. See if you can find those deeper meanings, tropes, and similarities that this amazing movie has with the materials we have encountered in this course as well as movies and books that we haven’t discussed. Chances are most of you have seen the film but  if not here are just some scenes that will give you the main plot and points of the film.


The very beginning

26 years later

Prison Break

The Collector

We are Groot

Star-Lord Dance

Infinity Stone/ Guardians of the Galaxy


Thinking Through Character and Narrative Themes in Pacific Rim

Facilitators: David Huynh, Marjorie Eyong, and JP Zhao

Throughout the semester, one of the most common aspects that we have seen in many of the movies and texts we have looked at has been the idea of taking familiar sci fi and speculative fiction tropes and re-imagining them in new and diverse ways. The movie Pacific Rim from director Guillermo Del Toro provides another great example of re-imagining familiar themes.

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Final Projects Info.

Hi all,

For your convenience I am posting the facilitation order and texts that we will be reading for the last two weeks of class below. I will also update this post with specific links to the blog entries created by each group so you can access the necessary videos/texts you should read for each class date.

Also, if you are interested in bumping up your blogging grade, feel free to comment on the blog entries posted by each group! The comments are still due by noon on the day of class.

All the best,

Prof. Tran

Monday, November 30th 

Group: Ashley, Catherine, Kaitlyn, Jillian

  • Topic/Text: Incorporation of science and speculative fiction tropes into contemporary pop music lyrics and videos, e.g. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.
  • See their post here.

Group: Adrian, Patrick, Dean, John

  • Topic/Text: Bioshock video game
  • See their post here.

Wednesday, December 2nd

Group: Marjorie, David, JP

  • Topic/Text: Pacific Rim, connections to Big Hero 6
  • Check out their post here.

Group: Sara, Caitlyn, Nicole S.

  • Topic/Text: gender norms in the superhero genre; analyzing connections between SNL’s Black Widow trailer and Big Hero 6 and Ms. Marvel.  
  • See their post here.

Monday, December 7th

Group: Vennela, Brandon, Wen-Chiao, Serina

  • Topic/Text: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • See their post here.

Group: Matthew, Nicole C. Jennifer, Jimmy

  • Topic/Text: The Avengers, thinking through similarities and differences to Big Hero 6

Wednesday, December 9th

Group: Ben, Siri, Jacob, Justin

  • Love & Radio’s “The Living Room”
  • Access the podcast here.

Gender Norms in the Science Fiction World

Facilitators: Sara Aldaghady, Caitlyn Moss, Nicole Schmalz

Throughout the course of history, the role of women has been dramatically changed regarding their abilities to be “independent” and have the same rights as their male counterparts. While the 21st century has undoubtedly proved to be a success to women’s rights-as they are able to do many things men can do-gender roles are still assigned to women and guide them to what they should do. This is relevant to not only the real world, but in science fiction media. However, there are several works that we, as a class, have read and viewed that negate these gender roles and show women to be free and individualistic.

Below is a parody trailer made by Saturday Night Live for the upcoming movie “Black Widow” and portrays what society thinks female superheroes should act like. As you watch it, think of two other works that we have read or viewed that debunk female stereotypes. Also, come up with a list of gender norms that we can discuss next Wednesday (12/2).

Bioshock: video game as 21st century fiction

Consider the union of writing, audio, and visual arts amounting to a singular expression of an immersive story. In 2007, a videogame titled Bioshock was released that marked the movement of the genre into the art form that it has since grown into.

During our presentation we’ll be discussing Bioshock, the significance of its creation, and the thematic elements present in the story of a once-utopian undersea city.

In order to give you a good understanding of the Bioshock story, Eligible Monsters Gaming have put together a plot summary over the course of these four videos–about 25 minutes of viewing total. Please take the time to watch so we can discuss on Monday after break:

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Final Presentation-Sci-Fi/Speculative Fiction Themes in Pop Videos

Jillian Valdes, Kaitlyn Klepper, Ashley Berry, Catherine Kearns

Why do you think pop artists use sci-fi/speculative fiction themes in music videos?

Watch the following music videos and listen to the lyrics and pick up on any themes that we have discussed so far in class. Also attempt to find connections with real-world issues.

E.T. by Katy Perry

Born This Way by Lady Gaga

Powerful by Major Lazer (ft. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley)

Children by Justin Bieber

Reminders about Final Project & Classes after Thanksgiving Break

Hi all,

Here are just some quick reminders about the final project and the last two weeks of class:

  • Final Project
    • Please remember to select one person from your group to email me by this Friday, Nov. 20th the following information: (1) name of all group members; (2) date and slot (A/B) of your presentation; (3) the title of the text(s) you have chosen to facilitate
    • One week before your facilitation, you should select one person from your group to create a blog post that provides links/files to the texts you want us to read or look at in advance of your facilitation. Your group may also choose to include in this post specific instructions about what details to pay attention and/or what texts from previous sessions of our class that you might want us to bring on that date. This is of course all up to you!
  • Midterm Paper- grades and revisions
    • I will be emailing you pdf copies of your grades on the midterm paper along with my comments by the end of the week. If you plan to revise your essay, you can get a head start over Thanksgiving break.
    • The cover letters for revisions are due by Monday, Nov. 30th. Revised essays are due in hard copy on the last day of class, Wednesday, Dec. 9th.
    • Things to keep in mind: (1) If you turn in your revision on the last date of class, please do not expect detailed comments from me. At most, I can email you your grade on the revision. You are free to turn in your revised essays earlier. (2) If you are revising your essay, make sure all of the MLA citations and works cited entries are correct. If they are incorrect, I will return the essay without grading it. I have mentioned this several times in class and have even given you MLA formatting guidelines, so there should be no excuses for incorrect/absent citations!
    • *Please note that by now you all should have received grades on both of your blog responses and your facilitation. If you have not received them, just send me a quick email! (
  • Extra points for “blogging” component
    • If you  have not been commenting regularly on the blog and would like to have a chance to “bump up” your grade, you can choose to comment on the blog entries posted by each group with your general reflections on the texts they have selected to facilitate on. To count, these comments are due by 12:00pm the day of class.

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Break!

Prof. Tran