So can we just pretend the book ended the way Bladerunner did?

What can I say about these last couple of chapters? I don’t even want to talk about it, I just want to pretend I didn’t read any of it. Let me just say, I LOVE THIS BOOK! I enjoyed the imagery, symbolism, characters, just everything. But boy did the the tone drastically change by the end.

Throughout the book Dick intentionally described people in synthetic ways, as well as described the androids in very human ways. Dick made us question who was truly warm-blooded and who was the cold emotionless machine. So why, by the end, did all the androids just lose all the personality they had built up. Roy’s death in Bladerunner was so good; it was human. But in the book it’s just so sudden and anti-climatic. When Roy screamed at Imgards death it had no impact; it wasn’t descriptive at all, unlike Lufts death (I’m not going to put up any pg numbers as I did not take any notes due to to the fact that I was dumb-founded by those last chapters). The conclusion to the book just destroys the significance of the great scenes between Deckard and Rachael, as well as Deckard and Luft. By the end you do not question who is truly human; Deckard is the human and did the right thing. All empathy for the androids is just stolen from the reader.

And Mercer appearing to rick seriously? Rick being compared to a messiah-like figure? What do you guys think the point of this was? I honestly just can not think of anything right now. As a lover of stories that question what it means to be a human and have the book end this way, is just heart-breaking. AHHHHH I mean c’mon the news that Mercer was a fraud was just great. It was basically a religion, a religion that was focused on empathy, the defining human element of the book. To have that religion debunked results in having the definition of being a human in the book debunked. Just to have it ended with a clear border created between humans and andys. I can see the ending being used to define why andys could never truly be human, as they were unable to have faith, with faith being a major part of being religious.

And to have the book end with Iran discovering that the toad that Deckard had found was an android, despite deckard being unable to tell, just warps everything all over again. Make up your mind dick do you want the reader to question what it means to be human/alive? Or do you just want to express that humanity is defined by religion. I mean religion played a very minimal role throughout the story; therefore, it makes no sense to have a religiously focused ending. And why the toad of all things to be closely attached to mercerism? The sheep was mentioned throughout the book, and it is one of the animals that has religious connections. After all, Mercer was described in a very christ-like way. I’m just so upset right now. In my head, I’m just going to replace the ending of this book with the ending from bladerunner.

Are we being fed andy propaganda? Tune into the Buster Friendly show to find out.

Although the story has really picked up plot-wise, I feel that there is not much to add to the ideas I previously expressed in my last post. Instead, most of these chapters contained good evidence I can use to support my ideas. For example, in my lost post I emphasized the language Dick uses to express the symbolism of the animals, and on pg 168, when Deckard is in the animal shop, the salesman says (about the goat), “…And it has a FREE, NATURAL SOUL which no cage can chain up”, this is further evidence of the animals symbolizing the need to feel independent; the need feel both in control of ones self, as well as unable to be controlled by others. There are also more uses of synthetic-like adjectives being used to describe the humans in the book, something I predicted would occur continuously through the book. So, what I want to focus on in this post are three things that specifically caught my eye and drew my attention despite not quite being a deep analysis of the overall themes of the book.

The first thing that really caught my attention was the scene in which Resch shot at Luft, resulting in Deckard having to put down Luft (pg134). Although this is just a scene that serves to further prove that Dick’s goal with this book was to make us to question what defines being human and, what defines being alive? I particularly like this scene for its amazing imagery. Dick wrote the character, Luft, in such a human way by making her a singer, then he shows her appreciating a piece of art. Music and art, such human things, such individual things; each person having their own specific combination of likes and dislikes for both. Then to see Resch, a human, just shoot her so coldly, it was shocking to say the least. As I read I could hear Lufts’s screams of agony. This was just a powerful scene that makes the reader empathize with the andys, as well as question who truly is the human in that situation.

