Presentation on theme: "Science Fiction - as a genre. Purpose of science fiction? “Science fiction allows us to understand and experience our past, present, and future in terms."— Presentation transcript:
Science Fiction - as a genre
Purpose of science fiction? “Science fiction allows us to understand and experience our past, present, and future in terms of an imagined future.” Kathryn Cramer, The Ascent of Wonder (1994)
Many Definitions The “What If” genre Speculative fiction – stories / philosophical & literary Futuristic Impact of Technology and Science
Sci Fi - Fantasy Relationship with the principles of science. Grounded in a scientific basis. No scientific background. Magical and mythical / supernatural creatures exist. May actually happen – is possible Can never happen – no grounding in reality
Themes Futuristic Settings Outer Space Alien Life-forms Discovery of new technologies Discovery of new Science impacting our life – the human element Time-Travel
Themes Hard Science, New Wave, Ecology, Messianic/Religious, Dystopia/Utopia, Apocalypse, Alternate and Parallel Worlds, Time Travel, Time Warp, Lost Worlds, Immortality, Psionic Powers, Space Opera, Galactic Empires, Militaristic, Space Travel, Alien Beings, Computers, Automation, Cyberpunk, Robots, Androids, Cyborgs, Social Criticism, The Superhuman, Women in Science Fiction, Love and Sex, Detectives in Science Fiction, and Science Fantasy.
A few terms Psionics – using the mind to induce paranormal phenomena; telepathy, telekinetics (used in Role-playing games) Cyberpunk – postmodern, combining information-technology and cybernetics with collapse & disruption of society Android – robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human (Data from Star Trek) Cyborg – a being with both biological and artificial (electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts (Terminator)
Robocop, 1987 (Cyborg) OC3BWE OC3BWE
Literary History Utopia 1516 Gulliver’s Travels 1726 Niels Klim 1741 Frankenstein 1818 Erewhon 1872 Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne
20 th Century Pulp Magazines Isaac Asimov (Robot Series) Hollywood and Science Fiction movies in the 30s Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5) Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) More negative towards technology More focused on consequences
20th Century – the Stars! 1980s: Star Wars IV, 1977, The-Phantom-Menace/11746/ /Star-Wars-Episode- I%3A-The-Phantom-Menace/videos The-Phantom-Menace/11746/ /Star-Wars-Episode- I%3A-The-Phantom-Menace/videos Star Trek, original-series-the-lights-of- zetar/cb448b7a18c4dede73a0cb448b7a18c4dede73a ?q=star+trek&FORM=VIRE5 original-series-the-lights-of- zetar/cb448b7a18c4dede73a0cb448b7a18c4dede73a ?q=star+trek&FORM=VIRE5 Isaac Asimov – Robot Series Arthur C. Clarke (2001, A Space Odyssey) Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles) Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land)
Today Difficult reputation Regarded as pulp Community of dedicated fans Conventions, internet, fan groups Cults (Douglas Adams A Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) Literature?
Samuel Butler, Erewhon, 1872
Samuel Butler Philosopher, satirist, novelist, artist Critic of established religious, social, and scientific ideas Shrewsbury, Cambridge Sheep herder in New Zealand Explorer Waged war against the suppression of original thoughts and the hypocrisies of conventions Attempted tor efute Darwin’s theory the existence of the divine in nature
Mr Heatherley's Holiday:an Incident in Studio Life 1874, Tate Gallery
Questions - Erewhon Relate the story of Erewhon to science fiction as a genre. Describe the population of Erewhon. Discuss their attitude to illness and crime; explain what you think is the satire intended. Discuss the description of death and statues; what is the author’s purpose? Is Erewhon a utopia or dystopia? Explain.