Author Archives: Vishal Naraine

Class Notes 12/20/2018

Announcements:

  • This is the final day of classes.
  • This is also the last day of presentations.
  • People that are set to present are:
    • Justin
    • Phoenixx
    • Sajida
    • Mohammad

Justin’s Presentation: Genetic Memories 

  • Questions?
    • How can advanced tech help us to adapt to future psychological problems we face today?
    • And can we learn from our past ancestors?
  • Genetic Memories is a memory that is present at birth and that existence in the absence of sensory experience.
    • Sir Francis Galton’s did the first experiments work in 1865
    • The concept of genetic memories developed in 1921 and started experiments in the mid 1950s.
  • Examples used:
    • Assassin’s Creed
      • Animus: decode genetic memories of past ancestors.
    • Stargate SG-1
      • SYFY TV Show
        • Alien race known as Goa’uld.
        • Possesses the power to pass their knowledge through genetic memory.
  • Consequences
    • It is unethical
      • Changing a person’s DNA
  • Benefits
    • Resiliency to physiological problems like depression, anxiety, mental abuse.
    • Offspring can learn the history through their ancestors history.

Phoenixx’s Presentation: Into The Mind of Science Fiction Writers: How Sci-Fi Authors Use Architecture to Visualize Their World

  • Questions
    • How do science fiction authors use architecture to better illustrate the world they describe? Are words just enough?
  • Realism is a key to the artwork in science fiction works.
  • Use of similes and metaphors to jog the reader/viewer’s mind of things we do not know
  • Architecture helps build a scene to show emotion in a setting.
  • Realism in architecture serves as developmental tool for authors.
  • It also shows how technological advancements improve humanity.
  • Examples:
    • Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”
  • Another use for architecture in Science Fiction, is t challenges the meaning of ‘what is home’
  • Sometimes an image can really put things into persepctive.

Sajida’s Presentation: Artifical Intelligence Use in the Army

  • She provided a breif overview of artifical intelligence, contrasting it to human intelligence.
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence can lead to hyperwar, which is more deadly than human war. Hyperwar involves machines.
  • Artificial intelligence shows no emotion whatsoever.
  • Artificial Intellgience in the army, can help improve decison making, less casualties.

Mohammad’s Presentation: Terraforming

  • Mohammad spoke about the history behind Terraforming.
    • Coined by Jack Williamson
    • The term appeared on the 1942 edition of Astounding Science Fiction
  • Definintion:
    • A process of making an environment safe for human life.
  • Example:
    • Rover on Mars collecting information that could possibly help them terraform Mars.
  • Importance:
    • Human population is increasing everyday.
    • By 2050, estimated around 9.9 billion humans.
  • Overpopulation’s effects on environment:
    • No clean water
    • plant and animal extinction
    • lower life exprectany
    • climate change increase
  • Is it possible?:
    • NASA say no because technology is not that advanced.
    • Elon Musk says otherwise

The class also discussed scenes from Westworld.

  • Reveraries: are a class of gestures that were initially thought to have been developed by Robert Ford.
    • Example: Clementine Pennyfeather
  • These gestures allows access to previous builds.
  • Shakespearean Quotes:
    • Much of shakespearean quotes was said by Peter Abernathy.
    • “These violent delights have violent ends”
  • We discussed about the park’s creation.
    • Only for the rich.
      • Ex: The Man In Black
  • Hosts are objects to the customers.
  • The implanting of memories into robots/androids is common in science fiction.
  • We discussed about the hosts realizing that there world is not real.
  • We discussed about the love connection between Dolores Abernathy and Teddy Flood.
  • We discussed about the scene with defective hosts.
    • Similiar to the film I, Robot.

The Cruel Truth of Uplifting

The Science Fiction genre is all about possibilities. It explains the outcomes of what could go wrong in the world. Most science fiction literature is about two questions, “what if or what could?”. In this research paper, the topic that will be discussed is the process of uplifting. According to the Journal of Evolution and Technology, “Animal uplifting, also referred to as biological uplift, or simply uplift, is the theoretical prospect of endowing nonhumans with greater capacities, including and especially increased intelligence”(Dvorsky). Uplifting is a controversial topic to discuss. There have been serious debates arguing if the uplift of animals is beneficial or controversial. This paper will focus on both sides explaining them fully.

