February 2nd Notes

TLDR at the bottom.

Science Fiction as a Genre

Science Fiction is a mass of questions that plague the minds of authors and theorists.  Many see these as possibilities for the future of mankind. There are many aspects to the concept of where our technology will take us in our near future and perhaps our distant future. But Science Fiction is more than attempts to predict the future. There are many other forms that Science Fiction take. Sub-genres take a different approach in that they form a more unique and interesting setting. Steampunk, cyberpunk, apocalyptic, time travel, alternate universe are some of the sub-genres that Science Fiction may be categorized as. These represent what a world similar but different from our own would look like. The topics that span the genre are  space travel, alternate universe, cyborg, time travel, doppelganger, trans-humanism, post-scarcity, mutation, nano-technology and aliens.

Utopia and Dystopia

Utopia and Dystopia are the ultimate goals and horrors of fiction. A Utopia is a perfect society where there is no conflict or hardship. A Dystopia is an oppressive society that oppresses and confines all its people. The term Utopia was first coined by Thomas Moore in his book 1516. Utopia is made from the greek words Eu-Ou-Topos meaning “no place” and Dystopia is made from a Dys-Topos meaning “bad place”. It should also be mentioned that simply because a Utopian vision seeks to make a perfect world, this does not mean that this is a world aimed to be perfect for everyone.


Progress is a term used to represent the way forward. It is commonly used to describe how technology advances a civilization. One of the finer examples of progress was the american goal to unite or own the entirety of the new world. Advanced agriculture and engineering made its way across the Americas as progress developed even further.

tldr (To Long, Didn’t Read)

  • Science fiction is predicting the future or possible futures
  • There are “what if” questions about possible alternate realities or futures
  • Utopia is a perfect civilization that has no flaws
  • Dystopia is an oppressive place
  • Progress is what technology does to advance civilization

One thought on “February 2nd Notes

  1. Thanks Ryan for being the first brave soul to post notes! A friendly reminder that Class Notes should be posted no later than the night of class, and also should include important announcements/reminders/HW and also other relevant details from our class lecture/discussion (e.g., definitions we cover, key points, texts we covered–such as the video on the Science Fiction as genre, The Science Fiction Framework, the image ‘American Progress,’ “Voyage dans La Lune”).

    I like how you summarized some of the key points in paragraphs, but I wonder if it might be easier going forward to present them in bullet points (or something else easily digestible)? Also, you want to make sure to not “interpret” the discussion (e.g., we definitely discussed that dystopias reference a “bad place” and have a lot of negative aspects, but not that “an oppressive society that oppresses and confines all its people” … in fact, some dystopias allow freedom to some of the people in the society, which is interesting).

    If you want to edit/revise these notes from Th 2/2, feel free to go in and edit/update the post. Otherwise, just good things to keep in mind for you (and everyone else in class, who will be taking notes soon!) going forward 🙂

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