The second thing I want to address was a beautiful, quick, subtle touch in the writing on pg 170. “They entered the elevator together and they moved nearer to GOD“, how, just how did I miss this!? Dick put the animals on the roof for a reason, and I feel so stupid for not realizing it earlier. The animals in the book symbolize certain human elements, but what is on the biggest things used to define what a human should be, as well as being a human exclusive experience: RELIGION! Because the animals represent human elements, Dick, brilliantly and subtly placed these animals on the highest location to represent the spirituality that humans have clung on to for centuries now. Humans use religion to define their lives, to give it a meaning, and to express a certain importance and superiority to that of their surroundings. Specifically, in the christian religions humans are defined by having a soul, something an andy could never obtain, for they were not made by god; therefore, the humans can segregate themselves from the andys and definitively define themselves as a superior being by having souls. Additionally, taking the specials into account, in our society there is a controversy that those who are mentally challenged do not posses souls; they are not completely human. That is why in the books they are considered low life forms.

Lastly, I want to touch upon the Buster Friendly Show. This show is always airing, and in multiple scenes in the book it is on the background, but the importance of this show has made itself visible on pg 74. Isidore begins to question how exactly the Buster Friendly Show is always able to be on the air, yet never repeat itself, always staying fresh. BUSTER AND AMANDA ARE ANDYS! WHAT? MIND BLOWN! This raises so many questions of which I don’t how to respond to. Is it known by the government that andys are are in control of the media? Or maybe, andys have infiltrated the government with no one noticing. After all, later on we encounter an entire police department controlled by andys. It would explain why, as isidore points out, the Buster friendly show seems to be anti-mercerism. This is just delightfully ironic, a show that all of society tunes into is run by andys, the very things they look down upon. It also makes me question just how many andys have infiltrated society. This also reminds me of the animals on the roof, they all look real, but they’re not, and Dick does not give us any clue to just how many of them are real or fake.

I absolutely can not wait to see what happens in these last couple of chapters, as well as discuss this on Thursday.


Do humans dream of nuts and bolts?

Right off the bat, on page one, you can see that Philip K. Dick is using good imagery and wording to blur the lines between man and machine, and this is what Dick intends on doing throughout the entire story. The major theme of this book is humanity, and what it means to be a human; quite a common theme within the sci-fi genre and anything involving robotics.This theme is expressed through the need of animals in this society, how society determines who is or isn’t an andy (android), and how Decker and other characters seen in the story can be described in very synthetic/mechanical ways.

The animals in this story are extremely important symbols of its theme. To the people of this post-apocalyptic society animals are highly coveted and sought out; they are so coveted that those who can not obtain an animal buy artificial ones instead(pg8), but why? Well, the animals are symbols of class; only those who are wealthy enough can afford to buy a real animal. Additionally, a major corporation in the book, the Rosen Organization,  have a collection of animals on their roof(pg 40). This is one way in which the animals represent human characteristics, such as the pursuit to feel superior to your fellow man. This, however, is but an additional side to what the animals represent. On page 14 Decker says, “I don’t want a domestic pet. I want what I originally had, a large animal.”, they key phrase here is “domestic pet”. Now, why would Dick choose that wording to convey what kind of animal Decker wants? This is Dick’s way of expressing the true meaning of the animals in his story. Domestication of an animal is often seen as taming, and a pet is often seen as a companion that is owned. Undomesticated animals are seen as wild, uncontrollable, and free; furthermore, both domesticated and undomesticated animals are often seen as a symbol of innocence; nothing drives their existence other than their basic animal instincts. The animals of this story are a symbol for the the need of humans to feel like they are in control of themselves and are independent unlike domesticated animals, hence people feel the need to own one. Additionally, animals are only important on earth and not on mars; the people of mars have become dependent on andys, so they do not feel the need to own an animal. On pg 17 the androids are compared to the slaves of the pre-civil war era; in this society andys are seen as slaves; therefore, people feel the need to prove that they are not slaves to anybody, they need to prove their free will, they need to prove that they are not something that can be programmed, they need to prove that they are not andys and actively prevent resembling one. Despite these efforts the animals only further blur the lines between humans and androids. On pg 42 Decker directly compares his electric sheep to a real one, “…he had to tend, had to care about, as if it lived”. Even though Decker wants a real animal, he has to care for his electric sheep like he would a real animal, Decker even feeds it oats. In the text Deckers thoughts about having to care for his sheep as if it were real are in tones of hatred. Decker is full of hate in this moment not because of his lack of a real animal but rather the lack of difference between the two. If something that is mechanical can so easily be compared to something living the same could be done for the andys, being a bounty hunter, that is a thought Decker can not afford to have. That is also why he desperately needs a real animal to replace his electric sheep.

