ENG 2420: Science Fiction

Professor Belli — Spring 2017 — City Tech

ENG 2420: Science Fiction

Class notes


Small summary of chapter 24 & 25:
The characters are attacked and results in Jill death and Lauren getting hurt.
During the last chapter the people argue on either staying or leaving in the burn down place that use to be the doctors sisters land and end it up staying and trying to start over.

These are some of the quotes that classmate shared that stood out to them:

“ other people got the idea and began sharing what they could spare” Pg. 283
“But it’s not a god. It’s not a person or an intelligence… I don’t anide Pg. 217
“The universe is god’s self portrait” Pg 315
“Then we buried our dead and we planted oak trees afterward, we sat together and talked and ate a meal and decided to call this place acorn” Pg 328
“There is end to what a living world demand of you” Pg 137
“So we become the crew of modern Underground Railroad” Pg 292
“But… him those other they… who feels” Pg 302

Hw: see first episode of Westworld due 5/9 at 5pm
(Still work in progress sorry for the delay)

Class Discussion: Contemporary Connections to ‘1984’

2017 has been “doubleplusgood” for sales of George Orwell’s “1984.”
“George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Hits Bestseller List Again”

Sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four have been soaring recently. Why is there so much interest in this dystopian novel, published almost 70 years ago? What is its relevance now, to our lives in 2017? Why/how does this speak to the conditions that we find ourselves in, today?

We’ll use this space to discuss contemporary connections to Nineteen Eighty-Four. This is your opportunity to be creative, to be critical, and to put our own lives (and world) in dialogue with the ideas of the novel. Drop comments about connections you make, and provide links to sources that we can check out to learn more (e.g., news stories, images, movies, advertisement, songs, etc.).

Class Discussion: ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’

We’re using this space here to continue our discussion of the novel.

For Class Discussion #5, make one initial comment on Part One, chapters VI-VII / Part Two, chapters I-II (pp. 65-129) by W 3/22  + two additional comments by F 3/24.

For Class Discussion #6, make one initial comment on Part Three (pp. 231-308) / Appendix: The Principles of Newspeak (pp. 309-323) by W 3/29  + two additional comments by F 3/31.

Class Discussion: There will come soft Rains

From the poem to the film I felt that they we shedding a new beginning in different aspects. I feel that time was key in each domain. In the reading it was starting an new day, nothing really special about the date.  With the poem I felt it was breaking a new season after the war that happened in the cold harsh winters. With the film it started a new year. But I found it weird that all of them didn’t share the same dates. It would’ve been better that the film and the reading were to start a new season due to the poem, because of the era it was written in.

Class Discussion: There Will Come Soft Rains

Since we have a snow day tomorrow (Tu 3/14), when we were going to continue our discussion of “There Will Come Soft Rains,” we will use this Class Discussion here to wrap up our conversation about the story. Feel free to post questions, analysis, additional thoughts here, especially related to the group discussion questions we worked on in our last class.

Class Discussion: Brave New World

*We’ll continue to use this space to discuss the novel. You should make one initial comment on chapters 10-18 by W 3/1  + two additional comments by F 3/3.

We’re extending our discussion of Brave New World to the OpenLab, to dig even deeper into the text.

Initial comments are due by W 2/22, and then a minimum of two additional comments by F 2/24. A friendly reminder that, in addition to posting your own comment(s), you are responsible for checking back in and reading through the whole discussion, prior to each class. This “discussion” is part of the required reading for the course.

Feel free to pick up on something we discussed in class, bring in aspects of the text we didn’t get to, raise questions, offer excerpts/analysis, provide connections to our contemporary world (references & links to other texts articles, songs, videos, etc. would be great, but remember to keep your discussion grounded in the novel), raise–& take a shot at answering!–big existential questions raised by the text (e.g., can happiness be “real” if it is manufacturing chemically?), or anything else relevant. The goal is conversation that will lead to continued close reading/understanding of the text

Metropolis Class Discusion

So this was … interesting. The Metropolis, to my understanding, was one of the earliest science fiction movies to be made. I understand … most of the movie and found it a bit hard to follow but I think I understand the main ideas.