One of the most common ethical questions that is asked, “Is it morally right?”. Most people would choose to disagree with the followings of uplifting. People hate to see animals being experimented on. Some people may believe that uplifting is a way of progress. The question at hand, Is the uplift of animals beneficial or controversial for mankind? One of major consequences with uplifting is the possible deformities. Uplifting is not an easy task. It could take a thousand trials just to find the correct DNA. Uplifting is serious procedure, and animals will have to go through different and painful surgeries to change their biological state, Although one of benefits of being an enhanced animal, is that the animal can avoid dangerous predators. With an enhanced mind, the animal specie of choice, can protect itself from other animals. In the paper, you will find examples of science fiction in literature and in entertainment. For example, the 2011 film, “Rise of the Planet Apes”. This film proves that animal enhancement can go terribly wrong. This research paper will explore the different recent experiments done in the real world. It may seem like a fantastical idea, but we are getting closer to achieving the impossible.

  • Dvorsky, George (2008). All Together Now: Developmental and ethical considerations for biologically uplifting nonhuman animals. Journal of Evolution and Technology 18 (1):129-142.
Research Project Cover Letter

Download (PPTX, 1.15MB)

 

The Cruel Truth of Uplifting

Imagine, a world where animals are given the opportunity to increase their intelligence. Now, this could only be possible if mankind chooses to. If mankind were to choose to raise animal intelligence to a higher level, then that process would be called uplifting Uplifting is the use of technology or artificial intelligence to improve the overall intelligence of a non-human species. Now, the uplifting or the enhancement of animals can be a controversial topic. There are serious debates that argue the ethics, benefits, and consequences.

One of the most common ethical questions that are asked, Is it morally right? Now I would agree that the experimentation on these beautiful creatures may be harmful and could possibly cause deformities or even kill them. But if this process of uplifting could work on animals, maybe it can work on humans too. One of the possible benefits that uplifting can have is by increasing our own intelligence. According to journalist Baggaley, “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigating a less direct approach: sending electrical pulses into the body. Research indicates that zapping certain peripheral nerves — which connect the brain and spinal cord to the body — may help people learn skills faster. One of the major consequences that we could face during this process of uplifting is the extinction of animals. The uplifting of animals is not an easy task. It could take more than a thousand trials just to find the correct DNA. Not only that but with animals, their bodies are biologically different. They have a different set of organs from us humans. These animals will suffer and it could cost us in the future. We are better off just leaving animals as they are.

For this sensitive topic, I chose to argue that the uplifting of animals is cruel and not needed. Animals are naturally smart. They are capable of building their own homes, foraging for their own food, and repopulating their own kind. They do not need our help to sustain life. They are better off without our help. So for my research, I will be looking into the consequences of animal enhancement. One of the examples that I will be using is the 2011 film, “Rise of the Planet Apes”. This is a prime example of animal enhancement went wrong. This topic is important because it speaks upon the future. The human race is advancing in both science and technology. We should use this power wisely and only for our benefit. To conclude, as the great Winston Churchill once said, “Where there is great power there is great responsibility, where there is less power there is less responsibility, and where there is no power there can, I think, be no responsibility”.

Annotated Bibliography

  • Baggaley, Kate. “These Brain-Boosting Devices Could Give Us Intelligence Superpowers.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 5 May 2017, www.nbcnews.com/mach/technology/these-brain-boosting-devices-could-give-us-intelligence-superpowers-n755006.

This article proposes the invention of brain-boosting for humans. I used it as a reference to make the point that scientists are looking into ways to improve the overall intelligence of our own brains.

  • Dvorsky, George. “The Ethics of Animal Enhancement.” Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, 29 July 2011, ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/dvorsky20110729.

In this essay, George Dvorsky explains his position on animal enhancement. He claims that is an ethical imperative. This helped change my opinion on animal uplifting.

  • Dvorsky, George. “Regulating Uplift to Prevent Abuse.” Religious Opposition to Cloning, Journal of Evolution and Technology, May 2008, jetpress.org/v18/dvorsky.htm.

