Switching to Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson changed the subject of aliens vs. humans, and moved us into a Caribbean culture setting in Metropolitan Toronto after an economic collapse. Riots made the city fall into poverty, and violence. Gangs now control the streets and there is no place safe anymore. Black magic and feminism are two main themes in this story, where Ti-Jeanne is a black girl who controlled her own fate. I really enjoyed reading this story for a change in sci-fi, because comparing them to the other stories I’ve read so far, this one is the farthest from sci-fi, as technology or machine wise, and close to fantasy. This story has some very interesting twists, such as discovering that Rudy Sheldon (the leader if the gangs and the criminal mastermind) is actually Gros-Jeanne ex-husband, and that Tony (Ti-Jeanne’s baby father and lover) is a member of this gang. A beautiful story that captured me, and made me want to search for more of Nalo Hopkinson’s novels to read and enjoy. One thing that I noticed in the book, is that this book was shortlisted for Philip K. Dick (writer of Do androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) award.
Author Archives: Mohamad
Reading Journal #6 (District 9)
Watching a sci-fi movie such as District 9, will definitely feed the need of viewers to see and aliens vs. humans conflict. But in this movies’ case, it’s was different. Instead of the classic aliens domination and power over human’s weakness and fear of the unknown, we witnessed an era where humans dominate aliens who accidently crashed on earth! And we also see how humans were treating those aliens the way humans actually treated aliens (people from outside a certain country). Aliens were treated like foreigners, look like cockroaches, and eat cat food. That is not the way we used to see these – powerful and technologically advanced – creatures. This was a little strange yet exciting approach to a sci-fi movie, and I really want to see more of these movies but in a different way.
Reading Journal #5
Octavia Butler’s Dawn is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read so far. The story was very original (at least to me), it presents a girl named Lilith, who was chosen by a dominating alien race (the Oankali), in order to create a new breed which will save both species (humans and aliens). A passage interested me while I was reading, when Octavia wrote, “She spent hours vainly trying to solve the problem of how she might destroy them. This was one of the activities that helped keep her relatively sane. Another was trying to reach the ceiling”. In this passage, Octavia showed, in a hidden way, the nature of human being, which is refusing capture and being free. Plus she showed how strong human brain could resist torture and prison, and through the power of will, humans survived and remain concentrated on their goal. After all, it’s all about the brain in sci-fi movies or books, where the writer or director will try to play with readers brain, and lead them into the worlds they create.
Reading Journal #4
“Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick contains a lot of twists. It is one of the most interesting sci-fi stories I’ve ever read. I loved the intersection of another story (John Isidore’s), which is parallel to the main story (Dick’s), and how they relate at the end. Two stories have different paths, emotions and meanings, but they reunite to fit the missing puzzle pieces. We see how John and Dick are two different persons. The first has mental problems because of the nuclear explosion, and eager to have any relationship even with an android, as long as there is somebody who cares about him. The second is a bounty hunter who has house problems, because his wife believes in Mercerism, and needs the Penfield mood organ to fix her depressed and sad mood. And we see how both are attached to something that is not real, which is androids, (John attached to Pris, and Dick attached to his android sheep). This poses another theme in the book, which is intelligence vs. “chickenhead”, where it shows how both lives are, and how an intelligent person reacts in comparison to a “chickenhead”. It is a twist I love to see in movies, and for the first time I read it in a book which was unpredictable and fun.
Reading Journal #3
One of the main themes than I noticed while reading “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick is empathy. Dealing with his job as bounty hunter, Dick had to have no empathy towards androids, especially the nexus-06. But throughout the story, we realize that Dick started to feel the empathy towards androids (humans and animal form), and that’s when he saw his fellow bounty hunter Phil killing an android with no mercy. So this twist of Dick’s emotions or feelings towards androids was impressive, especially that he was so eager to kill them in order to make money to buy an expensive animal. Not to forget that at the end, dick had an electrical toad, and was taking care of it as if it was real.
Journal 1 & 2
In the first 100 pages of “Caves of Steel”, I realized how rich it was with themes that actually made me want to read it till the end. One of the most important things I read was when R. Daneel was explaining to Baley his actions after the incident at the shoe store, when Daneel said, ”… My briefing on human characteristics here among the people of Earth includes the information that, unlike the men of the Outer Worlds, they are trained from birth to accept authority. Apparently this is a result of your way of living.” (38). This passage shows exactly the human way of life throughout the history. It reflects how a force called the law, which people are scared of, rules the world. That’s why they follow and respect it. If anybody breaks the law, they get punished. So the author wanted to show the reader how the colonized people were ruled and that it wouldn’t happen in any other way.
In the other half, another passage caught my attention is when Dr. Fastolfe was talking to Baley about him carrying a disease from the City, and that the spacers have no antibodies against any of the germs. He said, “Earth is riddled with diseases to which we have no defense, no natural defense” (118). The author here wanted to show why the spacers are afraid of the humans, and why every human entering has to be cleaned and checked for germs and diseases. This incident reminds me of the Ellis Island incident that happened years ago here in the United States. This island was the base of the first federal immigration station. Immigrants used to be taken to this island and checked for any disease that could be fatal, before entering the states.