ENG 2420: Science Fiction

City Tech, Fall 2016

Tag: shiasja simeon prince

Class Notes 11/17/2016

11/17

Class Announcements

(This was posted a little late. I apologize for the inconvenience. )

The Science Fiction Symposium will be held on Tuesday 11/29 from 9-5pm offering science fiction panels. If you would like to volunteer to speak on the student panel that is being offered speak to Professor Belli. It would be nice if we have 4-5 students to volunteer in the student panel about science fiction, class experiences, final projects, and connections to other classes.

Science Fiction Archive Project

  • All projects must have a direct connection to science fiction and help the audience understand science fiction in another way.
  • Your research paper should answer the question so what?
  • You as the researcher should be learning more about science fiction.
  • Find and document research sources.
  • Have a revised proposal by Tuesday 11/21.

By Tuesday 11/17

Please have….

  • Completed clear research focused paragraphs with a minimum of 500 words
  • Upload paragraphs with a reflection on how your proposal has evolved
  • Bring in 4 printed copies for peer review
  • Email professor Belli for feedback by Monday

Brave New World Film

The many adaptations of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World has given me the pleasure to be able to not only read the novel but to also watch Brave New World (1980) and Brave New World (1998) film versions. Brave new world (1980) is a three hour film which doubles that of the Brave New World (1998). Brave New World (1980) time allotted allowed for a more thorough depiction of Aldous Huxley’s novel than that of Brave New World (1998). Although Brave New World (1980)deviates a little from the the plot and themes of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World it proves to be more complimentary to the novel than Brave New World (1998).
Brave New World (1998) is a far cry from Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World because it is saturated by the movie structures of Hollywood. It uses the three character structure through the three act structure eliminating the important roles of Helmholtz Watson and Mustapha Crowne. With Helmholtz absence we lose he theme of isolation and Mustapha’s absence we lose the theme of happiness. John, Lenina, and Bernard serves as the three structure characters. John is the antagonist, Bernard the protagonist, and Lenina the relationship character. The film turns Bernard into the main character who’s goal is to find out how the faults in there system can be managed because he himself knows first had that although all should be happy they are not and this seems throughout the film to be because he is unable to have Lenina all to himself. This is a strong deviation of the motifs of Bernard in the novel. In the chapters following the arrival of John you can see he was quite content with being popular. In the film john is then introduced. John is the antagonist and his point that living with this sense of false happiness is not right is made to the protagonist through the films love interest Lenina. This Hollywood structure totally ruins the relationship between Lenina and John because it emphasizes that of Lenina and Bernard.
Hollywood’s want for excessive drama changes the conflict and themes of the novel. For one it changes between Bernard Marx and the director to something totally different on film. Unlike in the novel Bernard Marx does not just come in and embarrass the director and the director storms off. In the film Bernard and the director have a sort of violent conflict because the director tries to condition a beta to kill Bernard. How Hollywood is that. The film also ends happily ever after with Bernard and Lenina happy with child. Definitely different from the novel which ends in the suicide of john in which, the film turns into an incidental death.
Brave New World (1980) was a close depiction of the novel with very little impact on the plot and themes in a negative way. The film did not tell the story in the chronological order of the novel. This film told the story of the director and Lenina right before she was left in the Reservation at the beginning of the film. It gave the audience the sense that the event was an accident, unlike the film (1998) which makes it seem like it was done on purpose. In the novel it is up for interpretation but I as a reader looked at it as a deliberate act on the director’s part. This deviation did not affect the plot in any way however. The telling of Bernard’s childhood was different in the (1980) film however it did not impact the plot and themes negatively. I would recommend Brave New World (1980) to go along with the reading of Brave New World (novel) because it is most true to the novel. Reading the novel is just a way to get more of the intimacy that is not seen through film.

Metropolis

Metropolis is an interesting film created by Fritz Lang in 1927. As soon as the film begins questions pop up in your head. You immediately see two different worlds. Metropolis is a big advanced city. Poor laborers and their families live underneath the city while the rich lives in the city. The beginning of metropolis was very intense because I as a viewer was trying to learn who, what, where is Metropolis. As the film began to climax it became more predictable. For example, Maria was speaking to the workers in secret standing in front of multiple crosses.  This scene caused me to question where is the church for the workers seeing as the rich have a nice beautiful church. When she began to speak you could tell that she was trying to calm the workers. She begins to tell the story of babel and you can see in it that she does not want the fate of Metropolis to end in that way. In her speech to the workers she says, “The mediator between head and hands must be the heart” (55:42). As the film goes on you see that this means that the brain cannot deal with the hand peacefully and vice versa without the heart. Without the heart the hand and head causes more disruption to themselves and others.

I would compare this to technology and people. As technology is developed in the world the heart has to be involved because technology must not be more important than the well being of people, animals, and the earth.  Technology is built that can harm people, animals, and the earth and people use innocent technology to do hateful and mean things. An example of using technology for evil was through the Rowang who developed a robot to hurt Metropolis master Joh and in turn almost ruined a whole city. Technology should definitely not be used that why. I could see that faith and compassion is important to have in Metropolis.

Faith in Technology

The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster is a short story that falls under the genre of science fiction. The Machine Stops is set in a machine at the center of the earth where the inhabitants believe is the only form of their existence.   The main character Vashti has put all her faith in the machine, like many of her cohabitants. In The Machine Stops the characters blind faith in technology is the cause of the end to their existence.

The characters in the novel placed a lot of value on the machine.  To them it was like a religion and in a religion you have faith. In the machine stops the narrator states, “The word “religion” was sedulously avoided, and in theory the machine was still the creation and the implement of man” (19). This statement shows how the characters have blind faith in technology because here is a generation who regards belief in science over religion who however adopts the idea that the machine was still the creation and the implement of man using the absence of science. The characters in the short story show their ignorance and how they may have arrived at such faith. The inhabitants of the machine do not respect originality. In a customary lecture it is stated dated, “First hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by love and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second hand, and if possible tenth hand, for then they will be far removing from the disturbing element—direct observation” (18).  This shows reference that people on the machine were taught to accept preconceived ideas and notations over their own.

The machine was destroyed because they had faith in the machine alone. They did not seek knowledge of the inner workings or condition of the machine. It was not until it was too late that someone suggested people learn how to manage the system.  Placing to much value in technology can be disastrous. In the short story the narrator states, “Beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that they had woven” (25).  This metaphor is beautifully used to explain the damage that man has done own themselves.  As a result of men reliance on technology and decline and self-reliance they doomed themselves.

Anyone who reads this short story can take away a lesson. The lesson is that technology should not be the center of your life. Everyone should still concern themselves with knowledge and not let technology take over.