New Speculative Fiction Magazine Hivemind Continues Georgia Tech’s Sci-Fi Tradition

Posted June 25, 2021

Science fiction has a long history at Georgia Tech, dating back to 1971 when Professor Irving “Bud” Foote taught one of the first accredited science fiction courses. In April 2021, on the 50th anniversary of that class, Georgia Tech students and faculty in the Master of Science in Global Media and Cultures program founded a new, speculative fiction magazine called Hivemind. 

Amanda Weiss, Hivemind’s editor and an assistant professor of Japanese in the School of Modern Languages, founded the magazine to “develop something that was more focused on international cultures and languages,” she explained. 

Weiss teaches Japanese media and society courses while also leading a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) in East Asian media. She is currently completing two book manuscripts: an anthology on new Asian fantasy with co-editors Ploi Pirapokin and Silvia Park, and a monograph on collective memory in East Asian war cinema.  

“I have always been a really big fan of science fiction,” she said. “Georgia Tech is really conducive to science fiction and has been really supportive. It's through that support that Hivemind came to be.” 

With funding from the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Initiatives, and a grant from the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC), Weiss turned her passion for sci-fi into a platform that not only commences a long tradition of science fiction studies at Georgia Tech, but also provides students with professional development opportunities.  

Global Science Fiction 

Each issue of Hivemind centers on a singular, unifying theme connected to the overarching focus on global science fiction. The inaugural issue, The Future of Translation, explores the theme of translation, from literal translations to multimedia tales that "translate" narratives visually. The issue features work from Georgia Tech students and faculty within the Global Media and Cultures program, as well as professional writers. The second issue, Japan X Future, will be released in August 2021. 

Hivemind allows students to express themselves creatively while gaining invaluable skills as communicators on a platform that allows their work to be shared and recognized nationally. 

Hivemind has helped me develop professionally in a lot of ways,” said Natalie Mueller, CS '21, an undergraduate student and magazine contributor. “The highly collaborative process has helped me build a lot of confidence, and my writing has improved significantly.”  

Mueller, from Alpharetta, Ga., won a VIP Innovation Award for her interactive translation pieces, "Race to the Lunar World" and "Human vs. Machine Translation," both featured in the inaugural issue. 

Weiss is determined to turn the magazine into an outlet for students with a variety of skills. Students interested in joining the magazine team are welcome to apply. 

Science Fiction at Georgia Tech 

Hivemind has also garnered the support of other Georgia Tech faculty members including Lisa Yaszek, Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Yaszek researches and teaches science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures. She is particularly interested in issues of gender, race, and science and technology in science fiction across media. She also looks into the recovery of lost voices in science fiction history and the discovery of new voices from around the globe. 

Yaszek, also director of the Sci-Fi Lab, is an advisor to the Hivemind magazine team, helping to raise the visibility of science fiction on campus.  

"We are pioneers in bringing science fiction into university environments, and we continue to pioneer and do exciting things. I think that's where Hivemind comes in and becomes very exciting,” Yaszek said. 

The Sci-Fi Lab was created to provide undergraduate students with a space to conduct individual research. Over the years, the Lab has evolved through various iterations including a research lab, radio program, and now a podcast. Through each iteration, the Sci-Fi Lab has been predominately student-led. 

Both Hivemind and the Sci-Fi Lab promote the mission of the Global Media and Cultures program by preparing students to pursue professional careers in communication and media, as well as providing expertise in a particular linguistic region of the world. Weiss and Yaszek are hopeful that various opportunities for collaboration among Hivemind and Sci-Fi Lab teams will present themselves in the coming years. 

The School of Literature, Media, and Communication and the School of Modern Languages are both units of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. 

Related Media

Natalie Mueller won a VIP Innovation Award for this piece, "Race to the Lunar World" and "Human vs. Machine Translation." Both are featured in the inaugural issue of Hivemind

Lisa Yaszek photographed in the Sci-Fi Lab. 

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Symone Grady