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Journal Response #2 – Caves of Steel 2

Trying to understand this relationship between Elijah and Daneel is like to solve a rubrics cube; you seem to find a pattern and on the verge to solve it but that one piece at the end tricks you and you have to do the whole thing again. That’s how I see this relationship as Elijah early in the novel is introduced to Daneel because of an investigation that occurred in Space town. Elijah, who already has a hatred for robots, didn’t realized at first that he was a robot because he looked almost human-like. As we see Elijah get exposed to situations where robots are endangered the more he feels sympathy for them and try’s to learn more from Daneel. But, when they were in space town, Elijah came up with Daneel that killed Dr. Sarton. After trying to know him and understand the mind of a robot, Elijah takes a step back & targets his partner for the crime. Its a complicated relationship and I look forward to read more about it.

Journal Response #1 – Caves of Steel 1

In a few ways, the world according to Caves of Steel differ from the world we live in today. For instances, men go to work and are responsible for the money and women and their daughters stay home to cook and clean. Second, citizens are listed according to class and rank are not entitled to certain benefits that someone above them has until they meet that rank. Another is the Earth’s inability to cope with the overpopulation they have and finding a solution to lower that number or support the citizens living in it. Lastly, with I consider the biggest among the differences is how the “Earthman” treat robots/machines because they fear their place in life and work will be replaced by them one day. Oddly enough, the last point is exactly happening now but instead of just outright pushing them out of the workplace, we are being trained how to use and monitor these machines and it has allowed for us to live an easier, more productive life.

Class Notes – 5/8/14

La Jetee – 1962

still images — difficult to pay attention

images so beautiful — nice to have time to look at them

very good storytelling – close eyes, examine

even though it lacks current standards —
time/imagination — viewer tries to connect what the narrator is saying to the photos

photos made it more believable

storytelling — voice droned — detached voice

stillness, not happening in the moment

photogaphs crystalize one moment — capture, make static, doesn’t change
why do we take photographs — to remember, memory
film — 28 fps
one photo vs. ten seconds of film

narrator’s voice provides interstitial frames?

back to past, to the future

photography — has the potential to fix time

fixing time

human power to control time


Nalo Hopkinson, _Brown Girl in the Ring_

Future earth?
core of city –
abandoned city — resources that a city should have = gone

is this a future earth?

retro dystopian
almost an 80s vision of the future
Mad Max
Escape from New York
The Warriors

— how do these stories imagine the city? in ruins, disorder, chaos, violence, decay

low end of the city

tales of crime taking over the city

exaggerates worst parts of cities in the 70s, 80s

police state

dropping a breast-feeding mother into the middle of that — gender

mix of sci-fi genre elements + folktales + voodoo

language, race, culture, futurity

in what ways does sci fi tell stories about the present through the figure of the future?

race / culture doesn’t disappear in the future! isn’t a magical erasure of race/culture/tradition in the future as we see in so many standard sci-fi tales.

as a corrective the ways in which the future has traditionally been imagined

code-switching —

diaspora – spreading of a group of people

source of power in this novel — very different from traditional sci-fi

in traditional sci-fi
prizing of technology, mechanization, automation, rationality

vs. Brown Girl in the Ring
religious, witchcraft, demons, folktales, spirituality,


class and science fiction
caves of steel – spacers, human — limited room, etc., shorter lives — promotion, hierarchy — C7

detective — middle class, move through upper/lower echelons of society

why do we read/like sci-fi?

take one element of present — mess w/it, play w/it

let’s us go to different place, from comfortable place

shows incredible potential technology we haven’t invented yet, then shows you how it will kill you

sci-fi vs. science — makes scientific advances seem natural — more focused on what happens w/technology

we feel powerless and limited by bodily, technological, temporal aspects of our lives; sci-fi gives us fantasy of world where we have control over such things

— yet also disrupts those fantasies — not utopian


This paper will examine the ways that Dawn and Brown Girl In the Ring treat the theme of violence. I will argue that the violence in Dawn, though biological rather than physical, does greater damage to characters in the text than the violence we see in BGITR.

journal #5

Dawn  by Octavia E. Butler is a story about the Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust and a group of unconscious survivors have been taken by the alien that they are named  Oankalis to the mother ship and placed in “sleeping” pods for some 250 years. One of the humans, Lilith Iyapo, is awakened after 250 years and slowly trained by the Oankali not to be afraid of their horrifying to humans appearance. She comes to an uneasy truce and trust in the Oankali’s explanation of where she is and her role. In this story Lilith lyapo have been thought many obstacles, believing and trust.  How the story goes is very interesting to me that Humanity was saved from the war it waged on itself by an alien species. The alien thinks that letting humans alone is the same as allowing death. I think the theme love is all around not only exceeding in earth but in other planets/species.

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 # 5 & 6 & District 9 response.

District 9 Response

District 9 was a heartwarming movie, about a human sacrificing his own life to save a whole alien race. There are similarity related to caves of steel. The action of acceptance is showed quite clearly.  At the end of the novel in caves of steel, barely accepted Danieel as a friend. The action he provide was that he asked Danieel to stay and work with his son in the future. In district 9, the main character was a stubborn man who wanted to have his normal life back, being in the process of becoming an alien, he didn’t care about anything else. However, at the end he realized that the aliens have family too and would want to go back to their normal life and their home. He sacrificed his chance in changing back and remained an alien throughout the rest of his life.


