Category Archives: Reading Journal

Reading Journal #5

Dawn was my favorite book of the semester. I liked the concept of aliens holding humans captive in complete control of there lives. Even the suspended animation idea i thought was interesting. The story didn’t start as slow as the other books we’ve read and the plot picked up fast. After reading Dawn i wanted to read the rest of the trilogy.

Reading Journal #7

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.

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.

Journal # 7

It’s funny how fast the “hunter” can become the “hunted”.  In the film, District 9, the main character of Winkus is a prime example of this type of character transformation.  The film starts out as Winkus receives a new job promotion.  Winkus now appears to be the man in charge.   As Winkus and his team storm District 9, looking for aliens; his character is depicted as overly enthusiastic, senseless, and above all a firm hated for the alien creatures.  The alien creatures are stuck on Earth and are living in their own filth.  In this story, the aliens are depicted as poor, pathetic creatures that are stuck in a bad situation that they can’t change.  The first half of the film is very important because it sets the tone of power “surrounding” Winkus.  This is before Winkus knows the true motives of his government and what they are really doing to the Prawns.  The second half of the film inverses the first half as the table has now turned for Winkus in the light of the revelation of his new hand.  He has now become the “hunted”.  People treat him much differently now.  He is no longer the man in charge.  Winkus is a castaway and is on the run.  To everyone chasing Winkus, he is the ultimate weapon.  With his newfound abilities, he is a man that has the ability to control the alien weaponry; a man that the government hopes to control.  The government uses and most of all abuses Winkus to the point where they don’t even look at him as human anymore.  Even Winkus’ father-in-law, someone who is close to, turns his back on him and allows the scientists to experiment on Winkus against his will. 

Journal 7

Response : If Christopher Johnson returns, he will return with all his prawn beings and take over the earth. The prawns enslave humans and require them to make cat food or die. Christopher Johnson reunites with Wikus only to remember that Wikus knocked him out, concluding with his decision to make Wikus’s wife and the rest of his family as  prawns. Wikus agrees because there’s nothing else left of his human civilization. Wikus becomes more like prawns mentally and realizes that the human race deserves to be enslaved for all the wrong they have committed. My whole passage reminded me of a quote from Dawn that destroying what’s left of the human civilization wouldn’t make it better but different and different is what humanity needed to live prosperous without any evil need for power and this human/pawn civilization lived forever. Pawns turned humans into pawns when ever they felt they were worthy enough.

Dawn Quote of Jdahya and Lilith in chapter 5, Part 1 Womb.

“And you think destroying what was left of our cultures will make us better?”

“No. Only different.”

Journal 1-6

Journal 1.

It’s interesting how R.Sammy is just a Robert who doesn’t know what to do unless it’s told so. Also there’s a superior race call the “The Spacers”.

Journal 2.

We learn that the detective partners up with R.Daneel who is a Robot that looks like a human. So much that the detective couldn’t tell he’s an android.

Journal 3.

We learn that “The Spacers” are fragile creatures and that our germs can harm the Spacers. Also we learn that the commissioner is the one committed the crime R.Daneel and the detective had to solve, because of this they are now good friends.

Journal 4.

In this novel, the author takes imagination of machines design to an almost unreal outlook. When Rick basically tricks Racheal to come over, and she in turn brought over some very expensive whiskey, obviously to try and deter Rick from killing the remaining androids. They even had sex and when Racheal learned that Rick is still going to kill the remaining androids she kill his goat in retaliation.

Journal 5.

In the novel Dawn by Octavia Butler, when I first started reading the novel it seems to me that the aliens live for a very long time, I also learn us humans practically destroy planet earth, and we now live in an alien spaceship.

Journal 6.

As I continue to read the novel I notice that Lilith, has now accepted her faith and feels like she’s a prisoner of the aliens. Lilith also learn that she has to change her DNA to be able to access different parts of the ship.

District 9 Journal

District 9, is a film about aliens that has been reshaped into a scenario in which aliens are sheltered and a burden through the publics eye. The aliens are powerless, different and resemble cockroaches from a human perspective. People automatically reject the aliens out of fear. The government of course tries to make a profit, by taking the alien technology without the public knowing to produce more advance technology for warfare but fails in the attempt the alien technology is biologically engineered to work for only aliens. Society is completely bias towards the aliens because of how they look and where they live. A poor district that is very dangerous. There’s much symbolism in the film from racism, torture, religion, animal cruelty, totalitarianism, slavery, media saturation, warfare, realization that there’s just rights for humans and everything else have no rights because of our social dominance in this world. In the end of the film the main character sacrifices his needs for the better good of maybe saving a species. He puts his needs on hold for the better good. A film that puts into perspective how bad humans can be and the importance of self awareness, of how many things could be adverted if we just choose to inform ourselves.

District 9 Movie Response

The Movie District 9 had a few similarities with some of the books we read in class. One of the similarities it had to Caves of Steel was the fact that the aliens from the movie had their own place to stay, the same with the spacers. Humans and the aliens from the movie didn’t get along well with one another the same as how they didn’t get along with the spacers in the book. It took one man named Wikus van de Merwe when he was becoming an alien due to exposure to an alien substance to understand the way humans were treating the aliens and actually grew to accept them and let them live their lives in peace. Elijah from Caves of Steel also grew to accept spacers when he was partnered up with Olivaw and grew to understand Olivaw better. The movie can also be compared with the book Dawn. In the book, the only way to travel to different rooms is if you were an Oankali. In the movie: District 9, the only way to use an alien weapon was if you too were an alien. Lilith from Dawn and Wikus from District 9 were turning into one of the creatures slowly, and they were able to use anything the aliens had with ease. In some ways the movie also had some similarities to the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep as well. In the book, the bounty hunters were getting rid of the androids that were coming in from another planet. In the movie, there were soldiers who wanted to eradicate the aliens. Lastly, there was one character by the name of Rick Deckard from the book who started to grow to accept androids.

Journal Entry 7

An awkward event

A truly awkward event in to novel Dawn was when Jdahya performed the Onokali mating ritual on both Lilith and Joseph for the first time.

It was Joseph’s second time of ever seeing the alien creature. Jdahya presented itself to Joseph so he could get use to Jdahya’s grotesque appearance.  At this point Jdahya’s goal was to get Joseph to trust it enough to change and improve his body chemistry. In order to do so, Jdahya had to drug him which made him semi-unconscious.

During Joseph’s semi-unconscious state, for some odd reason Jdahya thought it was okay to perform the trio mating ritual with Lilith and Joseph without Joseph’s consent.   Lilith was okay with it since she had already performed this alone with Jdahya, but imagine the awkwardness Joseph must of felt when Jdahya’s sexual organs penetrated his skin.  First of all this mating ritual involves 3 sexes instead of the usual human 2.  Second, the emotional feelings Joseph was receiving were unnatural to humans. Third, this is Joseph’s second time of ever seeing the alien. He doesn’t even know Jdahya well enough to even consider this ritual as a possibility.  In a way it seemed almost as it were rape from my perspective.