I didn’t know what to expect when I first signed up for this class. My initial thoughts were reading about aliens and space travel. I was wrong from the start. I learned that science fiction has the real elements of a fictional story such as plot, protagonist, antagonists and conflicts that lead to a climactic element. However, science fiction makes you think more about what you are reading. Your’e in a futuristic or alternate reality setting. With technological advances being the norm, it really makes the reader think what we can do (or possibly should not do) with our advances in technology that affect our everyday lives. I also learned that values of a culture play a major part in science fiction. They mold its constituents into a certain life perspective. Lastly, I learned how to take textual evidence to support claims about the books we’ve read. It helped to really delve into not what only a character is saying, but what he/she is implying or trying to communicate to others.
With science fiction, its’ plot is grounded in reality, meaning that even though we are in a fictional world, real things still exist as they would in everyday life. There are socioeconomic differences in the stories. (Metropolis, Brave New World) People can have families, homes and dreams even though there reality is vastly different from ours. In Brave New World, characters such as Bernard and Hemholtz had their places in society as the “cream of the crop” by being in the Alpha class. However, they couldn’t be more different. Hemholtz always had something to say or to be done but couldn’t find a proper outlet for it, being a university lecturer. Bernard, a specialist in hynopaedic training, had detested what the society offers. Conventional sex and popping soma like skittles made him a social outcast for a short while. (Chapter 3).
Technology is always a critical part of any science fiction story. It makes the reader question whether what limit humanity is willing to push in order to make technological advances. “Do Androids dream of electric sheep?” is a great example. In a world where mechanical beings known as “Andys” are considered illegal on earth due to the fact that they can be so alike to humans and were able to kill them on Mars as well, that bounty hunters are hired to execute them if they are found on our planet. The Nexus 6 is the closest machine has been to man and it scares them. Guys like Rick are the gunslingers to ‘retire’ them, even though he questions his own humanity as each killing occurs. The question arises; if we can, does it mean we should? Technology is a big factor in Brave New World as well. Humanity has mastered mass production of biology. People are no longer born, but manufactured. What does this lead to? Well, it’s a hierarchy literally made up of letters which determine your place in society. People are conditioned to life that is not really their own, rather a standardized life where everything is predetermined for them. The clothes they wear, the jobs they do, even what they are allowed to know. The question arises again; should we be doing this?
Textual evidence to support claims was a big learning experience for me. I never really read critically for as long as I’ve read books. But thanks to this class, reading in between the lines has become easier. Take for example ” “You made some bounty money today,” Iran said accusingly. Rick said, “Yes, I retired three andys… Something went wrong today; something about retiring them” (pg 170) From this, you can extrapolate a lot of information about both characters. Iran’s tone suggests that she does not like what he does as a living (bounty hunter) and she might have some empathy for the androids. Rick uses the euphemism of “retiring” instead of killing to make his job seem more tolerable. It shows how maybe the life of a bounty hunter may make him question his own humanity. From this you can conclude a conflict between this married couple, both concerning marriage and their own separate lives.
Overall, science fiction is an art that is deserving of your attention and interpretation of the stories that feed the imagination. They have all the elements of fiction with the addition of a speculative point of view such as alternate realities or futuristic settings. Technology not only molds the story, but also the characters that are in the story. Lastly, learning how to read critically and finding textual evidence among the text has helped me enjoy reading much more so. I even bought the novel “1984” because of this class.