Science Fiction Entertainment And Music

Abstract

The Write-Up attached along with the presentation shows how music or musical scores can change the human mind’s perception of a science fiction film, television show, or video game and how the musical score can amplify the person’s emotions when watching, or interacting with it. Moreover, it shows how someone watching a science fiction entertainment work of art can have different thoughts on major plot points in the story when the music is alongside the motion picture, rather than having it muted. Some examples that are used to support this are from famous and almost famous science fiction shows, films, and games such as, Battlestar: Galactica, Halo: Reach, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Stargate: Universe. Also, the process of producing these scores are introduced, such as becoming the main character or target character, so it makes it much easier to see the unknown world, but also the fact of how difficult it can get when going through the actual design process. Evidence, such as an interview with professional composer, Joel Goldsmith, son of famous Star Trek composer, Jerry Goldsmith, is also introduced, where he briefly describes the difficulty of it and how bad it can really get.

Something else that is briefly described is the other side of that coin, and how the science fiction genre has influenced music in a way that it also created widely known musical genres, for example, electronic and Dubstep, among others. Along with it is some evidence from a site that had a list of The 15 Greatest Science Fiction-Based Pop/Rock Songs by Sean T. Collins, instead of using this list, what was used was the thorough description that was at the top of the page.

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Presentation

NOTICE: The power point presentation was to large because videos are included. Instead I’ve uploaded them to my OneDrive and assigned the files to a link above. You should also download the videos too because the PPT will probably not function properly without it.

That Cliché Though (Among Other Things)

Yes, yes. What a way to end a book with the most overused cliché of our time; that it was all a delusion set in the main character’s mind. Since the beginning I kind of sort of had an inkling that the main character, Connie, had schizophrenia. And in order to escape what she had done to herself in her past life, in order to make it seem (in herself) that she was right and everyone else was wrong, she created this illusion of Luciente and this entire future (without herself truly knowing this) in the confines of her mind in order to make herself to move on with her life. If that makes any sense at all. Well, it makes sense in my head.

But moving back to these last six chapters, we first enter into a world that is the opposite of Luciente’s future, which can be found mainly on page 284 or so. This is what terrifies Connie; the very thought of not staying the course, which will render Luciente and everyone that she has come to know and love in Matt… Mitt… Massapot… oh god damn it, future-Massachusetts, inexistent. Since she doesn’t know what she is seeing is real or not real (which is the very definition of schizophrenia), she stays on her course of action, which is doing whatever possible to achieving Luciente’s future. Because apparently, it’s all “war” to Connie.

Oh, and how about those characters? These are the chapters in where we finally get to see Connie’s present family and to finally conclude something that we have probably all known since the beginning of the book: they’re a bunch of assholes. We meet Luis, Lewis, damn what is his real name? I have never met a brother that is such a total douchebag to his sister, and not have the ability to sign off and let Connie out of a mental institution, which is practically jail, and take care of her himself. Seriously what kind of a world is this place, this is the same Earth we live in today? Eh, probably true. Then we have Dolly, who is still a jerk and a doped up prostitute, who still can’t seem to remember anything she says five seconds ago. Oh, and then there is Adele, Luis-Lewis’ wife, which in no way is related to the singer, because she is also a jerk. Doesn’t she know that Connie has been in a mental institution for quite a while? And she really cares more about a couple of plates? And how fast Connie can clean up? Wow, what kind of family is this?

Alright, hey, hey, going a little off topic there, but overall, the ending was alright. Schizophrenia or not, she was a brave woman, and she fought for what she thought (or didn’t think?) what was right, and for anyone, that takes some serious cojones.

So as for a final rating of the novel, I’d give it a 7/10. I think that’s fair. Some parts were great, some parts were “eh”, and some parts were downright “wtf”. 7/10 then.

Proposal Revised

Being in Entertainment Technology, and having a lot of interest in sound design, I want to create sections of audio or score that essentially targets key emotions or moods that we usually see in science fiction (romance is probably not going to be included). These moods or emotions will be Amazement (e.g. seeing a whole new world), Tranquility (e.g. a utopia), Sadness (e.g. losing something), and Anger. For each set of moods will be a video or picture (that is science fiction) and the audio will be used to amplify what the video is trying to generate in the audience. There is one problem, and it’s me. When making audio, I want to be perfect. That being said, if it does not come out the way it is in my head, I’ll probably scrap it and snip out audio from scifi movies, shows, games, etc.