In his paper, George Dvorsky, claims that uplifting could be done without the abuse of animals. He makes some good points but there is more information arguing that uplifting can be dangerous to animals.

  • Churchill, Winston, “South African Native Raves.” 28 February 1906, The House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, London, UK. Speech.

I used this quote at the end of my paper because I believe that it speaks the truth. Mankind has great amounts of power and we should use it wisely.

 

The Uplift of Animals: Good or Bad?

Over the course of this semester, Science Fiction has introduced to many different concepts that I never knew of. From this course, I got to the opportunity to learn about things such as; utopias, dystopias, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic settings, and artificial intelligence. This course brought my attention to all of these topics. But one topic in particular that I wished we would have covered is the process of uplift or uplifting. Uplifting is basically the use of technology or artificial intelligence to improve the overall intelligence of non-human species. When I was looking for research topics, this term came across and I was immediately hooked. In the 2011 film, “Rise of the Planet Apes” that is based on the book “Planet of the Apes” there are examples of the uplifting process. In this reboot, chimpanzees are given this drug called the ALZ-112. This drug is supposed to be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease but instead it improve one’s intelligence greatly. In this reboot, there is this one chimpanzee named Caesar, who is given the drug and his intelligence increases.

So imagine a world where animals are given the opportunity to increase their intelligence. These animals could communicate with humans, build their own cities, and govern their own cities. With the way science and technology are advancing, this imagined world could be inevitable. But in the science fiction world, everything is a possibility. The kind of research that I will be doing is rather important. From the basic research that I have done already, the uplift of animals could be coming sooner than we actually think. There have been several experiments tested on monkey and mice to advance their intelligence and their memory. This research will be important because it speaks upon the future. Maybe twenty or thirty years ahead into the future, we as a race might be living with enhanced animals. From this topic, I hope to question the reasoning behind the uplift process. Is it ethical? Can be used on humans? Are we pushing it too far? In my own thought, I think the process of uplifting could have a great impact on the animal kingdom. But I also think that there could be consequences.

Bibliography:

This article proposes the idea of uplifting in the real world. There are two different experiments done, where animals have been experimented on. Although, this article does claim that the process of uplifting on animals may be controversial and just a plain fantasy.

This is another article explaining the methods of uplifting and its dangers. This article also states that the process of uplifting is still far into the future. Although, there is a thought that if we were to uplift animals using our human material, we could help resolve diseases we face in the world today. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and memory loss.

This article claims that the uplifting of animals could be morally wrong. If we were to change an animal’s entire biological system there could be some dangerous consequences. We could extinct an entire species just because we do not think they are smart enough. We could sterilize the uplifted animals and they could lose their ability to repopulate.

In this article, it touches upon the moral rights that animals have. It also offers the idea of animals becoming aware of these experiments and it could totally backfire on us. It also mentions that uplifting animals to increase their intelligence may not be the solution to our world problems. As humans, we tend to alter and destroy any type of life we come in contact with. So the concept of uplifting could worse than we expect.

 

Westworld: A Land of Possibilites and Shakespeare Lines

Westworld is an HBO television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. The first season was released in 2016. This television series is based on the film Westworld that was created in 1973 by Michael Crichton. The first episode of Westworld is titled “The Original”. At (00:00:09), is the introduction of the episode. Through this clip, you can see the various creations of Westworld. It so creative and fascinating to observe. At the beginning of the episode, we are introduced to Dolores Abernathy. She is one of the oldest ‘hosts’ in the world of Westworld. Hosts are very lifelike. They were made by faculty members of Westworld. So basically, in Westworld, people/customers pay a hefty amount of money to visit the park.  It is like a giant amusement park where people can experience various storylines/fantasies that they could not experience in the real world. At (00:03:36), one customer is talking about his previous visits to the park.

Dolores is asked the question, what do you think of the guests? At (00:04:10), “The newcomers are just looking for the same thing we are, a place to be free, to stake out our dreams. A place with unlimited possibilities”.  She describes the guests as wanderers who seek out their dreams just like them. At (00:12:00), the mysterious man that is speaking says, “What if I told you that you can’t hurt the newcomers? And that they can do anything they want to you?” Also in this scene, the man in black is seen to be taking bullets to the chest but it does not affect him. So this makes him a customer. But once, the man in black shoots Teddy back, he bleeds out and dies. So Teddy is actually a host like Dolores.

