Author Archives: Karen

A Rapidly Growing World

Science fiction is a broad subject matter that attempts to tackle many of our unanswered questions. When I think about what Science fiction consists of I usually think about what it means to be alive or what makes a person alive and usually when in context to science fiction this trope talks about a world were humanity is being taken over by man made machines that have become indistinguishable to humanity it self.  My research project will try to tackle the development of how man tries to defy our natural environment. By this I mean humanities inability to conform to how the world tries to regulate population. As scary of a topic and at the same time slightly clinical it is inarguable that humanities population is steadily growing to the point where it is starting to become difficult to sustain such large populations of humans.

Throughout science fiction this such problem is constantly faced both in a post apocalyptic setting like in Children of Men  where humanity is no longer able to bare children for unknown reasons, but one can also this sort of problem being faced in stories like “The Last Question” where although man is aware that humanity is coming to an end because of their inability to decreases there rapidly growing population they still go ahead and figure out way for man to become immortal.

Although both these stories are taken from hypothetical worlds they still reflect what people in the real world are thinking. With the help of document such as “The Perils of Population Growth” by Aziz Haniffa one starts to understand that this idea of the dangers of population growth isn’t a new one. Along with dangers is the amount of people living on Earth being dangerous the problem doesn’t stop there because with larger populations the growth of pollution also grows. When people think about the growth of a world its difficult to really see the bigger picture what this could mean. One hardly thinks about the fact that with larger populations the water supplies and natural resources start to dwindle as well. In the ” The World Water Crisis and International Security” written by Harald Frederiksen these such problems come into question.

Not only does man question the consequences of what rapid population growth can mean for humanity but we also look for way to outsmart our in environment as well in “Dome, sweet home: climate shelters past, present and future” written by Rachael Squire ect.  its clear  that man is trying to find other viable alternatives for when the earth becomes unsustainable. Its difficult to think so deep into the future that we see all the faults that man has been accountable for but when it comes to population growth it starts to become abundantly clear that this problem branches out into many more.

Bibliography:

Asimov Isaac November 1956  “The Last Question” https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/belli-f2018-eng2420/files/2018/10/The-Last-Question-Issac-Asimov.pdf

This story tells of a future where the world is constantly changing. Over the cores of millions of a years a question is constantly asked and its how does humanity prevent the decay of the universe only for the question to be solved once  man is no longer around.

Frederiksen, H. D. (2009). THE WORLD WATER CRISIS AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY. Middle East Policy, 16(4), 76-89. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4967.2009.00416.x

This article talks about the dangers of population growth.More importantly it speaks to the dangers and affects of population growth and how due to it mans natural resources are blundering. This article also approaches how all of the world is in danger of being affected by such problems.

Haniffa, Aziz. (1994, Mar 25). The perils of population growth. India Abroad Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/362712268?accountid=28313

This article addresses the problems with population growth and the rapid acceleration at which it is being done. It also sheds light on the consequences of population in places such as India.

James P.D Published 1992  Children of Men https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Children_of_Men#References

This wiki pages gives you a general look of what the story is about. This story is about a dystopian future that no longer is capable of baring children.

Squire Rachael ,ect. 23 NOVEMBER 2018  Dome, sweet home: climate shelters past, present and future from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07513-8

This article approaches how man is trying to face the rapid population problem as well as the problem of our depleting planet by finding alternative living situations. It also approaches our history with seeking alternative means for a hospitable living environment.

 

Two different worlds

Westworld is a show on HBO that brings to light a world where artificial intelligence has been capable of looking and acting human. With this people have created an amusement park known as Westworld  where people with the monetary means are capable of living out there western lifestyle fantasy. It is clear from the shows beginning that there is already a lot of questioning about what makes something human which brings in this idea that if the A.I are incapable of even hurting a living fly then they are still A.I. For the most part this show centers around the idea that humanity centers around violence and that even though Westworld caters to the whole family people mainly go there to live out there most deprived fantasies like rape and murder. 