Knowing that this is a science fiction course, in my paper I want to define that link between music and modern science fiction and how it alters someone’s perception of a scifi work of art. If not define it, then narrow it down at least. Along with this will be the details of what we go through when we analyze what we see. We try to become the character and all that he/she is feeling is available to us. Through that interpretation, we create the score out of what we’ve learned through the mind of the character. This process will also thoroughly explained in my paper along with some research of what goes through the mind of some famous science fiction composers of our time.

Emotion Score (Proposal)

Being in Entertainment Technology, and having a lot of interest in sound design, I want to create sections of audio or score that essentially targets key emotions or moods that we usually see in science fiction (romance is probably not going to be included).

I’m going to describe what goes through a composer/producer’s mind when it comes to choosing the right sounds or instruments and the process we go through when we try to place it all in sequence; thus trying to connect and align it with the actual story being told. Adding to that is probably going to be research from some composers/producers and how, when they/we see moving pictures or are given an idea or story from another person, how we are able to materialize notes based on visual stimuli.

That ‘Ole Tech vs. Humanity Is Back

After reading the four chapters, I get that ‘technology versus humanity’ feeling and its connection with control. Something that is considered a huge theme in science fiction. It’s also gradually becoming more to the truth that technology is taking over, which can correspond to Alice’s “treatment” in Chapter Ten. This even gave me a comparison to something we’ve previously read, “Do Android’s Dream Of Electric Sheep?”, where most people own a mood organ that effectively changes what a person wants to feel. In that reality, however, the owner of the mood organ was in control. In this story, these so called “doctors” are in control. As Dr. Argent says, “We can control the violent” (Piercy 197). What seriously irks me is the irony of that quote. In its entirety, it is actually the opposite. Those in charge are the violent ones while the patients are the actual victims. It’s as if they possess no human rights at all. Is it the fact that they are women? Does this point to Piercy’s determination of feminism? Of course.

 

I also have come to realize something about one of the characters in particular; Dolly. I’ve had my suspicions about her from the beginning but now, in the conversation between her and Connie, it is confirmed that Dolly is an asshole. I do not understand why Connie continues to ask for her help. In her place, I would completely notice that Dolly will not help. $5, $10? I’m in a prison for Christ’s sake, in what thrift shop do you think I’m going to spend it? Why don’t you do something practical like getting me the hell out of here? She is always high, always on drugs, in what world do you think she is going to do anything? Connie keeps thinking she is going to do something to help her because she’s “blood”. What’s funny is that Luciente is from another time, far into the future, and she/he is practically family. She/he has done more for Connie than Dolly will ever do.

 

Connecting back to technology and humanity, we hear something that Luciente says in the scene where she/he is with Dawn and Connie next to the highway during Connie’s timeline. As cars are driving by, Luciente says, “All those people in metal boxes, alone and cut off” (240)! Key words in that quote: “alone” and “cut off”. This can pertain to where humanity is headed presently, in our current time. We are getting cut off from our own lives, and in doing so, what makes an individual an individual is getting lost through time, piece by piece.

 

When Connie is sent forward into Luciente’s time frame, we learn something new about the legislative and judicial branches of her/his society (if any). Apparently, having a disagreement between one another, such as in the case of Luciente and Bolivar, it is almost a sort of crime, and what happens is that the two opposing individuals have to pretty much make nice: Parra says, “Luciente and Bolivar, sit down face to face inside the ring. Look at each other… You must set aside time to speak” (206). So it may be entirely possible that ironically, this utopia is a dystopia because of its noticeable downsides.

The One About The Woman

So much drama. So much.

To start with, I hate time travel, because it really confuses the hell out of me, it’s been overused to death, but seeing how this book is way before all that, I’ll try my best.

In the first chapter, the introduction of the characters is a little unorthodox; we get a shot of one person then almost immediately a shot of another without much description of said characters. Then after that, we go through some weird time loop that sends us back an hour or two before the abusive scene we come across in the beginning. A sort-of keystone that made me conclude that this was happening was the “ballpoint pen” she picked up on the subway car (she mentioned it in chapter one before the abuse scene).

Throughout the first chapter through a little more than half of the second, we don’t get the sense that this is really a science fiction novel. But then, as we get introduced to Luciete, a mysterious figure in which we first meet in Connie’s dreams, the science begins to tie in with the fiction. And as we read on, we begin to realize or form a conclusion using the bits and pieces acquired about Luciete, that she is a time traveler (and also because she tells Connie) from the year 2137.