These ‘hosts’ are placed there to make Westworld seem more real. At (00:14:22), all the hosts are in a routine or on a loop. As soon as they die, their lives seem to start over. For example, Dolores wakes up in her bed and Teddy wakes up on the train. At (00:14:53-00:15:12), you can see that Westworld is much larger than it seems. Westworld reminds of a virtual reality game. And in this game, you could do anything possible. At (00:15:12), the various creatures of Westworld are shown. They appear to be so real. I guess that is why it cost so much money to attend the park.

At (00:32:27), Dolores’ father, Peter Abernathy, discovers a modern picture of a woman in Times Square. Both characters have a different reaction towards the photo. Dolores simply ignores it while her father stares at it deeply almost like he is in a trance. Throughout the episode, we see some of the hosts have malfunctioned. At (00:45:25), Peter Abernathy has a malfunction. The reason for his malfunction could be the modern photo he found. He says to Dolores, “I had a question. A question you’re not supposed to ask. Which gave me an answer you’re not supposed to know. Would you like to know the question?” In this scene, his speech is all over the place. He stutters and repeats himself. Dolores had also found him outside. So he did not loop back but stayed in the same spot where she left him. The ‘hosts’ are supposed to stay in the loop, stick to their scripts and have no major improvisations.

Towards the end of the episode, there a lot of Shakespear references. One of the lines I found to be interesting is what Peter Abernathy says to Robert Ford. He says, “When we are born, we cry we are… come to this great stage of fools” (00:58:33). I think that Peter understands that he is just a creation and not a real person. The stage he is referring to is Westworld. He is just a fool being used to entertain the guests. Also at (01:00:57), Peter has a change of tone. He is serious and has an evil look in his eye. He says to Robert Ford, “By most mechanical and dirty hand, I shall have such revenge on you… both. The things I will do. What they are, yet I know not, but they will be the terrors of the Earth. You don’t know where you are, do you? You’re in a prison of your own sins”. I was like in a trance when he said this. It is almost like he has a mind of his own. But Ford claims that is the previous builds coming back to haunt them. It is creepy though that these ‘hosts’ have the ability to access their previous builds.

In this episode of Westworld, there are many acts of rebllion. With the invention of artifical intelligence, it almost as these ‘hosts’ have a mind of their own. Soon, the ‘hosts’ will realize what they are and they will find their way out. It is only the beginning.

A Totalitarian Society

The Handmaid’s Tale is based on totalitarian society. In this society, women that are fertile are being used to serve the Leaders of the Faithful. In this sense, these women will offer their services to these men and provide them with children. These ‘Leaders of the Faithful’  seem to be a large group of men that use the bible as their reasons for controlling their society.

In the beginning, we are introduced to a couple and their child. They are trying to escape the authorities. They eventually are captured. The man is shot, the woman and child are separated and taken away in separate vehicles. In the next scene, we are brought to a women sitting in the window light. At (05:10), she says something that is a bit strange. “A Handmaid wouldn’t get far. It’s those other escapes. The ones you can open in yourself given a cutting edge. Or a twisted sheet and a chandelier”. When I heard this, I was in shock. I was thinking about what things these ‘handmaids’ go through to think about suicide. Why would they need a shattered proof window? Was it because their lives were that miserable that they would resort to cutting themselves?

We learn that this mysterious woman’s name is Offred. She has another name but it is forbidden as many things are forbidden in this new world. She is under the command of Mr. and Mrs. Waterford. Mr. Waterford one of the commanders of the Leaders of the Faithful. We also introduced to the ‘Marthas’. The role of the ‘Marthas’ is different from the ‘handmaids’. They provide other services like cooking and cleaning. Offred is met with another ‘handmaid’ named Ofglen. They walk to the grocery store together. At (13:22), we have a flashback of Offred and her family together at the beach. She is happy and smiling but is then pulled back to reality with a grim look on her face.