What struck me most about the show overall was the way humanity was depicted. In the show people at first go because of curiosity but after that there seems to be this pattern that the guest only come back to wreck havoc that otherwise would be illegal in the real world. In the first episode in 54:47 one of the parks guests kills one of the A.I because in his narrative his an outlaw that needs to be brought to justice. What’s interesting about this scene is the reaction of the guest himself because rather then being in shock his proud and treats it as a joke. “Look at that I shot him through the neck and his pal here too, look at her wriggle, you go get a photographer” Even though all the guests are aware that the park workers aren’t real people its still surprising how unaffected they are to the fact that something that looks so real and acts like a person doesn’t  make them even flinch but rather gives them joy. Which also comes to question what happens when the people in the park can no longer recognize who truly is a guest and who’s an A.I. At this point I also wonder how they can even tell now to begin with. IN in another scene in 15:48 two women are taking about Teddy and how lifelike he seems even though his supposed to be an A.I that more closely acts to a guest but even then they can tell he isn’t real. It isn’t clear how people and A.I are distinguished but it is clear that people in enjoy that there lifelike because it feeds into there  fantasy.

Throughout the show there is also a constant connection that violence equals humanity and that to keep the A.I in the park inhuman they make them incapable of hurting any living thing. More than this they make them incapable of forming any outside connections and erase there memory everyday so that they relive everyday without question. in 46:34 Dolores one of the parks A.I sees that her father has done something out of character which is to stay up all night and contemplate his reality after finding a photo of someone in the outside world which is foreign to them.This effectively breaking him down and forces him to remember everything that has happened to them. The fact that these characters do seem to feel fear and love only brings to light that the only thing keeping them inhuman is there inability to remember what happens to them. In 47:25 Dolores dad seems to remember everything and implores his daughter to run showing that they’re capable of free thought and emotion, that even they’re programmed a certain way they are still  capable of overriding that program. This show really helps to question humanities motivations and how sinister they can be when given the freedom.

Moving into the future through the past

The Handmaids Tale is a television show based on a book by the same name told from the perspective of one of the handmaids Offred originally known as June in a dystopian future were society has digressed and women no longer have a say in how the country is run. Although the story does seem to focus a lot on religion it has just a strongly  centers around reproduction and the inability to conceive.

From the very beginning we are introduced to this idea that in this society the ability to have children is rare that the main objective of a handmaid is to provide to children for the powerful in society. More than that we are introduced to a society were the inability to provide children is fully put on the women and rather then the viewing the capturing and enslavement of these once free women as unjust they are forced to believe that it is a privilege. This is seen around 17:43 were June is having a flashback to when she was put in a school to properly learn how to be a handmaid. Throughout this scene Aunt Lydia is telling all the women captured why women are now unable to have children by describing how they had become dirty and no longer pure

Within in this society it’s easy to see how women no longer have a voice and that the only real power any of them have is the ability to reproduce but even then this power is still constantly checked to the point were even if you are capable conceiving it doesn’t guarantee you safety. Around the start of minute 19  we see Janine speak out against the ideas being told to her by aunt Lydia and rather being safe is shocked in the neck as both a demonstration to the rest of the women their but also to prove a point that  just because you can conceive doesn’t mean you’re safe.

Further into the show in 41:21 the handmaids are brought into a ritual and when they get there June talks to Alma about there commanders. In this seen Alma talks about her commanders inability to conceive and even though this might be true the blame will still fully be on her for inability to provide a child. The first episode really shows the levels to which toxic masculinity can truly wreck among a society and the levels to which they go to hide this fact all together. The people at the top of this society might put religion as the center focus of there society but is only done so to mask there true nature as well as to gain full power be cause what better way then to use ones faith against one another, a faith that helps to the oppressors of this society at the top without question.

