LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HOMESTUCK
I wish I had introduced this earlier so I could get your ongoing reaction to progressing through this story, because not only is it very, very long, but is still in progress. Regardless, it’s something I’ve been interested in sharing. Usually when discussing entertainment that’s current with your students, like an ongoing TV show, or a book/movie/game “you gotta read/watch/play” that’s relevant...
Concept of the Week: SF and You, Part II
After this class, I think a little bit differently when I think of sci-fi. The nerdy stuff that excited me, video games, movies, and the like, still come to mind, as well as those influential novels and stories from the 20th century, the pulp comics, the cyberpunk movement of the 80’s and 90’s, etc. However, my perception of what constitutes sci-fi have changed to include stories that are less...
Concept of the Week: Setting
Setting is one of the biggest factors that makes Vaster Than Empires, and More Slow work. Perhaps the most important aspect of the setting in this story is the social environment. Le Guin’s purpose was very clear in putting a motley crew of misfits alone with each other on a space ship travelling to a distant planet, settings both far removed from any trace of human civilization. This was in...
Concept of the Week: Nature/Environment
In the advertisements you posted on Blackboard as examples to use, I noticed they all seemed to be trying to appeal to and using (rather blatantly) imagery meant to invoke associations with those highly ambiguous terms of nature and environment. From that I gathered that for this blog I ought to find an advertisement or piece of media of my own, and critically break down the true purpose of its...
Concept of the Week: Marx
We have a fairly basic but clear connection to Marxism in the characters of the short (emphasis on ‘short’) story The Nine Billion Names of God. One of the aspects of the story Marxism best explains is the unhappiness of the two men we could construe to be our main characters, George and Chuck, the engineers assigned for three months to work with an obscure Buddhist monastery in the Tibetan...
Concept of the Week: The Novum
The novum is distinguished from elements of other fiction genres for having a scientific explanation as to why it exists, or at least having a basis in science. For example, it provides the backdrop for which we can believably become invested in the dilemmas faced by the characters of some of our “future” stories like The Second Variety, Burning Chrome, and Nekropolis, or “otherworldly” stories...
Concept of the Week: Close-Focus Reading
I’ll be doing close-focus reading in The Persistence of Vision, of the fourth paragraph that begins at about the middle of page 807 and the two short paragraphs after it. Our unnamed protagonist has an inner monologue and starts remembering the help he got from Pink upon arriving in Keller. He feels gratitude and attachment to her for teaching him handtalk and expecting little from him in...
Concept of the Week: Reader Response
We never got around to talking about Nekropolis in class, as if we had just skipped over it. I decided for the sake of not leaving out anything on the syllabus I would give it a read and use my response for the concept of the week. After only a few pages, I am somewhat taken aback by the unusual words and names the characters call each other by. Looking at the editor’s...
Concept of the Week: Gender
“I like to think of myself as a human being.” This is a quote by Bruce Lee, when asked on whether he considered himself Chinese or American. In terms of race, Bruce considers whether he is one or the other irrelevant. Ought we to answer in the same way if asked whether we are man or woman? Perhaps if we did, there would be no need for words like misogyny or feminism, and “The Other” mentioned...
Blog Prompt: Reflection
The literary technique I learned so far I found valuable was the contrast between plot and conflict. As we’ve made clear conflict is the blocked desires of a character – when we normally think of conflict we like to think of a dispute between two different parties, but it can easily be the self (and no one else!) that creates conflict. More importantly, it is conflict that creates instability in...
arpearson asked: AEL, good work w/ the theme post and the way in which robots are the new "evolution" of humans. Interestingly, Darwin never said "survival of the fittest," which was a term favored by scientific racism to promote why blacks should remain slaves. Darwin said the much-less pithy "the tendency of organisms with beneficial random mutations to survive to reproductive...
More of those animations from EarthBound, for... →
Seems pretty SciFi-ish to me.
Concept of the Week: Theme
One of the themes implicit in Philip K. Dick’s The Second Variety is the end of humanity on the evolutionary line, not unlike the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. But in this case, the aforementioned space rock is instead nuclear weapons and the species that survived and evolved are robots – both the designs of humans, and built for war. While it not so implicit that the robots pitted...
Concept of the Week: Conflict
Elena from The Algorithms for Love by Ken Liu is, in my opinion, the best character we’ve read about so far. Within a story that takes ten to fifteen minutes to read we are told of a deep and multi-layered inner conflict in her worthy of a novella. One of her primary conflicts could fit the very definition of “desire blocked” as we call it in class, and in the text it goes like this: “I wanted...
animatedscreenshots: EarthBound EarthBound, a game I mentioned earlier, brought to you through the wonders of Tumblr. I never actually beat it.
Concept of the Week: SF and You
#1 In our first discussion last week my definitions of science fiction got grilled a little bit - or perhaps more refined. It was probably good that the first example we looked at in our “Sci Fi or Not?” debate was the original trilogy of Star Wars movies, which was my favorite movie series as a youngster. Seems like a classic example of science fiction, right? It has space battles, robots,...