ENG 2420: Science Fiction

City Tech, Fall 2016

Write-Up (Final) & Reflection; Commercialization of Science-Fiction

Abstract

This Write-Up looks into different aspects of Commercialized Science-Fiction and it’s impact that it has on society. It looks into how these particular Science-Fiction texts are made through the effects that merchandising and fandom play into a text’s content. This research also looks into the idea that the success of Commercialized Science-Fiction texts comes from the generalization of story elements and overall attempts at trying to be as all inclusive as possible with; collective audiences need to have a generalized story in order to gain their interest and this is then interpolated to give entertainment at the expense of losing out on a story that could’ve been more subjectively compelling and interesting. Examples are brought up in this research, including Star Wars, Warhammer 40,000, Marvel, Transformers, and Doctor Who; each of these texts and the products that were made around them have their own nuances that relate to the magnitude of their success. Star Wars and the Marvel cinematic universe are juxtaposed to one another because of the acquisition of both of these franchises by Disney and Warhammer 40,000 and Transformers are juxtaposed because of their focus on creating a product before actually making a text to accompany the work; Transformers in particular was seen as more successful, but at the cost of creating text that involved appealing to a younger demographic whereas Warhammer 40,000 focused more on telling a complex story not easily grasping the interest of people considered to be up to date with the “social norm”. The observance of these texts is warranted because these are reflections of the tastes that society has and is modeled after the likes of social norms; this begs the question of whether or not society’s interest in general Science-Fiction works should be redacted in favor of texts that can offer more in stimulation of the mind beyond mere visual spectacle and character appeal through marketing methods geared to do so.

Download (PDF, 124KB)

Final Draft Write up – Human Behavior in the Post-Apocalypse

Abstract

The horrors of the apocalypse doesn’t only change the environment, it also diminish the improvements in society, most of all it changes the behavior of human beings. Normally, in a civil society people thrive for success, advancement and the pursuit of happiness. All things taken away from society, people reactions will determine their will to survive. However, in the journey of survival, existence will be based on how a person is able to adapt to chaotic change and the will to overcome fear and confusion of a post-apocalyptic world. Social norms require people to act in a mannerism of morality and politeness. Human behavior in the post-apocalypse is extensive, therefore exploring the reasons people change will create an indication as to why humans rely so heavily to a civilized society. The human mind is critical when creating apocalyptic text. For the reason that all human beings behave differently given a change in setting, from normal to chaotic, their perception on things will differ. Thus, research surrounds the psychology, as well as, the sociology of human behavior, at the same time basing it on a post-apocalyptic setting. Moreover, examples of post-apocalyptic text will support the way humans change and behave in the Post-Apocalypse.

Download (PDF, 305KB)

Final Write-up Terraforming

 

I will be discussing a science fiction creation called Terraforming. Terraforming which means “Earth-Shaping” is an idea taken from science fiction and mixed with real science. It basically deals with modifying another planet’s atmosphere, temperature, and surface to be similar or exactly like earth. It makes other planets habitable by Human beings, and any type of plant life of our own planet. Touching on the history of terraforming, and its current capabilities I want to then dive into the moral and ethical issues people raise when dealing with changing other worlds to fit humanity’s needs. “Some people consider the idea of terraforming Mars heretical – humanity playing God,” said by Dr. Zubrin an American Aerospace Engineer. He went on further to state that “others would see in such an accomplishment the most profound vindication of the divine nature of the human spirit, exercised in its highest form to bring a dead world to life”. People see it as favoring human interests and could possibly lead to the extinction of indigenous extraterrestrial life, or the Interplanetary contamination. We don’t know what’s really out there in our universe we have already brought our own planet to its knees, and possibly beyond the point of no return to some critics. Humanity has also driven to extinction to many animals and sentient beings on our very own planet, and bringing that to another world isn’t ethical. Touching on its ethical aspects I will provide detailed explanation on what exactly are the ethics behind terraforming, and what groups these ethical constructs belong to.

My main goal is to try and answer the question why we want to terraform another planet to fit humanity’s needs. Why does Humanity want to leave the earth, so badly, and not want to fix what we have done to our own planet before searching for another? Is our planet earth really too far gone to save, or is it more cost effective to invade and terraform another? Science fiction has dealt with the idea of leaving earth and making other planet earth like to hold life, I want to research the idea why the writers wanted to start their stories on other planets. In finding out why in reality we want to leave earth, I can find understanding why writers want us to explore it.