Archive exploration

This past Thursday we were allowed to really go into the archive and explore at our leisure. Much like the first time we visited the archive upon entrance we were lead into a much too small room filled to the brim with books and stacks of boxes. visually speaking the room is nothing extraordinary. It is just like any other room, what differentiates the room from another in the library is whats  contained with in the shelf’s of the archive.Rows upon rows of the history that is science fiction. When I think about science fiction the first thing to come to mind isn’t magazines from 60s but rather movies and books. It strange to think of a world were science fiction was basically only limited to the pages of magazines and yet when we enter that room on the second floor of the library that is exactly what we are exposed to, the history genre that was just starting to blossom. 

Unlike our last encounter in the archive this one differed vastly because we were able to really see what the archive held. No longer were we limited to just the titles of these important science fiction magazines. We were able to really see what the archive held and choose what interested us specifically. One of the most striking things about all the magazines in particular was the cover art on each magazine that brought focus to a particular tale held in the confines of the pages within the magazine.

The particular magazine I had browsed through was one of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction magazine released in October of 1984. What drew me most to this particular issue was the way the cover and how the colors suggested more of a fantastical color scheme rather then that of one usually provided to science fiction. Along with this came the  striking difference of what the cover actually held, to faces mirroring each other done in sharp line and geometrical shapes.

It’s strange to see images such as these in our everyday texts. This cover in particular captured my attention but along the rows in the archive this cover is just one of many extraordinary works of art made to capture a readers interest’s and convey a deeper meaning to those who witness it.

The stories bond with in the magazine were also captivating in which they told stories of space travel along with the desires of the people with in them.When I first started going through the magazine what stood out most was the way it was sectioned. Filled with short stories that told of a desire for a new time, but still through it an annoyance persisted, ads. Pages devoted to advertasiments that tried to mirror the magazine. Told in ways of stories that would your attention and placed throughout the magazine in a way that reminded me of commercial breaks on television.

Persisting on I got to a story set in space in a futuristic world one can only dream about the story was “Moon Madness” and even though the story took place in a futuristic setting that is yet to be allowed to us still past tales persisted. The story was a boy who was lured to the moon but was being kidnapped for the purposes of money. To me even though the story took place years into the future what captivated me was the way the story told of old wants and desires, to be rich, to get revenge and to live forever. Although the setting evoloved the way people thought and acted in the story didn’t.

Archive Trip #2

Guidlines for archive:

  • Only take out one book at a time
  • Don’t touch/take out older texts that are crumbling or falling apart or texts that are in plastic sleeves 
  • Don’t touch or take out any  of the City Tech archive belongings 
  • No bringing in pens/pencils or food or drinks into the archive 
  • The text to the left of the text you’re taking out must be put down 
  • Don’t use your phone for anything other then in reference to the archive 

Quick Fact:

Magazines that started to be printed after pulp magazine on glossy paper similar to what we see now a days were called glossies 

Homework:

Write a blog post reflecting on your experience in the archive focusing more on the texts and emotional experience instead of just the physical experience. 

Extra Credit:

Write a blog post for National Day of Writing on why you write. Must be turned in on Saturday 20 October. If written before then make sure to change the publishing date for October 20. 

For Tuesday: 

We will be focusing artificial intelligence and establishing themes. 

We will start reviewing for the mid term after Tuesday 

Abnormal House 

The story “August 2026 There Will Come Soft Rains” is a short story about a smart house that does everything for its owners. What I found interesting was how the story first starts, in a way were you’re expecting someone to appear and take control of the story only to quickly discover that the main protagonist is the house and that something dire has happened to the rest of humanity. “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.”(1). These lines from the story although they don’t exactly tell you what happened to the rest of the world are strong enough to tell you that the fact that this house is even standing is an oddity and although we don’t know and wont find out what happened I felt that the story told us these thing to make us aware of how lonely the house really is. Constantly having people to take care of and one day there all gone and even though the house doesn’t explicitly state that it has feeling or any real understanding of its inhabitants you still get the sense thats its very much aware that somethings off. “The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.”(2) ” The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing as the house realized that only silence was here.”(2). These lines from the story show just how much the house relied on its humans and at the standard at which they held them to. Not only this but it shows how much the house really is aware of as well as the type of relationship that the humans had with their house were the house viewed them as god like figures. 