For a future, unlike we see in most science fiction, it’s probably not what we were expecting to visualize. When Connie gets pulled into 2137 with Luciete, there are no skyscrapers, no ships, nothing what we expected of a year far out of reach than where we are today. What we really changed through the eons was the society; the people.

From what I can gather during the third chapter when Connie goes with Luciete to her time, Government is virtually nonexistent and there is no registry of people. When born, a name (no last name, just one name) is given to you, and in time, whenever, that person is allowed to change his or her name freely at the cost of people forgetting who you are. That being said, having an individual  almost isn’t possible, because it seems that everybody is connected to each other by some means; a sort of hive mind without a “queen” or governing body or individual.

To add, we get a sense that the future totally differs from that of the past (Connie’s present). In Connie’s present time, there is a huge line between male and female while this kind of utopian future of Luciete’s completely erases that line.

I apologize if this was short, this is all that really clicked into my head. I’m sorry to say that it was a really slow four chapters.

The One About The Notes (3/12/2015)

Class Notes – 3/12/2015

To Begin With:

  • Our class, Science Fiction, has been featured overall on OpenLab in the Spotlight. Yay to us.
  • If you need help on how to use OpenLab, to give feedback, or attend workshops, follow The Open Road (OpenLab Profile) on OpenLab. Here’s a link you lazy bums: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/groups/the-open-road/
  • Watching The Road is optional. If you would like a copy of The Road in a file format, see Chris or bring a Flash Drive and copy the movie from the class’s computer station onto it. Consider allocating at least 1 GB of space.
  • If you want additional optional resources added to the class, talk to Professor Belli during any class, during her office hours, or simply email her.

 

Our Agenda Today:

  • Discussion: Blade Runner/”Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
  • Discussion: MoMA
  • Discussion: Upcoming project
  • Discussion: “There Will Come Soft Rains”

 

 

“There Will Come Soft Rains”Brainstorming Session

  • Shows the value of nature; a competition between nature and technology.
  • House = the remains of human civilization; religious figure.
  • Short poem; it foreshadows the ending and is connected to the title.
  • The author gives the technology in the story some ‘emotion’ (sentience).
  • Technology evolving to becoming self-aware; awareness to a certain degree.
  • Machines can live on without humanity being present.
  • The machines are not in control of themselves; they are programmed and are not able to go beyond it.
  • The events taking place in the story may symbolize what is happening now in our society.
  • Self-demise; post-apocalyptic; the aftermath of war (post-World War II; the Cold War).
  • Animals; dog, bird.
  • The idea or importance of perfection.
  • Technology versus Nature.
  • There is always something that technology is limited to; nothing is perfect.
  • Rational versus Irrational decisions.

 

“There Will Come Soft Rains” – The Specifics

Now, think about this: Are we as humans significant as we think we are?

Title: August 2057 – “There Will Come Soft Rains,” what do we learn?

  • The story is placed into the future and the main title is taken from the short poem later in the story.

The first paragraph, what do we learn?

  • Personification: the opening sentence, “tick-tock, seven o’clock…:” a feeling of happiness?
  • Personification: technology is given human emotions; fear, “as if it were afraid that nobody would.”
  • “Emptiness:” loneliness, death, darkness.
  • “Repeating and repeating:” the technology goes along with its daily functions regardless of anyone present.

The second paragraph, what do we learn?

  • There are, or rather, were four people.
  • Personification: the stove ‘sighs’, and this is written in the story multiple times.

The third paragraph, what do we learn?

  • The daily agenda of the day is given.
  • We’re given more of the setting: “Allendale, California.”
  • Personification: The machine is given vision (eye sight), memory.

Film adaptation – The ‘machine’

  • More sentient and controlling.
  • Creepy, scary, menacing.
  • Less caring than the description of the machine in the story.
  • Mindlessly following his programming/orders.

Final Thoughts –

  • PERSONIFICATION IS EVERYWHERE
  • Robot mice, their role? They are programmed to clean (somebody actually said this and that was end of that discussion).
  • We’re given an absence of people in the first quarter of the story, but throughout the next sections, we’re described of the people who resided in the house in a cryptic way.
  • “Until this day… which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.”— The machine preserves itself by activating a security system.
  • “The house was an altar… the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.”—Religion becomes prominent in the story; the loss of religion, society. If we try to play god, we get shut down. Everything from the beginning symbolizes the ‘ritual’; there is no point in what is happening.
  • The dog – It’s alive. Yup… That’s all we said about that.
  • The short poem in the short story: nature will continue regardless of humanity being present. It foreshadows the ending. It tells the prequel of the story, during the ‘war’.
  • “Spring”: rebirth, reborn.
  • Post-Apocalypse: an opportunity to clear the slate; to start anew.
  • If something dies, it would be suggested that it was alive.
  • “The house shuddered…” it gives you the sense that the house is a being (yeah, even more personification).