Download (DOCX, 22KB)

Daniel Mayorga Write-Up, Final Draft

Abstract

The parallels between Military Science Fiction and real-world military weapons is by no means a mere coincidence. In addition, these parallels have benefited the U.S. military in terms of offensive weaponry and defenses. The fact of the matter is that most of the weapon development by the U.S. military is done through the inspiration drawn by Science Fiction films. Where the appearance of a weapon is taken into account and weapon engineers have to determine whether or not a particular weapon is implementable. Which leads to the question: If so, how? Several approaches must be taken to correspond with the weapon development such as the design process. Should a particular weapon have a “strange” appearance? There are also decisions made in terms of the lethality of the weapon, which ultimately leads to applied limitations on a weapon if they are deemed too powerful.  Lastly, there are moral issues to consider relative to a newly developed weapons.  Should they be lethal or non-lethal? If there are many factors that affect the production of these weapons; how can the U.S. military benefit from these parallels?

The first benefit will be the idea of developing biologically enhanced soldiers, in other words super soldiers. They are like human soldiers except they represent the stereotypical image of super humans. Which are individuals that are able to surpass beyond the capabilities of any regular person. Another Is the development of laser rifles, as they are very popular throughout Science Fiction films. They benefit the military in terms of the element of surprise however, they were made non-lethal. In addition, there is also the future production of auto-piloted aircrafts that are able to travel at unbelievable velocities and altitudes. Not to mention that the structure of the aircraft resembles designs from popular Science Fiction films. Lastly, one of the most important aspects to talk about when these parallels are being developed, is the limitations applied to the weapon in order to allow them to correspond with moral standards. This in turn, is probably one of the most influential aspects that is considered during the implementation process. The decision to make it lethal and non-lethal really depends on what a particular weapon is used for. Overall, these parallels have benefited the U.S. military in more ways than one.

Download (PDF, 280KB)

Moises Taveras Final Write Up

Abstract:

This is a paper about a lot of things. Namely how mediums of sci-fi interact with the world in a real way. Sci-fi is typically deemed too fantastical to be taken seriously which is a load of malarky. As a matter of fact, it’s perhaps the most grounded thing in a world that’s rapidly accelerating to the far-flung future popularly portrayed in sci-fi movies and novels of yesteryear. It’s about the division of responsibility when it comes to the worlds collective future.

Look at it like this, the three branches of technological development are these: the engineers who actually bring life to creations that enable such things to be possible, the civilization of people who theoretically live under these people, not literally just in the sense that they are the consumers and the market the engineers cater to, and the writers/directors/actors/producers/developer/musicians/artists who bring these worlds to life. And of course perhaps the most human thing about their relationship and the single thing that needs to be righted or at least done more is communication.

Trying to make the point that they all have a role to play in the development of our future. The roles go as such:

  • The “creatives” for lack of a better word, need to put the world together. There is a power in being able to see how the world can go awry. Considering theres is the platform that reaches the most people it can be argued that this should be the earliest/first step in the development of further technology.
  • The society needs to be more receptive and more acknowledging of there own issues. They have problems that need to be worked out which are there own and the ones that can probably be resolved by engineers. They receive the media and need to make informed opinions on future trends so that they can inform engineers of what they need to do.
  • The engineers are the most receptive of the bunch. They need to be aware of what media is doing to see what they can do to be more like or more not like that. While they are developing that, society needs to also be absorbing media and tell these guys what to do and what not to do.

Ultimately each of these branches needs to be in communication with one another so that everything doesn’t go horribly wrong.

Download (PDF, 90KB)

Gynoids And The Objectification of Women. Final Profect, Final Draft

Abstract:

Many of the science fiction literature, films and movies depict artificial intelligence that resembles a female figure. But, why do the majority of robotic creations resemble the females figure? Where does this idea come from? Over the past decades, these women-appearing robots have gained popularity in the sci-fi genre as it has been shown through old films such as Metropolis, in which its robotic creation depicts a sensual female form, to earliest films such as Ex-Machina, in which the robotic entity portrays to a young, beautiful, and vulnerable woman. But these female robots not only form part of the science fiction genre, they also have become reality as many of today’s robots possess female attributes and a resemblance to the woman body. But the idea of developing female-like humanoids comes from the science fiction term genre known as gynoid. A gynoid also known as fembot is a concept that appears in the science fiction genre to refer to a humanoid robot that possess female attributes. The term has gained popularity in the science fiction genre over the past years since many of the robots that are shown in films and movies depict beautiful and sexy female features. In the actuality, the term gynoid has brought to reality as many of the robotic designs that have been developed, clearly portrays a female appearance rather than just simply robotic machine. The concept of gynoids has sparked new areas of debate and controversy in today’s society as a surprisingly amount of the robotic artificial brains depict female bodies and personalities. While some people argue these robotic gynoids can be used for caretaking, teaching, and as an incentive to get women interesting in robotic careers, the clear majority oppose this argument by stating that the development of these female robots bring problems that significantly affect the female gender. Although this essay shows the positive points female robots can create to society, by analyzing how gynoids appear in the science fiction genre and how they have translated into reality, the essay’s main focus is to explore how these robotic gynoids contribute with the objectification of women, creating these false stereotypes that affects the female group.

