World Building in Science Fiction

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Abstract:

This paper discusses the various implications that world-building in science fiction has on society. The paper will question the importance of science fiction and how its existence can address major issues and bring them into public eyes. The various examples relate back to the overlying claim that science fiction has the power to stimulate discussion of major issues. This ranges from race and gender to the ethics of artificial intelligence. This paper will quote famous science fiction writers and connect how then and now, the thought process of science fiction has not changed.

The research goes into detail about how science fiction in various sub-genres of science fiction has brought up major issues. In Star Trek, they have the first on-screen interracial kiss and for the time period, this was unheard of and is one of the many examples of how major issues that were frowned upon are now being talked about. Overall the research shows the various implications of world-building like in Star Trek and how it can be a platform for radical change. It can be seen that science fiction isn’t the answer to all problems, but a way to scope out various possibilities and talk about what was never talked about in public.

Could Star Trek and other science fiction works be used as a way to address major issues in society?

Proposal:

The last 50 years of human history have been plagued with issues ranging from racism to homophobia, but when media became more mainstream and movies and television became available worldwide, it brings the question could this mainstream media be a tool to address many of these issues. Many works of writing have influenced society, but television and movies give a visual perspective of the story and for many people, it was easier to understand and analyze.

Star Trek has been around since the 1960s and it has come a long way since its original series, but throughout the franchise, they have used episodes to address certain issues or use allegorical references to discuss certain topics. Tv and movies have become the modern outlet for science fiction and Star Trek and like many other works of science fiction, try to incorporate real-life situations and events Into their episodes or movie. For Example, in Star Trek white lead kissing a black woman was unheard of and like many other issues, Star Trek wanted to push the Barriers of race, religion, ethics, and science.

Sources:

Books, Photograph courtesy National Geographic, and Photograph courtesy CBS/National Geographic Books. ‘Star Trek’ Is Right About Almost Everything. 16 June 2016, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/06/star-trek-science-space-astronomy-technology-fazekas/.

This article discusses Star Trek and how the last 50 years of Star Trek have had such an impact on society. They touch on how Star Trek has inspired innovators over the years to create the technology that we use regularly today. This is important to the argument because the article provides an in-depth look at the Star Trek Universe and talks about the impacts Star Trek has made over the past decades. This is essential in understanding how worldbuilding in science fiction has made such an impact.

Cunningham, Joel. “Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books with a Powerful Message of Social Justice.” The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 21 Jan. 2019, www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/20-sci-fi-fantasy-books-message-social-justice/.

This Barnes and Noble article is a trusted bookseller and provides reliable information. The article discusses some of the instances of science fiction pushing the bounds on major issues. For example, Captain Kirk and Uhura kissing on Star Trek, which was one of the first bi-racial kisses on screen. This is important to the research because it addresses some of the evidence that Science fiction has a strong influence on society.

Dunbar, Brian. “The Science of Star Trek.” NASA, NASA, 18 July 2016, www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/star_trek.htm

This article makes references to various technological developments designed in Star Trek and how each development has impacted real-life scientists and institutions. For example, they talk about androids and how the android character in Star Trek has pushed scientists to develop something very similar. This is important to the research paper because the article helps analyze the major impact Star Trek’s world-building has had on society technologically and culturally.

Gunn, Eileen. “How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 1 May 2014, www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/how-americas-leading-science-fiction-authors-are-shaping-your-future-180951169/.

This article like many in this field discusses how science fiction isn’t about predicting the future but contemplating the various futures. It also addresses some of the major impacts that science fiction has had on society like in current days many tech companies have science fiction writers talk to innovators to help inspire and come up with new ideas. This is important to the research because it helps break down the value of science fiction and its connection to everything.

Halter, Casey. “8 Ways Star Trek Helped Change Science and the Future as We Know It.” SYFY WIRE, SYFY WIRE, 2 Jan. 2019, www.syfy.com/syfywire/8-ways-star-trek-helped-change-science-and-the-future-as-we-know-it.