The movie opens with a scene depicting workers heading down an elevator to what I assume is to go work. At 3 minutes and 18 seconds the scene depicts what the worker’s shift change looks like. Everyone has their head hanging and looking downward, regardless of whether they are entering or leaving. They are all lined up in a tight lineup and are all taking measured steps so that none step out of line. Then the movie moves from these workers going underground to show scenes of what look like a well made and beautiful environment as opposed to the dark underground only a few scenes ago. The movie then shows us its protagonist, a man by the name of Fredner the son of Joh Fredersen. First appearing at 6 minutes and 7 seconds he has lived a life of luxury, attending stadium sport events and being entertained by young women. This all changes when he sees the world below for the first time. At  12 minutes and 4 seconds he sees workers at a machine that over heats.  The movie portrays this event a bit differently. The workers are caught in smoke and a great staircase appears. The workers are then being pushed up these stairs where some sort of faced idol starts eating the workers. What then follows is the workers killed in the explosion being carried off and replaced at a very alarming rate. I’m assuming this is how Fredner sees the expulsion and how these workers are being treated. This makes Fredner uneasy and goes to speak to his father Joh Fredersen. His father didn’t respond how he was expecting to. After getting into an argument with his father, Fredner decides to trade places with one of the workers for a time in an attempt to, what I’m assuming, better understand the trials and struggles of the working class. Although he may just be an immature boy who thought he can alleviate the burden of a single worker, but I can’t say that confidently.

The middle of the movie lost me quite a bit, but I think that a woman named Maria, or not Maria that was one thing that confused me, incites a riot by the workers and that goes well. And by that I mean the riot goes well, not the effects of the riot. its hard to say when this riot began, as it was being planned and then later this Maria person finally made the workers take action. What I can give a time for is 1 hour 32 minutes and 42 seconds where Maria literally flips the switch which causes a great machine to fail, or overheat, or something along those lines. The following scenes are of the workers celebrating this momentous occasion followed by the city’s inner workings malfunctioning.

I point these out as they’re scenes that portray human emotion and the story’s machine, system or society in conflict. Fredner feels what his father has done to this great city is unfair and cruel and makes moves to understand the workers and by the end of the movie attempt to mediate between the workers and the people of the upper world. All throughout the movie were scenes of the workers unhappy and frustrated about their position, if not that then dead due to workplace accidents. Such a society like the city Metropolis, I actually don’t know the name of the city but I’m taking an educated guess, crushes the individuality and human aspects of a person to the point where everyone is wearing a uniform and takes steps that travel the same distance as the people around him. This movie shows us that such a system is against what makes us humans and that such a system will end violently.

Class Discussion

I feel like the way most of the people completely rely on the Machine to survive symbolizes how we can become if we get too engrossed into technology. I think that if people go too deep, they won’t be able to come back out. There are minor cases of that happening already if you think about it. Shut-ins that stay in their house all day, do nothing productive, and stay on the computer or playing games.

Snow day! (City Tech Closed Tomorrow, Th 2/9: No Class)

Hi everyone:

As you may have heard by now, City Tech is closed tomorrow due to the coming snow storm, so we won’t be having class.

We’ll continue to use our Class Discussion on “The Machine Stops” as a way to work through the short story, focusing on the elements of fiction, especially conflicts & themes (especially in relation to the questions in the Science Fiction Framework) and analysis of quotes (with citations!). A friendly reminder that initial comments are due by tonight (thank you to those of you who have already gotten the ball rolling!), and then at least two additional comments are due by Friday. We’ll continue the discussion throughout the weekend though, so we’ll have covered a lot of ground before next week.

As for going forward, we’ll discuss “The Machine Stops” (and Voyage dans la Lune) in class when we next meet on Tuesday (2/14), and watch/discuss Metropolis for next Thursday (2/16)–with Reading Response #2 due W 2/15–instead of Tuesday as planned. I’ll adjust the schedule accordingly and provide an update later this weekend, with revised due dates for blogs & texts.

Most importantly, stay safe during the storm & enjoy the snow day 🙂

Professor Belli

Discussion about “The Machine Stops”

This science fiction story takes place in a area or the machine and even though there is a society they are actually isolated because of the technology. The people are not on Earth and it is known to just be a lifeless planet that is only comprised of dirt or mud. The story revolves around two characters which are a mother and son by the same as Vashti and Kuno. The people in the story are very dependent on the machine and they worship it even though it was humans that created it. I think that one of the main themes of the story could be that one should not be dependent too much on technology but rather on themselves more.