In this book empathy tests are used to determine who is or isn’t an andy. So far honestly my ideas on this are under developed, but I see how important it will be in the story from what we have seen so far. We are told that these empathy tests are the definitive way to determine if someone is an andy in disguise; however Dick also informs us of a major flaw with it: humans that are schizos fail the test. If a human can fail the test then it could also be possible for an andy to pass it. These tests are based on the ability for one to empathize with a fellow being, empathy is dependent on emotion and as we have seen from Rachel, andys can experience emotion; Rachel expressed fear when she thought Decker would retire her. Additionally, previous empathy tests eventually failed to properly identify andys; therefore, andys have continuously shattered the definitions set by the humans over what humans are and what is real. It is only reasonable to expect the andys to shatter those definitions once again.

There are three times in which Dick really caught my attention in his description of other characters in a artificial manner. On the very first page Iran says, “Keep your hands off my settings!”,the word settings really sticks out immediately. Changing the setting on something is often associated with something mechanical: you can change the settings on a phone, t.v, computer, stereo, etc. Additionally, a little later on Decker uses the phrase “I Program…”(pg6), an excellent choice of words. The next two instances happen on chapter 3. Holden, the chief bounty hunter, has been shot by an andy and is in a hospital. It is stated that Holden will be in the hospital for a month until he can get “one of those new organic plastic spinal sections to take hold”(pg 28). Plastic spinal, that’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Lastly, when Decker saw Rachel he thought that her(or its) eyelashes were “artificial”. Although Rachel turned about to be an andy she(or again, it) was thought be a human at first by Decker, further showing how similar androids are to humans. Although there are currently only three instances in which humans are described in a synthetic way, I have no doubt that there will be more instances of this throughout the book.

These are only my basic thoughts right now with a lot more in the back of my head. Right now my thoughts are extremely jumbled up so my blog was a little chaotic, so sorry about that. I’m looking forward to reading on and seeing how Dick further explores the question, what defines being human? How can we determine what is and isn’t “real”?

An interpretation of “The Machine Stops” and “Metropolis”

All though both of these works are of science-fiction genre, they have very little in common. “The Machine Stops”, is presented in a cautionary fashion, it presents, at first, a future society that is leaps and bounds different from our modern say society. Later, the story goes on to have the characters talk about the past and how they have “evolved” compared to us. The major themes involve individuality, technology, and perceptions. “Metropolis”, on the other hand, is presented in a much different manner. Although it also is a cautionary tale, it focuses on a matter that is more personal, rather than something that can connect to everyone. “Metropolis” was clearly made by and for god fearing men; religious symbolism plagues every scene of this film, making it, at times, sound extremely preachy. In this, however, lie the similarities between these two works; they are both cautionary and use religious symbolism/parallels to convey their message.  One, however, uses religion in a more insulting manner, while the other favors it.