At (14:53), Offred says something that is offputting. She wants to scream and grab the nearest machine gun. She either wants to end her life or she wants to murder everyone in the store. At (15:46), Offred and Ofglen find three bodies hanging, a priest, a doctor, and a gay man. Maybe in this totalitarian society, they do not approve of Catholicism, abortion, and homosexuality. At (19:33), it is disturbing that they think that what they are doing is ordinary. The idea behind using women as only surrogates is a disgraceful act and should not be defined as ordinary.

At (30:20), Mr. Waterford is reciting a verse from the bible and is committing a sexual act against Offred. So basically, the bible verse is about Rachael wanting to have children. Since she is unable to have children, Rachael offers her maid, Bilhah, to her husband Jacob. In the same scene, the acts that were said in the bible verse are being done between Mr. Waterford, Offred, and Mr. Waterford. When watching this scene, I was just had a bad feeling. I was thinking about how this is wrong and that it is immoral. Also, Mrs. Waterford did not like this at all. She seemed to be both angry and sad that she could not bear children herself.

At (44:04), all of the handmaids are gathered to watch the persecution of a man that has been convicted of rape. It turns out that the penalty for rape is death. I find this to be very hypocritical. How is it okay for Mr. Waterford to rape Offred but it is unholy for a regular man to rape a pregnant woman? I understand that both actions are wrong and immoral. Is it because that is society’s law? I find it odd that a high-ranking couple is allowed to commit such a cruel act upon an innocent woman just because of the Bible. It does not make sense to me. So then the group of handmaids form a circle and surround the man who has committed rape. He is then beaten and brutalized for his actions. It is barbaric to watch a group of innocent women turn into vicious murderers.

The first episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was a great representation of a totalitarian society. It is an eye-opener. I realized that how similar our reality was in comparison to this possible reality. In one of the scenes, one of the characters is being ridiculed for being raped. And they blame her for it and say that is was God teaching her a lesson. It is relevant in our time because women are speaking about against their sexual offenders and are being ridiculed by others. With this episode in the books, I have one question. What happens when the handmaid has a miscarriage? Are they punished or do they try again?

Tuesday 11/06/18 Class Notes

Announcements:

  • Mid-semester grades have been posted. Also, remember that anyone is welcome to see Professor Belli. If anyone has an unsatisfactory or borderline grade, it is urgent that you visit Professor Belli. 
  • The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction will be held in City Tech’s new building, on Tuesday, November 27th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There will be 15-20 minute presentations on Science Fiction and Interdisciplinarity. There will also be a student roundtable where students can participate in. 

Homework:

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

  • This text is about social justice and the relationship it shares with science fiction. 
  • Octavia Butler was one of the first African American Science Fiction writers. She believed that science fiction was for everyone.
  • Notable Writings:
    • Parable of the Sower
    • Parable of the Talents
    • Xenogenesis series

Freewriting #1:

  • “Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in an exercise of speculative fiction. Organizers and activists struggle tirelessly to create and envision another world, or many other worlds, just as science fiction does… so what better venue for organizers to explore their work than through writing original science fiction stories?”
  • Class DIscussion/Thoughts:
    • There is a clear distinction between an activist and imagining. An activist would take action instead of imagining. 
    • People that are suited in a different job can also write science fiction. Science fiction is not bound to one group of people.
    • There are competing visions. Everyone thinks differently and everyone has a different vision of a perfect world is.
    • Science fiction can depict any possibility. 
    • Examples of Activist: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are both popular activists that had envisioned a world without violence.
    • Activist and organizers try to sell an idea to the public to gather a movement behind them.

Freewriting #2:

  • If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
  • Class DIscussion/Thoughts:
    • Some students decided that they would want to change a personal feature. And some decided that they would change a personal trait. 
    • Examples: Height, Gender, Sex, IQ, and Environment.

Freewriting #3:

  • If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
  • Class Discussion/Thoughts:
    • Change the way people see things. People should no longer see things black and white.
    • People should be open to self-expression.
    • People should be willing to try new things.
    • Hate should be eliminated. If there was no type of discrimination or any prejudice than there would be fewer arguments and wars. 
    • Change the system of the college education. 