I also liked the way the story viewed and discussed humanity overall. Throughout the story the main focal point is the house and how advanced it is that it does everything to make its inhabitants feel comfortable and although this is true the only ones who notice anythings a miss is the dog and the house while the rest of the world doesn’t notice or doesn’t care and even then the house doesn’t fully comprehend whats happening and continuous with its daily routine. The poem that is being read by the house I feel like in a way also foreshadowed for its inhabitants what would happen if one day they just disappeared. “Quite music rose to the back the voice. “Sara Teasdale. As I recall, your favorite…”(3). These words spoken by the house help to give us an insight into who their people were. Not only did they like poetry but they also had this fascination with what the world would look like once they were gone. I think that this thought is arguably one we all have at one point or another but what makes it interesting in the story is how well the poem depicted what the world would be like after humanity demise. Overall I think that the story was interesting because it was put in a time unlike the other stories we read. In this story the perspective is not only taken from a futuristic invention but also takes place in a time were the main focus isn’t what wiped everyone out but rather from the worlds rebuilding period. 

The future in the past 

Last Thursday we were able to venture into the science fiction archives of City Tech.  In preparation for the adventure we watched videos and read about the what was really in the archive and why it was important and even though we did these things I don’t think we were really sure what to expect. When finally allowed into the room my first initial thought was that it was a pretty basic room which smelled of old paper and was filled to the brim with as much material that could be fit. Even though the room wasn’t anything extraordinary what set it apart from everything in the library was all the information stored in the thousands of books organized by dates when science fiction was really coming into its own. 

The history hidden behind each and every story shows  such a different view point of the people of the time. When we think of the past we tend to forget what the people thought of the future. It was so easy to get swept up in all the stories contained in the magazines from the past as well as easy to how things have really changed in the way we absorb information. When we were told this collection contained magazine the first thing I envisioned was  soft paper minded paper that was yellowish and falling apart but what we really got were this small book like magazines that really focused on the stories and tales of the writers as well as the readers itself. In the Amazing Stories magazine I encountered something that really stood out to me was the section in which readers could write the editors about their magazine. More importantly what stood out in that section was that the first readers response was a complaint about a past story and how they didn’t always agree with the stories being told. For the most part in magazines editors tend to leave out complaints about there work so it was surprising to see that this magazine valued all forms of readers opinions. 

Moving through all the sections of the archive was in a lot of ways moving through time. We got see the opinions and overall thoughts and values of the people at that time. In the Amazing Stories magazine titled “The Iron Virgin” by C.H.Thames it was easy to see how women were viewed at the times and though the story sounds pretty sexiest with it’s attracting comment of “treachery had red hair and soft curves” it also shows how normal it was for the time after all it was published in 1956. Though these tales were based of fiction and hope of a different future they still reflected the views of the past. They told the stories of a different time under the light of a different future. 

Overall the archive which looked like a simple room proved to be much more then that. It told stories of the past with the hopes of progression in the future. If I could read all the stories in the archive I have no doubt that it would give me an in-depth perspective on the past and how things have changed in unexpected ways. Science fiction is a weird way of telling history but its probably one of the most telling ways as well. The archive reflects the past and the future in a cohesive unexpected way 

Class Notes 9/27 “The Star” and Metropolis discussion

Update: 

The last blog posted will be graded first as it is the one most relevant to our class discussions.Grades for the blogs can be viewed on the individual blog its self and you can view all your grades on the dashboard. All past work will be graded by the end of the week. 

Annocements: 

Professor’s pick winner is Christopher Navarrete and Tyler Yuen. Reasons being showed clear and consist work as well as was able to properly referrer to other works while still primarily focusing on the text at hand. 