 

Download (PDF, 300KB)

Thoughts about The Symposium

After taking a visit to the Symposium, there were some interesting information like I have never heard of before. I arrived to the Symposium at 2:50pm just before the Student Roundtable started. As Jill Belli began the roundtable, she had been asking some of the students some questions on what their opinion is about Science Fiction. The students had answered Belli’s questions very thoroughly even I was impress of their thoughts about Science Fiction. Their answers were remarkable that it makes me glad that I was in a Science Fiction course. I do like how the students put up their questions whenever they answered Belli’s questions and then explained on why they thought about it.

My favorite answer from one of the students was when one asked “How far can they keep up with the upgrade of technology?” In my opinion, I say that is a good question because I do remember the time when I saw the news about the new cell phone Samsung Galaxy Note 7 being burst into flames. Plus the company did say that the reason why the phone exploded was because of overheating the battery cells. This means that technology has to have an upgrade limit so that the company don’t have to end like the cell phone did. That is why I thought that it was an interesting question from the student.

Overall, I thought that the Symposium was a brand new experience of learning the knowledge of Science Fiction. It was really a good idea to stop by there and here what students thought about Science Fiction. Now that is what I really call a “Brave New World.”

Write Up Final Draft (PDF Form)

Download (PDF, 469KB)

Johnny Zapata – Reflection & Final Write Up

Recently amongst science fiction academia and aficionados, animosity towards religion has been mitigated. In the genre, the relationship between religion and science has been cyclical, with each coming out on top at different times throughout the decades. Recently however, the two ideologies have seem to have come to a stalemate, they have acquiesced that each has their merits in the world of the future. However, the clash of ideologies has fueled science fiction (SF) for over a century, many of the genre’s roots are in challenging theology. SF does not need to generate vitriol, only continue the sport, the great debate.

In literature, religion is one of the greatest antagonists of all time in SF, in not all the genres. SF has often presented religion as a necessary antagonist, as a force that prevents science from acting with impunity and careless abandonment for its actions. Without the great adversary that is religion, science becomes unchallenged. Moreover, were sciences to partake in conversation with itself, no new ideas would arise. Religion must continue acting as science’s greatest opponent within SF so that we may speculate and prepare for a universe with other forms of intelligent life, a world where we create life, and a world in which we play god. Before we revel in that future, we should ask ourselves questions that fall into the purview of religion. Neither field may provide absolute answers, but the debate between science and religion can offer catharsis and fuel imagination.

Discussed in this essay are the roles religion has played in James Blish’s A Case of Conscience, Isaac Asimov’s Reason, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Lester Del Rey’s Into Thy Hands and the poetry of Tracy K. Smith are observed through second hand sources. Retrospective looks into these SF works are provided by Robert Adam’s The History of Science Fiction , Rudy Busto’s Religion/ Science/Fiction: Beyond the Final Frontier, Kimberly Rae Connor’s The Speed of Belief: Religion and Science Fiction, Steven Hrotic’s Religion in Science Fiction: The Evolution of an Idea and the Extinction of a Genre, James McGrath’s Religion and Science Fiction, and Paul Nahin’s Holy Sci-fi!: Where Science Fiction and Religion Intersect.

 

Download (PDF, 523KB)

Samoylov Alex Final Draft of Write Up Reflection 12 18 2016

The concept of a utopia and dystopia has been debated to this very day on how it is defined. Many see it as either the perfection of the world or as its ultimate downfall as a society. However, each person has their own view on what is good and bad for themselves and for society, therefore over time many different versions of what a utopia and dystopia are have come up. Even with these different visions you have a further divergence of personal views based on the countless people who imagine it. This leads to an almost endless number of possible utopias and dystopias based on each individual. Past this understanding if the fact that each person is affected by the present and as that moves away from the point in time they created this definition, it too will change. This change happens because the worlds constantly changes, every event small and large creates an effect that is felt by people. This creates newer versions of utopia and dystopia in direct response to these changing times. The reason being that utopian and dystopian literature is anchored to the real world to create visions of what it might become, if society follows a certain path.
Society is made up by individuals, these individuals are indirectly linked to each other by necessity. The work that one does affects the other, and that other affect someone else by providing a service. Society is a chain of events, each link supports the next and is required to maintain the rest. Therefore, if an individual doesn’t see the world the same way others do, it leads to conflict and break downs in the link. This overtime, if allowed to spread, would cause a complete collapse in any system, particularly a social one. The end goal for each person would lead to a different point and creates a disharmony within the society. Particularly, if each person has their own method of trying to achieve their personal utopia. So, by logic utopia should be a communal vision that all of society should strive for together. However as seen in the real world even with good intentions, evil can come and take over. Dystopias are by many accounts failed utopian visions that were carried out incorrectly or allowed to be taken over by less righteous. The whole notion of dystopia is to show that human nature is powerful and flawed. They do not seek to make a world perfect for everyone as utopias do, their goal is to show reality that may come fourth if individuals do not work together.

Download (PDF, 218KB)

« Older posts