Freewriting #4:

  • Class Discussion/Thoughts:
    • In this topic, Utopia is thought to be a perfect imagined place where everything seems to be better.
    • Whenever someone thinks of a Utopia, they imagine a better world.
    • However, there can be utopias where evil trumps all. 
    • An example is Adolf Hitler. His ideal utopia is a world without Jewish people. 
    • An ideal utopia can have complex views. Everyone is different and their visions of a utopia can either be benefit themselves or the world. 

If there is anything missing, please do tell me. I could not remember the last freewriting prompt, so if anyone remembers it, tell me so I could add it to the post. 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Archive

Having a second chance to explore City Tech’s Science Fiction Archive was such an amazing opportunity. Luckily, this time around the class had more time to process everything. Unlike, the first time where we only had like twenty minutes to look at one specific series. This time we got the freedom to view the different kinds of series the science archive held. While I was in the archive, I came across some of Isaac Asimov’s works throughout his years. It was interesting to find out that he created his own science fiction magazine.
The image above is the second issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I picked this up first because of my interest in Asimov and his previous works. “The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov was such a short text but it was so meaningful. I wanted a bit more of Asimov and I came across this magazine and I was hooked. I sat down and started to flip through the magazine. The pages felt a bit dusty. But I could tell there were all sorts of interesting stories and advertisements that were within this almost 200 paged magazine. 
Above is the table of contents. This magazine included all kinds of short stories and even stories by the man himself, Isaac Asimov. The first thing I read was the short story “About Nothing” by Isaac Asimov. It was extremely short. Like it was only a page. But it included all the essentials. It had characters, conflict, a setting, and a not so typical ending. I think that what is so great about Asimov. He can write about something so small but create a concept that is so impactful. Below is the short story:

Also, while flipping through this specific magazine, there were some pages that caught my attention. Below this is a crossword activity and an advertisement for Newport cigarettes. I guess a magazine would not be a magazine if it did not have advertisements.

When I was finished with this magazine, I shifted my attention to the If series. Ever since my first trip to the science fiction archive, I have been interested. The first If magazine that I looked at was from the year 1966. This time I looked at the one from 1974. Although that is only eight years apart, there are a few differences I noticed. The 1974 issue is twenty-five cents more. The structure of the cover is different. And there are more advertisements.

One thing about the If series that I like is their cover art. The artwork is just so remarkable to look at. The colors are dynamic. Artists back then were so driven to make their art stand out. Another thing that I like about the If series is the interaction it has with its fans. In this magazine series, fans have the ability to ask questions about previous stories they have read from previous issues.

This the link to the magazine itself:  https://archive.org/details/1974-12_IF_modified/page/n0

If I had more time inside City Tech’s Science Fiction Archive, I would gladly want to run through the entire If series. I would probably spend several months reading through everything but it would have been worth it. There is one question I still have. How come there some magazines that are in worse condition than others not in the protective sleeve? I think that any magazine that is in a worse condition should be placed in a protective sleeve just so that nothing bad can happen.

A Quiet City: Left Alone With Only One Voice

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” is a short story that is written by Ray Bradbury. The short story was produced in 1950. Bradbury tells a story of a post-apocalyptic event that occurred sometime in the future in the city of Allendale, California. At the beginning of this text, the author offers an eerie feeling. “Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness”(Bradbury 1). It is a bit strange that the clock would be described as an entity. Bradbury describes the clock as being afraid of the loneliness throughout the house.

After breakfast is made automatically inside the kitchen and messages/reminders are said aloud, we learn that house is fully supplied to offer the necessities to its inhabitants. Throughout the text, we learned of the various technological advances that the house supplies. One of the technological advances the constant voice speaking throughout the house as it provides alerts and even the time. Another being the tiny robot mice. “The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust”(Bradbury 1). It is quite odd that mechanical rodents would play the role as the cleaners. Usually, rodents are known to leave a mess within a household. But here they serve.

Bradbury leaves the reader to wonder about what had happened in the city of Allendale, California. “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles”(Bradbury 1). As a reader, I thought of the various situations that could have occurred. Maybe it was something nuclear like a nuclear bomb? A nuclear bomb would do the job of eliminating anything and everything in its way, including people. Like with the family of the house, they were probably wiped out by a nuclear blast. And the blast was so massive that it destroyed all the other homes and left one home standing.