 

Now, think about this: We usually seek out the differences between the movie and the story, but what is the real idea behind each separately?

 

Back to Metropolis – The Work Scene

  • The workers are enslaved because of technology, while the creators of it benefit.
  • ‘Human sacrifices’ (the workers) to the machine. The machine signifying a God.
  • The workers serve the machine and in turn, the machine serves the upper hierarchy.

Words Learned –

  • Anthropomorphic: given human characteristics; personification
  • Sentience: self-aware
  • Agency: having a say in a situation
  • AI, Artificial Intelligence: Man-made intelligence.

 

Eugene’s (very short) Presentation –

 

Notices –

  • Professor Belli will not be here next week (there will be class regardless, so don’t even think about it).
  • You can see, specifically, what you have to do for Project 1, among others, in the Assignments drop-down on OpenLab.
  • No blogging or online discussion due the coming week; focus your attention on the First Draft of Project 1.

 

Project 1 –

  • Use your blogs as a resource, but do not copy and paste, especially if you have spelling errors or grammar issues.
  • To put briefly, this is an analytical paper of the assigned text(s).
  • Your First Draft is due on Thursday, March 19th. This will not be graded, however, if it isn’t done, points will be shaved off your grade.
  • The Final Draft is due Thursday, March 26th. This will be graded.
  • There will be no written comments on individual essays. See Professor Belli to hear her feedback.

 

(kind of) Off-Topic –

  • Finding the line between man and machine is crucial [teurig test] [VK Test].
  • We saw President Johnson’s Ad, “Daisy.” That was some crazy shi…

 

  • Disney’s Smart House.

The One About ‘Soft Rains’

You know, this short story, “There Will Come Soft Rains” was very interesting and truly was one of a kind (but not really). It kind of rehashes the same ideas we’ve been discussing throughout some of our previous readings.

In this, humanity or mankind, has been decimated, and what remains in the aftermath is that of technology and some of the animals that did not die off since the end of the war between humankind.

The story begins with one structure, a house, that has been left standing in the midst of rubble. Inside, the house’s technological features continue on with their daily routine despite the fact that their are no humans or people present.

I can pretty much infer from this that ‘human extinction’ was not one of the problems that were programmed into the line of code. So, with that in mind, they simply proceed with what it was programmed to do: to continually keep the house clean, tidy, and welcoming. Even though nobody, besides stray animals, is going to enter that house for a millennia.

Throughout the story, we are described the technology and some of the functions of what they do. For the most part, every piece of technology in the story is automatic. For example, the stove, cleaning mice, outside sprinklers, the lawn-mower, the fire suppression system, etc. Through all of these devices, it shows us how dependent humanity was on technology before the bombs fell, and it continues to tell me that humans could not quite function without it.

That being said, in the story, the year is 2052, and Bradbury has a very vivid imagination of what the future will hold. At the same time, however, I believe Bradbury is showing us that this is happening in our lives as we speak. We are drawing too close to technology and we need to push away to gain back our strength.

I understand my post was quite short, but these are the only ideas I drew from a four-page story.

The One About The Movie

The Missing

Okay, so I shouldn’t be the only who noticed a lot of the great stuff that was missing from the novel. But from all of the things that they took out, they filled in the spaces with some awesome goodies, though I do dislike that most of the twists were taken out.

When Deckard was sent to the Tyrell (technically Rosen) Corporation headquarters, we get exactly what was taken out of the book except for the best part about the scene: When the company tried to trick him into thinking that the VK test didn’t work on the new Nexus 6 models. I mean, that was gold! People watching it would’ve been putting their hands on their head in awe of what happened.

Throughout the film, I’ve been waiting for my favorite part, and probably the biggest twist in Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep? So when I do get to 1:27:00 of the film, Rick Deckard is sitting in his car looking over a paper, when a police patrol comes down, and says that he was about to be arrested. At that moment, I was thinking to myself that this must be that fake Android police squadron scene in the book; the best scene ever (I’ve imagined it in my head at least 20 times). But then I hear the words, “checked and cleared,” coming from the patrol car… wait, what? How can you take such a huge twist like that out of the book?

