On Thursday May 25th, 2017, was our final class in English Science Fiction 2420. Activities that took place in class on this day are as follows:
- Seven final presentations were made by the seven remaining students namely,
- Jaraad, Jay, Jared Jorge, Aneita, Pedro and Hunter
- Professor Belli emphasized to students to write their reflection post directed to her about the things they have learned or would have liked to learn more about in the class.
- Professor Belli also stressed to students to read what the reflection post requires thoroughly in aid of boosting their grade a little higher.
- She also made mention of the abstract, cover letter and Powerpoint Presentation to all be submitted in dropbox.
I have always been quite intrigued by the idea of cloning and immortality as it pertains to Science Fiction. The possibility of cloning humans by transplanting the nucleus of a somatic cell from a donor into an ovum which can then be replaced in a host womb has always attracted my attention. As a more in depth analysis, cloning through the use of science fiction is done more as process to class individuals from birth so as to program them to think and operate a certain way and never deviate from this type of programmed thinking. This is evident in the SF novel Brave New World. Within the context of the novel, babies are manufactured/created through a caste system. Some babies are taught from birth to run wild and naked and to be promiscuous with whoever they may come across. Others are placed on a mat which can electrocute them if they try to touch or reach for a flower or a plant that seems appealing to them. By doing this, they are programmed from pretty early to think that plants and flowers and other things surrounding them are bad. Immortality being the second part of my proposal I endeavor to uncover some mysteries about it as pertains to Science Fiction. Immortality is a popular subject in science fiction, as it explores humanity’s deep- seated fears and comprehension of its own mortality. Immortal beings and species abound in fiction, especially fantasy fiction and the meaning of “immortal” tends to vary. Some fictional beings are completely immortal (or very nearly so) in that they are immune to death by injury, disease and age. Sometimes such powerful immortals can only be killed by each other, as is the case with the Q from the Star Trek series. Even if something can’t be killed, a common plot device involves putting an immortal being into a slumber or limbo, as is done with Morgoth in J. R. R. Tolkiens The Silmarillion and the Dreaming God of the Pathways to Darkness. Storytellers often make it a point to give weaknesses to even the most indestructible of beings. For instance, Superman is supposed to be invulnerable, yet his enemies were able to exploit his now-infamous weakness: Kryptonite. Immortality can be derived in many different forms, but the one aspect that it is most commonly evident with is Religion. For example, (2) two of the world’s most popular and recognizable religions are, Christianity and Islam, Both of which believes in eternal life or life after death with extreme varying views and ideologies. Within the context of Christianity, eternal life comes in two different forms. If a person live a holy life, is born again and follows the teachings of Jesus, he or she can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven walk the streets of gold and forever live a life free of pain and sorrow. Whereas one can also live a life that is completely null and void of what it takes to get into heaven but rather goes to hell where they will be succumb to the demise of burning forever and not dying.
Doppelganger, is a very interesting word to any reader who comes across it for the first time, but it simply means (“double goer”) is a look alike or the double of another living person sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and is usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. In other traditions and stories, they recognize one’s double goer as an evil twin. I find this to be a very intriguing and interesting topic because not only in Science Fiction but also in reality persons who are born as identical twins sometimes share complete opposing views on life or the way one may look at something differently in a negative way, of, or relating to do criminal acts. In Science Fiction it is much different. We can see one person change into so many different characters weather good or bad so as to gain his or her own triumphs through ulterior motives.
The novel Brave New World shares some very interesting thoughts on how certain values are to be conceived within the fictional world they have created for themselves through the process of mass production of humans. Before going forward with any further analysis of Brave New World, it is essential that we understand and know the definition of the word ” value” and how it pertains to the novel. Definition (1) : the amount of money that something is worth: the price or cost of something. Definition (2) usefulness or importance.
The second definition regarding values is the one that’s most appropriate with reference to the novel. Within the text, there is a clashing of two different worlds by two different set of characters both of whom have diametrically opposing ideologies about what is, or not important to them. The first of the characters would be John. John is the son of Linda. John comes from a world where love,marriage and family is of great value to him. For John, this was all that he knew this was what he grew up knowing and grew accustomed to. For him this is normal and anything that is contrary to that belief seems to be absurd. The Director of the Hatcheries in his earlier life had visited the Savage reservations with Johns mother Linda. Tomakin as Linda calls him, is very proud of the status and prestige he holds as Director of the Hatcheries, and the accomplishments he was able to gain in creating the World State and its ideologies.
Within the World State it is taught that one should be promiscuous sleep around and have multiple partners. Liberty to be inefficient and miserable. Freedom to be round peg in a square hole. ” But, my dear chap, you’re welcome, I assure you. You’re welcome” Henry Foster patted the Assistant Predestinator on the shoulder. “Every one belongs to everyone else, after all.” (pg51/52). As a result of this statement, it is implying that a monogamous relationship is an incoherent rational. John is from the Savage Reservations where he involves himself in a ritual of being beaten with whips while being silent to prove that he is a man and also to sacrifice his body to the village. This was a way in which John felt he could show compassion and sympathy for the people living in the village and what they endured. This was another element of unorthodox thinking that John portrayed that seemed completely reprehensible in the World State. He believes in giving of himself for others in need sacrificing for the greater good of someone else through respect, love compassion sympathy. Coupled with all these elements, John was given a book called The Complete Works of Shakespeare. He loves the language that is presented in the book because it speaks about love marriage and living happily ever after. This of course is in stark difference to what the director believes in or is of any value to him. The doctrines that are implemented in the World State, are completely void of anything that pertains to family values. It is reprehensible to talk about a woman being pregnant to be called a mother or a father, to be in a monogamous relationship to talk about love and such like.