Let me start with “Metropolis”, as I have the most to say about it. This movie represents machinery/technology in not only a negative way, but in a down right evil way. To begin with, the intro quote “The mediator between brain and hands must be the heart”. Now this could have been used in various intelligent ways to caution mankind of how over zealous it has become with technology, and how man should always listen to their conscious in the pursuit of advancing technology, as the ethics of technology are just as important as the need for advancements in those fields. Instead this movie uses the quote to present a messiah/eve like figure to connect to the quote; ending the movie in a terrible and cheesy way. Let me elaborate, one of the first scenes where the religious symbols comes into play is in the garden scene of the prelude. The garden in this scene is shown in a innocently ignorant fashion; here Freder can be seen blissfully enjoying his time in this garden, at this point Freder is ignorant to what goes on under the city of Metropolis. In comes Maria, Maria at this point can be seen as a parallel to Eve. In religious texts it is Eve that convinces Adam to taste of the forbidden fruit, and in the movie it is because of Maria that Freder comes to know the horrors of what lies under Metropolis in the depths. The parallels of Maria to the virign mary/eve, and of Freder to christ/adam to not only end there but let me get back to that later. In a later scene when we are introduced to Rogart and the Machine-man, behind the Machine-man, on the wall there is a inverted pentegram (talk about subtlety), additionally, a pentagram can be seen on the front door of the building that Rogart works in. Inverted pentagrams symbolize the rejection of the holy trinity from the christian mythos; therefore, the message that Fritz Lang is trying to convey is that machines are evil and the work of the devil. In the scene after this, we see Maria preaching in front of a collection of crosses (again, your subtlety is art, Fritz Lang); therefore, she is represented as a force of good fighting against the evil that is the Machine-man. The scene in the catacombs also has a scene where Maria refers to Freder as the mediator, further proving that the movie paints him as a messiah-like figure, such as christ. In a later scene Rogart gives the Machine-man the appearance of Maria to trick the laborers of the city to revolt and destroy the machines. Additionally, in another scene a priest reads an excerpt from a bible that represents women simply as man’s desire; therefore, Fritz Lang chose the Machine-man to take the shape of a woman to further emphasize the machine man as evil; the addition of the female form attaches the idea of the seven deadly sins to the Machine-man. This is also supported by the club seen in which men gawk at the Machine-man and become violent, thus causing the statues of the seven deadly sins, seen throughout the film (again with that subtlety, how do you do it Mr.Lang?), to replace the men that are holding the Machine-man up on a pedestal; at this point Machines/technology have become synonymous with sin. In the scene where the Machine-man convinces the workers of the city to revolt, it uses quotes such as, “Who is the living food for the machines in metropolis?” and “Who lubricates the machine joints with their own blood?”.These quote are use to represent that all men serve evil, thus paving the way for next scene. The city begins to flood during the films climax, this is a parallel to the great flood from the bible, but on a much smaller scale and no one dies (aw shucks). There is not much to this scene other than Lang creating a slight parallel with this seen with the water as symbol for washing away the evil of man through the destruction of the machines, as well as the goodness of Freder and Maria being further emphasized. Lastly the movie ends with Freder bringing peace, again messiah-like imagery. I could go on but I’m short on time as I’m doing this with a couple minutes left until the deadline. Side note, that soundtrack was AMAZING!

Moving on to the “Machine Stops”. I thought this story was actually really funny and it reminded me a lot about Wall-E. I think this would serve better as a black comedy. Now over all I liked this story a lot more than “Metropolis” as it felt purely like a cautionary tale, with no religious agenda. It perfectly paints a picture of our over reliance on technology, and man-kinds further over-dependency on technology. Although things like Skype are great for getting in touch with people who you do not have easy access to, it is a dangerous precedence in a society that is growing ever lazier. One of the only things this short story shares in common with the “Metropolis” is the fact that they use religion to convey a point. In the “Machine Stops” religion is used to paint a picture of just how over reliant on machines man has become. At one point Vashti becomes insulted when Kuno says she is basically praising the machine as god, but Vashti responds by saying religion is foolish and a thing of the past. Despite Vashti’s response to religion she has parallels to religious people such as her constant need to seek guidance from The book of Machine(pg6), they way she holds the book reverently(pg4), and how she has a mini ritual where she repeats things in threes before opening the book(pg5). This blind faith the people of this society have in The Book of Machine, however, uses religion in a negative light; their inability to have their own thoughts and relying on the machine as God, has led to the down fall of their society, and the deaths of all who inhabit it (brutal). Again I could go deeper, but last minute!!!! I’ll do this ahead of time next time (maybe).