The house seemed capable of operating on its own without the help of a human’s contact. This text reminded me of “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster. Like the machine, the house provided the inhabitants of whatever they needed to survive. Both entities use technology to help advance the survival of humans. But both would soon perish from natural causes. The ‘Machine’ had stopped working because of a few reasons. The neglect of maintenance, Kuno’s influence, and the incompleteness being a few. The ‘House” had been destroyed by a fire that broke out through the kitchen because of a few chemical solvents had spilled onto the stove.

Towards the ending, the ‘House’ is portrayed differently from the ‘Machine. The ‘House’ continues to operate and even starts up its own emergency protocol. The ‘House’ uses all it tools to try and save it from dying. The ‘Machine’ has many defects before finally breaking down.

Ultimately, Bradbury offers a quick and close perspective of what could happen if a nuclear bomb was dropped sometime in future. Human life would go extinct and cities would be destroyed but life will continue on.

The Science Fiction Time Vault

Imagine walking into a time vault. And inside this vault is a collection of sacred texts. Now, these texts have come from all over the world. So it is crucial that these texts are kept in a safe space. This archive/vault is not your regular library. No, it is a safe haven for this collection of texts. By visiting the City Tech Science Fiction archive, I can say that it was a fascinating experience. Being surrounded by books, novels, magazines and etc. was such a wondrous feeling. By stepping into the archive I felt like I was stepping into a piece of history. There were magazines from like the 1930s. That was eighty-eight years ago! Looking at an archive online is totally different from standing inside one. I felt like I was in a forbidden library. Since the collection is so large, I wonder how long it took for the anonymous donor to collect all these types of texts. I wonder what this person had to go through just to collect. DId they have to go to an auction and bid on a certain series? Were they given to as a present from someone? But I must say that it is truly impressive that this person had a collection so massive. If the location was larger it could be a great spot for science fiction individuals to have a taste of the history of science fiction.

The magazine that I chose at the Science FIction archive was from the If series. It was issue 108 from Vol. 16, No. 11. It dates back to November 1966. The magazine was published by the Galaxy Publishing Corporation, owned by Robert M. Guinn. Frederik Pohl, who was responsible for the final content of each If magazine, was the main editor from January 1962 to May 1969. I chose this magazine because it caught my attention quickly. The cover displays two mechanisms or robots of some kind in hand to hand combat. As I saw this cover, so many ideas ran through my mind. By doing some research, I found that the artwork was from a short fiction titled “A Code For Sam” written by Lester del Rey. The short fiction could be found inside this issue of If. The artwork itself was produced by an artist named Dan Adkins. 

Inside this magazine, you can find four novelettes. A novelette is a short novel, typically one that is light and romantic or sentimental in character. There is also one serial. A serial is a work of fiction that is published in smaller, sequential installments. For example, the Harry Potter series is a serial of fantasy novels. Each book continues the story from the beginning to the end. The magazine also includes four short stories. A short story is a story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter than a novel. The magazine also includes an editorial by Frederik Pohl and two features from the fans of science fiction.

A few things had caught my attention while flipping through the If magazine. The novelette, “A Code For Sam”, by Lester del Rey was an interesting read. It mentioned a code of ethics for robots and how robots must follow a set of laws to live together amongst humans. While reading I felt the pages, and they were rougher than the pages we use today. The smell of the magazine reminded me of Kellog’s Frosted Flakes. The artwork from “A Code For Sam” was truly amazing. The artist for the two pieces above did an awesome job at capturing the different shades and using the various strokes to capture a reflection. The advertisement above was straight-forward. It reminded me of my days of reading comic books and coming across advertisement just like this.

“If” magazine was a United States Digest magazine. It has 175 issues starting from March 1952 to December 1974. It has been in circulation for 22 years until its last publication. It was founded by James L. Quinn. The “If” series had a total of eight editors throughout its run as a magazine.

From my experience at the Science FIction archive, I can ultimately say that even though it was a short visit it got me wondering about other archives and what they hold. I hope to visit the Science Fiction archive sooner and I hope I to get my hands on some interesting space novelettes.