One of the reasons people love space travel is because of the unknown element. While society is still even today at the beginning of space travel, there are still logistics to figure out and in this article, a discussion of the logistics of space travel is heavily talked about. This is important to the research paper because it further discusses how world-building in Star Trek has helped scientists even today create a plan for what to do if Humans were able to travel across the stars.

Howell, Elizabeth. “Star Trek: History & Effect on Space Technology.” Space.com, Space, 12 July 2018, www.space.com/31802-star-trek-space-tech.html.

This article focuses mainly on the first Star Trek series released in 1966, which is focused on space exploration and exploring new worlds. It discusses how much of the original show was also created as allegories to discuss the major issues in the 1960s. This is important to the paper because it goes into the social and cultural effects that this franchise has had on society as well as the need to explore space.

Kassé, Sam. “Worldbuilding in a Novel: 120+ World Building Questions to Get It Right.” Self Publishing School, 12 Nov. 2020, self-publishingschool.com/worldbuilding/.

This article dives into the techniques for world-building and how creating a fictional world is not a simple feat and requires excessive planning, but the harder issue is to expand a created world without creating plot holes or losing the theme of the fictional world. This article is helpful to this topic because it addresses the struggles in world-building and helps show how the Star Trek franchise has expanded successfully and maintained its theme of space exploration and united peace.

 

Mission. “A Look Into The Future: The Value of Science Fiction.” Medium, Mission.org, 12 Apr. 2019, medium.com/the-mission/a-look-into-the-future-the-value-of-science-fiction-3ac1519de7d9.

In this piece, they talk about the many great sayings of famous science fiction writers. For example, Issac Asimov said “No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.” This like much of the article addresses whether science fiction could be a tool to address major issues. This is important to the research paper because like many articles this helps uncover the true nature of science fiction and the relevance it has in everyday life.

Science Fiction: How World building in Star Trek has lead to major scientific developments and cul?

Proposal:

The last 50 years have brought forth some of the greatest advancements in human history and this begs the question if the works of science fiction have influenced these great advancements. For example, Star Trek is a science-fiction franchise that began in the 1960s and is still growing today.  Over the course of the franchise, many scientific advancements have been released based on concepts created in this fictional world. Worldbuilding is a heavy subject in science-fiction and with Star Trek being so vast and covering so much time, it has many connections to many events and advancements in society.

In Star Trek, the story based on Gene Roddenberry envisions a future where humans can travel through space and are in a united coalition with alien planets. Through this world, the producers were able to create what they envisioned existing in the future. This like many other works of science fiction have influenced many scientists to push the bounds of science and technology. The 1960s was the beginning of the age of the computer and with tv production gaining attraction, it was a perfect time to release a show that takes place in the future, and just as the world is about to make so many scientific breakthroughs.

Sources:

Books, Photograph courtesy National Geographic, and Photograph courtesy CBS/National Geographic Books. ‘Star Trek’ Is Right About Almost Everything. 16 June 2016, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/06/star-trek-science-space-astronomy-technology-fazekas/.

This article discusses Star Trek and how the last 50 years of Star Trek have had such an impact on society. They touch on how Star Trek has inspired innovators over the years to create the technology that we use regularly today. This is important to top the argument because the article provides an in-depth look at the Star Trek Universe and talks about the impacts Star Trek has made over the past decades. This is essential in understanding how worldbuilding in science fiction has made such an impact.

Dunbar, Brian. “The Science of Star Trek.” NASA, NASA, 18 July 2016, www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/star_trek.htm

This article makes references to various technological developments designed in Star Trek and how each development has impacted real-life scientists and institutions. For example, they talk about androids and how the android character in Star Trek has pushed scientists to develop something very similar. This is important to the research paper because the article helps analyze the major impact Star Trek’s world-building has had on society technologically and culturally.