Honestly, after seeing that, my 10 out of 10 movie rating went down to 8.5.

Also, something else I’ve noticed. There was no mercer or religious figure of any kind spoken about throughout the story. But to be honest, I am kind of happy about that. I think the movie editors concluded from the book that Mercer would be too confusing if introduced into the movie, so they just decided to simply not go along with it. I don’t think they made the wrong decision, because we all know that Mercer was hard enough to understand as he is in the novel.

 

The Replicants

In the film, I believe that the Replicants don’t just simulate emotion, they actually feel them. An example of this can be made with Roy Batty. During the film at roughly 1:36:00, as he breaks Deckard’s fingers, he says, “this was for Leon, this was for Pris…” and so on. After that, he proceeds to go to Pris’ body, kissed her dead corpse, and begins to tear up. This can’t be him trying to keep up a disguise of a human because Deckard already knows that he’s a Replicant, so why go on with it?

Then we have Rachael. Man, it is really, really hard to classify her. Throughout the entire film, it was difficult for me to keep thinking that she was a machine because if I was ever placed in Deckard’s position, it really could have fooled me.

Oh, and something I realized about our friend Roy Batty. He seemed more aggressive in the movie than what we’ve been described through Philip K. Dick’s novel. In “Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep?” Roy seemed weak when he didn’t put much resistance at the end of the story, but in Blade Runner, he was somebody you’d never want to mess with; he killed Tyrell by popping his eyes in, god dammit. That’s enough for me to be afraid of the guy. Then at the end, he turned into a pure psychopath. Fantastic.

And let’s end this with my rating: Out of everything I’ve seen from the movie Blade Runner, I’d give it an 8 out of 10.

Oh, Wait. What Just Happened?

I think I can speak for the majority of the class that the ending to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep wasn’t as great as the rest of the novel. I feel that there was a definitely a huge change of direction from the first few and middle chapters to the final chapters of the book.

At first, as we all know, reading the book was exciting, and one could try to figure out, as they’re reading, what the next stage of events would take place, but there always seems to be a twist in the most shocking way possible, such as (which is one of my favorites) finding out that a whole “fake” police department were created and ran by androids, in order to throw Rick off his trail. I mean that was unexpectedly awesome.

But now, I start coming across all this stuff that I can’t begin to understand.

Oh, and here’s one of them: The little “sex” scene we encountered. For me, this was quite a shocker. For one, Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter that is specifically trained to hunt down and kill androids on Earth, and we know he has been doing this job for most of his life, but suddenly, out of the blue, after only seeing Ms. Rachael Rosen once before, he has the audacity to sleep with her. And two, she is a machine. She does not have feelings. She says, “I love you” (Dick 194), but even I would know that it’s impossible for her to even comprehend what that means.

I mean, I wouldn’t be able to understand that. She, or rather it works and was created for a company that has done some questionable things.

Then, to add a little spice to it, we discover that the whole thing was just a ruse. It was all planned out in order to change Deckard’s mind about the job he does. Inevitably, however, she fails, and Rick proceeds in finding the three missing androids.

Wow, that was such quick thinking. You should’ve thought of that before you went in bed with a robot, Rick.

Oh, but it doesn’t end there. When we finally get to our final three androids on the list, what we expected and what actually happened were two totally different things. To me, I was expecting more of a resistance from the final three, and from what we heard about this Roy android on page 184-185 in Chapter 16, he isn’t the kind of android you’d want to piss off. I guess I was just expecting a mix of clichés; lasers flying all over the place and explosions, but you know what did happen? They all died pretty quickly with very little effort by Deckard’s hand. Oh, and with a little help from none other than ‘Mercer’ himself.

And that is where my brain exploded. Not in a good way, but in total confusion. I still don’t know who this Mercer guy really is, but from what I can tell, he is a religious figure.

To put in simple terms, he is accepted as ‘God’ by the general public.

And then the ending happened:

“I didn’t know what else to do at the end, so I just decided to end it with Rick going to sleep because, you know, he had a long day, and he needed some much needed rest,” says not-Philip K. Dick.

Yeah, that was certainly a surprising ending. I just made 6,000 dollars today so let’s just drink coffee and go to sleep.

I guess I can just say that was a little boring. I guess I was expecting something more badass; Harrison Ford would never do such a thing.

But, as a final statement: Overall, this was a fantastic read. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next in the course.