Tips for assignments: 

  • When referencing  other content/texts make it minimal and bring the focus back to content/text at hand. 

The Star:

  • previous class discussion on “The Star” left on the topic of the Martines 

Focal points for this class discussion:

  • We focused on the ending of the story

Narrator:

  • In the end the narrator makes it clear they weren’t going to discuss the aftermath on earth after the Star hit. 
  • The narrator for the first time directs the audience at the end of page 4. “But you must not imagine because I have spoken of people praying…”(4) 

The Mathematician: 

  • Thoughts  on the Mathematician: seems kind of mad, might be under the influence of drugs that prevent him from sleeping, has come to terms with death. 
  • First introduced in page 3 paragraph 3 
  • Predicts the estimated arrival of the star but is not the fist person to figure out that the star is arriving. On the top of page 3 the school boy is shown actually figuring out that the star is arriving first. 
  • In paragraph 5 page 4 the Mathematician is seen challenging nature “Earthquakes, volcanic outbreaks, cyclones, sea waves, floods, and a steady rise in temperature to I know not what limit”—so prophesied the master mathematician.”
  • Important lines he states:
  • “Circumstances have arisen—circumstances beyond my control,”(4) 

These lines show how the situation is of the control of man. 

  • “Man has lived in vain”(4). These lines show the pointlessness of their existence

as well as the development of the apocalyptic terms. 

The Stars impact in the story:

  • The disastrous impact of the Star are starting to be seen in pages 4-6 
  • In page 4 paragraph 2 show the beginnings of humanity truly impacted by the stars approach “And everywhere the world was awake” 
  • People in the story have started to turn to religion for answers to problems This closely relating to “The Machine Stops” were when their demise is undeniable they turn to any sort of religion.
  • The way the Martines describe the destruction happening on Earth suggest that they’ve seen worse devastation. Class theorized that they might be comparing it to the devastation that happened to Neptune. 
  • The way the Martines view the devastation is similar to the way humans viewed the devastation in Neptune putting into perspective how vast and spars the galaxy really is.   
  • In page 5 paragraph 2 we see the destruction happening is parallel with global warming in the real world with the ocean levels rising and sporadic weather only in the story it is at a much more accelerated rate. 
  • The five stages of grief are also seen throughout the entirety of the story and are promptly developed. 
  • Denial 
  • Anger 
  • Bargaining 
  • Depression 
  • Acceptance 

Side Notes:

  • The apocalyptic story beyond the 40’s truly started to develop because after the world wars people started to create story that dealt with the technology we created having the potential of killing us. 
  • In science fiction the importance of the science being accurate doesn’t have as much importance as consequences of the science its self. 
  • All the students in the story are male showing depths of gender inequality at this time in history. 

Metropolis:

Background information:

Directer Fritz Lang visited New York to draw ideas from the New York City skyline. This developing the Art Deco style used throughout the film which can be seen in buildings like the Chrysler building. The movie which was created in 1927 was done in the style of German expressionism.The movie was given to the Americans because of fear of it being seen as subversive, which most of science fiction is but given that it was closely released to both world wars would send a negative message. The film is also done in black and white and is the first full length feature film lasting 2 hours and 33 minutes. 

Characters: 

  • Freder: Father 
  • Maria: saint, speaks hopes to workers, belongs to worker city 
  • Multiple Maria’s 
  • Fake Maria: causes destruction and uprising 
  • Grot: Leader of workers 

Thoughts on Movie: 

  • The movie was thought to drag and be predictable, at times was boring. Its positives was its style (art deco) as well as its depiction of human nature, slavery, class devisions and rebellion which was not only represented in the people but also in the style. 
  • The opening were the city is shown was thought to have similarities to the world shown in Futurama where everything looks shiny and new as well as industrial. 

