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Science Fiction

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Deona Spencer

on 18 December 2013

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Transcript of Science Fiction

Science Fiction Genre Defined

Science fiction is a genre (type) of fiction in which the stories often tell about science and technology of the future. It is important to note that science fiction has a relationship with the principles of science—these stories involve partially true-partially fictitious laws or theories of science. It should not be completely unbelievable or the genre is fantasy.

Science fiction is a good guess about possible future events, based on sufficient knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a detailed understanding of the nature and importance of science.

The first true science fiction novel was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
She used a scientific rationale to persuade the reader that her story took place in the realm of the possible.

Science Fiction
by Dr. Deona Dragon Spencer
It is a common science fiction rule that authors should not contradict known scientific fact (e.g., humans flying on their own without the use of devices), but may do what they wish with commonly-accepted scientific theory (e.g., humans flying to distant planets in a space shuttle)

In the early 1800s, At Eton College Shelley had become interested in Luigi Galvani's experiments with electric shocks to make dead frogs' muscles twitch. It is possible that his teacher, James Lind, had demonstrated the technique to Shelley.

Jules Verne
Verne's adventure stories, especially A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869) mixed daring romantic adventure with technology that was either up to the minute or logically looking at trends of the future.

The European brand of science fiction proper began later in the 19th century with Jules Verne and the science-oriented novels of social criticism of H. G. Wells.

H. G. Wells
Wells's stories, on the other hand, use science fiction devices to teach us about how we can destroy society. In The Time Machine (1895), for example, the technical details of the machine are glossed over quickly so that the Time Traveler can tell a story that shows Wells’s disapproval of the English social ladder.

Modern Science Fiction Literature
Kurt Vonnegut
He is known as an American author who wrote pessimistic and satirical novels. Kurt Vonnegut's best known work is Slaughterhouse-Five. He used fantasy and science fiction to examine the horrors and absurdities of 20th century civilization. He was very concerned about the effects of technology on humanity.

Ray Bradbury
Bradbury's reputation as a leading science fiction writer was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950. The book describes man's attempt to colonize Mars, the effects of colonization on the Martians, and the colonists' reaction to a massive nuclear war on Earth.  As much a work of social criticism as of science fiction, The Martian Chronicles reflects America's anxieties in the early 1950's: the threat of nuclear war, the longing for a simpler life, reactions against racism and censorship, and the fear of foreign political powers.

Themes 1

Space travel to and from other planets
(ie: Star Wars, Star Trek)
Time travel to the past and future
(ie: Back to the Future)
Psychological/biological changes to man brought about by scientific changes
(ie: The Incredible Hulk)

Themes 2

Science applied to human relations for constructive or destructive purposes
(ie: Weird Science)
Battle with alien life forms
(ie: Signs)
Alternate Universe
(ie: Star Wars)
Plot Conventions of Science Fiction
The Last Man/Woman on Earth
The Robot
The First Landing Story
Time Travel
The Alternate World
The Lost Civilization
The Colonization of a New Planet
The End of the World
The Computer

So, Dr. Spencer, why do you think it's so important for us to study the science fiction genre?
Dystopian Society
First, you need a definition of "utopia" -A community or a society that possesses highly desirable or perfect qualities
*No horrible deaths
*No worries
*No pain
*No thieves or murders
*No need for violence
***Everyone is happy ... or are they??? Well, if it's a dystopian society, there are those who don't feel so happy with the life they're living, so it's not perfect, right?
And then ...
A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia
*Community/society seems to possess highly desirable or perfect qualities.
*Elements may vary from environmental to political and social issues
*Stories to raise the awareness of real-world issues
*Usually are a utopian society with one fatal flaw
*Society dreams of improvement but it's overshadowed by fears
*People are alienated and individualism is restricted by government
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