Halter, Casey. “8 Ways Star Trek Helped Change Science and the Future as We Know It.” SYFY WIRE, SYFY WIRE, 2 Jan. 2019, www.syfy.com/syfywire/8-ways-star-trek-helped-change-science-and-the-future-as-we-know-it.

One of the reasons people love space travel is because of the unknown element. While society is still even today at the beginning of space travel, there are still logistics to figure out and in this article, a discussion of the logistics of space travel is heavily talked about. This is important to the research paper because it further discusses how world-building in Star Trek has helped scientists even today create a plan for what to do if Humans were able to travel across the stars.

Howell, Elizabeth. “Star Trek: History & Effect on Space Technology.” Space.com, Space, 12 July 2018, www.space.com/31802-star-trek-space-tech.html.

This article focuses mainly on the first Star Trek series released in 1966, which is focused on space exploration and exploring new worlds. It discusses how much of the original show was also created as allegories to discuss the major issues in the 1960s. This is important to the paper because it goes into the social and cultural effects that this franchise has had on society as well as the need to explore space.

Kassé, Sam. “Worldbuilding in a Novel: 120+ World Building Questions to Get It Right.” Self Publishing School, 12 Nov. 2020, self-publishingschool.com/worldbuilding/.

This article dives into the techniques for world-building and how creating a fictional world is not a simple feat and requires excessive planning, but the harder issue is to expand a created world without creating plot holes or losing the theme of the fictional world. This article is helpful to this topic because it addresses the struggles in world-building and helps show how the Star Trek franchise has expanded successfully and maintained its theme of space exploration and united peace.

Class Notes 11/5/20

Discuss Election

      • “Cautious Optimism”
      • Releasing the pressure
      • Fragmented way of doing elections
      • Suppression of voting
        • Trump Lawsuits
      • Lincoln Project
        • Against Trump
        • Made up of Republicans including Michael Steele

Class Notes Schedule 

  • 11/10 Tommy
  • 11/12 Khoury
  • 11/17 Paulo
  • 11/19 Symposium?
  • 12/1 Oscar
  • 12/3 Edward
  • 12/8 Mafrurza
  • 12/15 Derrick
  • 12/17 Ronald

Next Week

  • Afrofuturism
    • Three Texts
      • Space is the Place main text
      • Annotations of all three texts
        • May or may not be collected
  • Survey Due Sunday 11/8
  • Possible quiz Tuesday
  • More texts Thursday

Annotative Bibliography

  • 2 sources due next Thursday
  • Small Excerpt of source
  • Must relate to Race + Science Fiction
  • What does it add to the conversation?
  • How does it tackle science fiction + race?

Primary Vs. Secondary Source

  • The primary source is first-hand information
  • A secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere.

Classes in Spring 2021

  • Film through literature
    • English 2400
    • Tuesday/Thursday
  • English 3302
    • Self Help Literature

Individual research paper

  • We will work on throughout the rest of the semester

 

See You Yesterday

  • Consequences of time travel
  • Ethical + moral responsibility of technology

“Greatest philosophical + ethical debate of modern age”

  • Unintended Consequences

Juxtaposition

    • Sebastian’s Funeral
      • “Like so many of you, Where is the Justice?”

“When will there be justice?”

“None of us do”

“No one deserves this”

 

What do you think the ultimate message of the movie?

 

 

Great Scott!

As a fan of time travel and anything related to time travel, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. From the back to the future cameo, in the beginning, I was already hooked. I had never really watched films produced by Spike Lee,  so I wasn’t sure what kind of film it was going to be. After finishing the film I was emotionally processing everything I had just witnessed from police shootings to a bodega robbery. I had to think a lot afterward about what I had just watched and the direct impact it has on the world we are living in today.