Introduction, Surge

Hey, my name is Sergio, but I go by Surge. The thing that I am most passionate about is music. I love stringed instruments, especially guitars, violins, pianos, and cellos. My favorite genre of music is Metal, with my my favorite sub-genre being Death Metal. Ironically, I do not listen to a lot of Death Metal bands because most of them are just about being loud, but when Death Metal is good…. IT IS GOOD! When it comes to a favorite band I constantly go back and forth between Dethklok and Arch Enemy. Other than Metal I also listen to various types of Spanish, Classical, Blues, Jazz, Electronica, and even Pop, yes, you read that right, POP! In fact, a guilty pleasure of mine is to hunt down metal covers of pop songs, and some of the best ones I’ve found are covers of: Holding out for a Hero, I Kissed a Girl, Beat it, and Bad Romance. I don’t just listen to music but I play(guitar) as well, but I’m not very good. Aside from listening to music and playing guitar, my other hobbies/interests include gaming, comics, and movies.

As far as my desires go I hope to pursue any a career involving chemistry, maybe a teacher or something in pharmaceutics, I honestly still don’t know what I truly want to do. As far as unimportant desires I hope to eventually meet the people I idolize as guitar gods, such as Michael & Chris Amott, Brendon Small, Buckethead, Dave Mustaine, Jeff Loomis, Chris Broderick, and the list goes on and on. So far I have been able to meet one of my all time favorite musicians being Angel Vivaldi…MrVivaldi

Meeting him was so AWESOME! He was a really cool dude, and he actually played with my hair while saying “ I LOVE YOUR HAIR!”. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

As a writer my strength is that I don’t have to put much effort into any of my writing to earn a good grade. All the essays I did in my last English class were done at the last second, and all of them got A’s. My greatest weakness as a writer is that I don’t know what I’m doing; I do not know anything about the technicalities of writing. All I do is just analyze how others write; I pay attention to there word and punctuation placement and mimic it in my own writing.

My strength as a reader and my weakness as a reader is that I don’t read, haha. I’ve only read a few books in my life with some being the Harry Potter Series, 1984, Animal Farm, and A Street Car Named Desire.

What is Science-Fiction, the greatest of life’s questions. Science-fiction, to me, is a genre of media that uses scientific ideas and themes to tell a story. Sci-fi stories are often cautionary warning individuals/societies of the dangers of their actions and what those actions could mean for the future. Who writes Sci-fi? Any one with a story to tell that wants to involve themes of space, time, and technology. Who consumes Sci-fi? Anybody who enjoys stories that have the ability to be deeply analyzed, and also enjoy hearing another persons opinions/satires about the state of our society.

As we have all noticed, all the students in our Sci-fi class are males, but why is that? Well, Sci-fi tends to be labeled as a gender stereotype in our society; therefore, it is easy for any male to express an interest in it, but for females there is a stigma that it is not for them, so even if a girl did like Sci-fi it would be harder to express that interest freely. Females that express an interest in anything that can be classified as a gender stereotype can face a lot of reticule for their public expressions of those likes. For example, some women fear openly expressing themselves as gamers due to issues like Gamergate. Additionally, women also fear being part of male dominant groups as they can often be heavily sexualized. So why is our professor a woman? She, perhaps, never feared any reticule from society for not fitting into societies gender roles, or she might have never actually experienced any of the negative aspects of being a female in a male dominant culture; therefore, she never had a fear of openly expressing her likes.

I am taking this course because I love Sci-fi. Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated with Sci-fi movies and shows. One of my earliest experiences with Sci-fi was Digimon, and to this day I love it and the commentary that the third season has about technology and humanity. As I grew older I became familiar with a lot of the Sci-fi classics and fell in love with them, and it was then that Sci-fi was cemented as my favorite movie genre. As far as some of my favorite movies of the genre are, I absolutely love all of the original Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Logans Run, Z.P.G (Zero Population Growth), and Gattaca.

Oh, and I have no experience with OpenLab.