Aspects of the movie:

  • Two worlds are depicted one which is the worker city and is all the way below the city and Metropolis which is for the elite and is thought of as a paradise, busy and full of action and fast moving technology. 
  • The two worlds connects to the painting we saw which depicted moving progress 
  • we only see these two worlds collide in the scene were the world above is pierced by the world below 
  • The shift change shows depression and robotic movement amongst the people as well as their lack of freedom. Showing personification of the machine its self. 
  • The clock only shows 20 hours which shows that the workers life is structured around work unlike the world above. 

Vocabulary:

  • Rudderless: Lacking a rudder, no movement 
  • Art Deco: the predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colors, and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.
  • German Expressionism: German Expressionism consisted of a number of related creative movements in Germany before the First World War that reached a peak in Berlin during the 1920s. 
  • Subversive:seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.

Homework and other information :

  • No blog this week, but there is a short video and text that must be viewed and read in preparation for Thursday. The text should be taken from the link provided so that all pages concur with everyone els.
  • Their might be a test 
  • Bring in a scene to discuss about Metropolis 
  • Google/familiarize yourself with Marry shelly author of Frankenstein  which is thought to be the first form of science fiction. A lot of similarities can be seen through the movie and the book. 

A mimicking mind

In “The Star” its interesting how people are shown as copies of each other with no real further thinking. “And voice after voice repeated, “It is nearer,” and the clicking telegraph took that up, and it trembled along telephone wires, and in a thousand cities grimy compositors fingered the type. “It is nearer.”(2). Throughout the entirety of the story its constantly repeated by many how the star approaches and at the same time no one does anything about it. Most people take on an approach  of resignation and choose rather to stare at the unknown approaching rather then figure out what to do.In a lot of ways I think people are very much still the same but at the same time I feel like this story didn’t really capture what its really like to be human because curiosity has fueled who we are as people and I find it hard to believe that people wouldn’t really question what was happening to there world.

The Star Blog

“The Star” written by H.G. Wells recounts the story of a comet approaching earth and the way people react to this impending danger that they dent really realize is actually a danger to them yet. What I found interesting in this story is the way it takes on  a completely opposite approach to that of “The Machine Stops”. Whereas in this tale people are renouncing a more scientific approach to understanding there dilemma and ridiculing the mathathmation for his understanding in ” The Machine Stops” they renounce the idea of more spiritual thinking and in both cases this sort of thinking leads to both populations demise. 

I find it interesting how in both of these tales isolation in one form or another plays a key role in the way they experience problems. In this story the beginning tells us how isolating the solar system can be and because of this it brings with it ignorance of what lays beyond the solar system. “Few people without a training in science can realise the huge isolation of the solar system.” (page 1 Wells). The very begging of the second paragraph alone tries to make us comprehend how even as we are surrounded by planets and people we as humans are still alone. The bleakness of the sentiment illustrates how even as the entirety of the human race was dealing with the same issues they were still alone in their predicament without anyone to really help them face this obstacle. Even as this monumental issue is fast approaching it still isolation amongst people as a whole. Rather then coming together and understanding the issue at hand people divide themselves and ridiculed those among them that shared an opinion or some insight. “The master mathematician’s grim warnings were treated by many as so much mere elaborate self-advertisement…So, too, barbarism and savagery, already tired of the novelty, went about they’re nightly business”(page 5 Wells). Even as the impending danger approaches the people in this narrative lose respect for the novelty and continue there lives as if nothing strange is occurring. 

Overall I didn’t really understand the point of the story at hand. Even though you get the sense of a dividing humanity in the tale it isn’t really expressed as a detrimental factor to the story. Yes, the stars approaching rapidly but there isn’t much that can be done about it. The issues at hand are inevitable and with it no further development is presented amongst the few characters. I feel like the story in a lot of ways was pointless because even with the problem they presented with no real solutions the people just kind of had to deal with what was happening to them. Even the Martians offered little elevation to the story as to what could possibly be the meaning as to why this occurred. The story overall felt more like a shrug of shoulders were this is whats happening and thats about. I find that the story is very irritating especially in the beginning because you don’t really get the sense of whats happening or even where.