The film follows two brilliant young black kids in high school trying to discover the technology that would allow them to time travel or in this movie they refer to it as temporal relocation. CJ or Claudette is the female lead and her temper and ambition have a lot of repercussions as seen throughout the film. Bash or Sebastian is the other lead and he has a more grounded personality and helps CJ through some of the tough times. The driving force of the plot is that CJ’s brother is shot by police when he was unarmed, so CJ and Bash use their technology to try to go back and change the past. In doing so, instead of her brother dying, bash is the one that gets shot trying to stop the robbery that leads to Cj’s brother’s death.

As the movie progresses after Bash’s death, the movie shows CJ trying to grapple with the loss and deal with the repercussions of her actions. Eventually, she figures out a plan with Bash’s good friend to go back in time to try to fix things, but in the end, her brother still dies. I feel that this was done intentionally to show that there are certain things in life that can’t be changed and how sometimes changing something or trying to fix it can lead to an even worse consequence. This movie emphasizes the problems of police brutality and the targeting of certain communities. The movie also focuses on how the police deal with situations in certain communities. CJ tried to call the police on the robbery, but because the police knew it was a certain neighborhood, they took their time to get there, and that ultimately lead to Sebastian’s death.

Overall, I feel that the film was created to reinforce the problem of police brutality and how it takes a toll on not just the families of the victims, but also the communities of those victims. Her brother wasn’t doing anything wrong, but the situation like many other situations in the U.S. lead to the cop feeling that discharging their weapon is the right choice. I also think that this film uses time travel as a mechanism to show that going back and changing one moment won’t fix the overlying problem. Sebastian was there to lay down the dangers of traveling through time and the major implications it could have on the future and the dangers it posed to them.

Phillip’s Reading Response #6: Destroyer

I am not someone who reads graphic novels and of the few that I have read in my life, this story has been one of the most intriguing. I am a huge fan of the story of Frankenstein. Growing up I have always been amused and curious about this story of a scientist who tries to create life. For me, Frankenstein and Destroyer go into the idea of bringing life to something completely devoid of life. This topic has been touched on by many scientists and science fiction writers because one of the biggest conflicts for humans is death.

This story takes a different approach because in this story, Dr. Frankenstein created a monster and the monster for many years hid out in Antarctica, while the Frankenstein family continued to age and the story’s setting takes place now in modern times with descendants of Dr. Frankenstein. This is concept is truly interesting because the original story of Frankenstein takes place around 200 years ago and at that time there was no modern technology as there is now. In the classic story of Frankenstein, the villagers think burning him would be the solution compared to Destroyer where much more modern means of attack could be used. Frankenstein was so successful because it had a great balance between science-fiction, horror, and social commentary.

This story involves the last descendant of Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Josephine Baker. Her 12-year-old son recently died in a police shooting, and she must deal with her grief and the return of Frankenstein’s Monster. After she is contacted by the authorities, she uses her family’s famous technology to reanimate her son. The social allegory is a subtle thread throughout the issue. The connection between real-world violence and the Monster’s exaggerated violence is powerful.

When Mary Shelley published Frankenstein in 1818, she could not have contemplated the technology of today. The connection between science fiction and real science is blurrier than ever. Dr. Baker is a more relatable and realistic figure than the original Dr. Frankenstein. She is not a cackling madman, bent on beating death. Instead, she is a loving mother. Lavalle perfectly updated the protagonist for modern audiences while having both scientists share the same obsession with death.

Rather than being gigantic, green, and lumbering, this Monster is more corpse-like and human. I feel that this creates a different perspective on the monster. Michaela Dawn’s choice of a grayish hue for the Monster also harkens back to the original novel. The portrayal of Dr. Baker as a normal, non-mad scientist and average middle-aged mother, is a great contrast to the source material and Monster. Smith’s choice balances out unrealistic and realistic elements.

Overall I thought that reading this graphic novel was both interesting and informative. Obviously there are certain ways to read and analyze different types of text, but reading a graphic novel definitely requires a certain kind of analysis that isn’t just about the author, but also the illustrator as well as the person coloring in the novel. I think that this is a fantastic story with a great base and I think the next issues will be just as enjoyable.

