Science Ficton: Where Shall We Begin?

In thinking about how to structure this course, or any literature course, really, the first thing to keep in mind is that there is simply too much to read.  We have a wealth of great texts that we can attend to and all of these are freely available via our college library and many are freely available on the www.  What is clear is that we will want to think about the evolution of science fiction over time.  The question, however, is where to begin.  Shall we limit ourselves to short stories published in science fiction magazines in the 20th c. in the United States?  This is one path.  Another is to take a kind of "greatest hits" approach based on works by canonical authors.  Do we begin with Lucian, with Bergerac, with Swift, with Mary Shelley, or with Hugo Gernsback?  All are possible and plausible paths.  The path we choose to take will be determined by the key question/s guiding our inquiry.  Therefore, we need to establish what those are first in order to then make the decision regarding what group of texts we will focus our inquiry on..