Journal 6

“Your Earth is still your Earth, but between the efforts of your people to destroy it and ours to restore it, it has changed.”


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

“No. Only different.”


This part of the novel explains to Lilith that the world she will be living in will not be the same. I picked this quote because I feel that Lilith has to make a complicated decision; in fighting against the aliens or accepting their help. The world has changed because of destruction done by the humans, for them to start a new life there all on their own is very difficult. However, the people feel that the aliens are helping them for their own benefits. I believe this is a very tough choice for Lilith and her choice will change the path in the future.


Journal 5

Octavia Butler’s Dawn, is a very interesting novel about decision making. Lilith an earth woman was saved by the aliens along will many other humans. She was chosen to awaken first and lead her people to a new of earth. Her choice in accepting the aliens help was questionable however, she eventually believe in their kindness. Another choice she had to make was who will be her follower; to be awaken first. Throughout, the whole novel Lilith has to face obstacles in trusting, believing and forming the future path of earth. I am hoping to know the turn outs and the ending of this interesting novel soon.

Class Notes – May 1, 2014

District 9 – issues of race
— discrimination against race — dehumanization
Prawn as derogatory term
I27 forms – cf. I9 form — off-planet — immigrants
cf treatment of immigrants to US
aliens segregated into ghettos
unlawfully evicted from properties
cf. rights in America except if groups considered property (cf. slaves in 18th/19th c. US)
pamphlet – tents — Japanese internment camps – forced out of towns and cities — WWII/Pearl Harbor

parallel to Nazi regime – destructive propaganda, dehumanizing Jews – concentration camps – cf. aliens being shot at if doing antyh8ing wrong

start w/aliens as grotesque — find sympathy for them

hinted at other movies in sci-fi genre. These aliens not necessarily more advanced – helpless
beg of movie – inversion

how media affects our views of things

how do you symbolize filth? cockroaches — correlate w/Nazi, slavery in Am — characterize Jews as dirty

strip of identity by giving English name – Christopher Johnson

sexual connection – smears of Wikus having sex w/a prawn, seeming “tainted” – infected

black magic – Nigerian

cat food – crack cocaine.
hinting at drugs being pushed into black communities after black power 70s.
minds messed up b/c of cat food

the “Other” — or “othering”
liminal / liminality –

colonialization / colonization

prawns subjugated

mercenaries – cf. Iraq

paramilitary force

bureaucratic issues – sign paper.


eminent domain

human rights organization




compare wikus in district 9 w/Lilith in Dawn
reject that part of themselves
where do they start, where do they go – wikus trying to chop off arm

do these characters become more human through their transformations/melding w/other species?

How do each of the characters grow:
Wikus –

wikus – self-interest

humane – empathy, compassion
extrapolating from own species

District 9 – contamination
Dawn – transformation

Dawn – aliens are manipulative, controlling, invasive
District 9 – aliens are submissive, oppressed, victimized

but in each film, a human being becomes mixed with the aliens

District 9 – play of corporate power – D9 as critique of capitalism – cf. Occupy Wall Street, rhetoric around protestors, cleaning out square

style – documentary style, cinema verite
— amount of times Wikus says to shut off camera
— suggests that there will be a sanitized version of this film that will be shown to public

thick moments

dehumanization –
markings/tattoos – no clothes

Question at the end of the movie – what will Christopher Johnson do if he comes back?

Paper 2 due May 15

District 9

Watching the movie District 9 I noticed a few similarities to the novels we read in class. The first similarity I noticed was with Caves of Steel, both the novel and the movie had a place specifically for the humans and the Aliens. The two species barely had interaction because they had there own space.  In both Dawn and District 9 the only similarity I could think of was how the alien was the only individual that could freely travel from one place to other which in a sense shows similarity because the humans were free to invade the aliens space. To conclude the finally novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was similar because the bounty hunters were people that were paid to hunt and kill all the androids that were coming in just like District 9 where the humans were not only invading the aliens space but capturing them and using the as experimental tools for there research.

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.

Journal Response #7 – District 9

District 9 is a excellent movie and touches on some of the similar issue pertained in such novels as Dawn and Caves of Steel. One of the bigger issues is the fact they treat these aliens, know as prawns, as outsiders and consider them as inferior and unwelcomed on their planet, or more direct South Africa. You can see the consent hatred and segregation amongst the whites (living in luxury neighborhoods) and the blacks (living in poverty) of South Africa and how the blacks living among the prawns; just like the novel Caves of Steel where the humans had a dislike towards the spacers for coming to their city. Its a consent battle for control between the UMC and the blacks for “weapons” owed by the prawns with is where it draws similarities to Dawn where there is object one side wants to control or gain power over the other. The dynamic between Wikus and Christopher Johnson reminds me of the same partnership of Olivaw and Elijah of CoS and how they were able to understand each other as they story progress.