Phillips Reading Response Number 5: Westworld

West world was quite intriguing because it is a modern tv show that has more options in terms of what can be shown and the production technology to make it seem very realistic. This tv show takes place in a modern world where they have created an amusement park for rich customers to come and experience the wild west. To make it super cool, they have created these androids or artifical beings that are a apart of the amusement park. They are not supposed to be aware that they are androids and they also do not know anything about the outside world.

It was very intersting to see the opening credits sequence of the 3d printing of the new world they created. The cost of visitng for guests is $40,000 a day, so it is not a cheap experience, so it appears to be geared towards the rich based on the financal aspect of the experience. They refer to the androids as hosts and it is very interesting to see how they react and interact with the guests. Dolores is the main hero host and her lover Teddy is also a host, but the show makes it very hard to distinguish who is a host and guest in the first episode.

The train was stocked with guests and hosts. One human said that the first time he visited Westworld he was with his family and had some simple fun, but for his second trip he went “straight evil,” and it was the best two weeks of his life. This tells us a lot about the guests and the park in a couple economical lines. The guests can decide how they want to go about using the wild west location because they are paying a large amount, so they are given a lot of power in terms of what they can do.

So at first it is hard to tell that teddy is a host, but when Dolores recognzies him, that is a clear indication that he was written into her permeanent story. This show seems like it is going to dive into the conceps of AI and the concepts of becoming aware of differenet realities. The man in black is super interesting because he has been a guest at westoworld since it opened, so it seems like he prefers guns and brothels over beaches and margartias.

I also found it very intersting that the man in black seems to have this god complex. He seems to enjoy the power he and his abiity to reapeat similar events without ever being hurt. It truly is a very intersting sow becuase so many aspects of it realte to the funadementals of science fiction and with modern production technology, it is easier to replicate and visualize these super AI concepts and characters.

The show has a lot of potential and even just from the first episode, one can see that there is going to be issues with the hosts and most lilely a human element will also influence events.

Phillip’s Reading Response #4:The Last Question

This story was very different then the previous stories and films we have analyzed in that this story spans over a very long period of time. I read this story in two parts because of timing and I stopped before the first time jump. It was like reading a boring story and then the juicy part of the story comes and it was like I could not stop reading. It was a very interesting concept that Asimov created with this story.

The story discusses universal computers that can answer questions proposed by humans across time. The first part of the story introduces the computer, which takes place in May of 2061, which is only 41 years from now, but From Asimov’s perspective, this is a hundred years into the future. I feel that this story emulates the human desire to advance ourselves and our technology. It is very clear that the humans in the story seem to want more answers even when most of their questions have been answered.

As the story progresses, there is less of a representation of humanity because it seems that technology has allowed humans to use the power of stars to power the universal computer. This also allowed them to live longer. In the story, it refers to two characters that have lived for over 200 years. This is evident that humans still have a desire to live forever even with a technology that can answer any of their questions. It was very interesting to read this story because as someone has read and seen a lot about time jumps, supercomputers, and AI, it was super cool to read Asimov’s perspective on it because, in his version, it progresses millions of years to the point where humans have merged their consciousness with the supercomputer. This had me intrigued because, in many forms of science fiction, the concept of human consciousness in a computer is usually not too popular among most humans.

One of the most interesting parts of the story is towards the end when the humans began merging with the computer. The line was “One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.” (Asimov 9).  I found this quote very intriguing because it talks about losing its mental identity, which is something humans today see as going crazy or losing their sanity, but Asimov said “but somehow not a loss but a gain” and I feel that Asimov is trying to show that although humans have given themselves to the Computer, it is still a positive action. I would love to meet this author and ask him a bunch of questions because it really dawned on me about mental health and whether a computer would be helpful in dealing with that.

Overall I think that Asimov created a very unique story that doesn’t share the same concepts as previous stories, but also talks a lot about questionable human qualities and the actions humans would take if their reliance was completely on technology.