As a matter of consequence for the Director, he tries to humiliate Bernard by telling all the other employees that works within the World State about his sex life as a means of embarrassing him and telling of his involvement in monogamous relationships. This Tactic works in the directors demise. This man who stands before you here, this Alpha- Plus to whom so much has been given and from whom, in consequence, so much must be expected, this colleague of yours-or should i anticipate and say this ex- colleague?- has grossly betrayed the trust imposed in him. By his heretical views on sport and soma, by the scandalous unorthodoxy of his sexlife, by his refusal to obey the teachings of our Ford and behave out of office hours.(pg138) The Director thinks he has the upper hand on Bernard not knowing what is to come next. To get back at the Director, Bernard brings Linda in. She immediately begins to show affection to the Director. There was gasp, a murmur of astonishment and horror; a young girl screamed standing on a chair to get a better view some one upset two test- tubes full of spermatozoa.(pg139) John is also introduced to rest of the Directors colleagues to further embarrass him and to also show his double standards as well. As mentioned before, John loves the idea of family and love so he became increasingly ecstatic with the thought of meeting his dad for the first time. Little did John know that his father was ashamed of him because of his ideologies of the World State, and did not receive the welcome that he ha hoped for. John became grossly distraught.
As it is often stated, in reality a man’s gifts and talents can take him around the world and so to that same talent and intelligence can used to invoke fear and create a platform/medium for them to succeed at the cost of someone else’s demise. This is clearly depicted in the novel where one can see that there is this obsession of creating human clones in a factory with test- tubes, incubators, microscopes. What is being implied in the novel one may ask, the fact that these human clones are being produced on such a large scale, even if one fertilized egg in lost or some how misplaced, it is not a problem because it is a mass production business.(pg 176 paragraph 2) ” The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray. It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted”.
As one reads further along in the novel, some interesting characters starts to emerge. One of whom happens to be Bernard. Bernard seems to be slightly different from the other Alphas. He is not as perfect as others appear to be and suffers from this fact. In addition to great success involving two or more persons there is also the harsh reality of betrayal. The director of the Hatcheries blatantly calls out Bernard in front of the whole student body saying he is not what you think he is. Its as if because the whole student body had already came to a consensus/ agreement of mass cloning human individuals through a factory setting, Bernard is viewed as hypocrite or a fraud for not following through with the ideologies of the Hatcheries. ( chapter 10 pg 177 last paragraph) clearly outlines this claim. ” I anticipate and say this ex-colleague?-has grossly betrayed the trust imposed in him by his scandalous unorthodoxy of his sex life, and by his refusal to obey the teachings of our ford an behave out of office hours”.
Furthermore Bernard and his friend Helmholtz Watson share the same idea of being individuals, although they are artificially fertilized from the same basis. This idea causes them to become friends, because there is no one else to talk to about what they believe. They both dislike the system they are living in, the fact that he is not perfect like the others he does have much self- esteem, the mockery of the others makes him feel like an outsider.
With reference to the Science Fiction novel Brave New World, this is a book that was written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley. The book depicts and anticipates technological advancement in reproduction, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning. We can see this clearly being outlined in the novel with reference to (page) xii, top paragraph, quote ” It is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals. the triumphs of physics, chemistry and engineering are tacitly taken for granted.”
Also related to the fact of the aforementioned quote, is the last paragraph on page(xii) ” This really revolutionary revolution is to be achieved, not in the external world, but in the souls and flesh of human beings. Living as he did in a revolutionary period, the Marquis de Sade very naturally made use of the theory of revolutions in order to rationalize his peculiar brand of insanity.” The start of the novel in chapter (1), clearly depicts and gives the imagery of a medical facility where there were students that were very eager to learn and soak up every ounce of knowledge they could through what appears to be residency of new and upcoming doctors. Chapter (1) page 2 second paragraph, ” A troop of newly arrived students, very young, pink and callow, followed nervously, rather abjectly, at the Director’s heels. Each of them carried a note book, in which, whenever the great man spoke, he desperately scribbled. Straight from the horses mouth. It was the rare privilege. The D.H.C. for the Central London always made point of personally conducting his new students round the various departments.”
Fully immersed in learning, the students quickly started gaining new knowledge of eggs and embryo’s and the way they split. Page (5) paragraph (1) ” From eight to ninety six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full- sized adult. Making ninety human beings grow where they never grew before. Progress”. Clearly stated by the name given to him as the Director of Hatcheries and conditioning referred to on page (2), he is quite the enthusiast when it comes to Bokanovsky. This is a process of fictional human cloning that is a key aspect of the world envisioned in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The process is applied to fertilize human eggs in vitro, causing them to split into identical genetic copies of the original.
Group Activity- Groups were made up of about (2) two to (3) three people.
Each person was asked to share things about themselves and become more acquainted with each other. Coupled with getting to know each other, there were also certain interest shared such as Major, Interest in Science Fiction, experience with Science Fiction, (favorite text) and the purpose they think it serves.
Things associated with Science Fiction are: Movies such as – War Manga 4000.
- Dr. Belli clearly discussed and outlined what the course entails and what to expect moving forward. The syllabus for the course was also given out to the students and also posted online.
- Professor Belli also mentioned to the class about a school based website known as Open Lab. This websites enables students to access information pertaining to the course and how students can use this as a place to blog, write feed back of things discussed in class and also learn more about each other through our introductions posted on the website.
- The students were also encouraged to go to the open lab website and set up accounts and to also be aware that there is home work that posted there for the class.